Calling a pastor is an in-depth, spirit-led process. With the congregation's input, the Transition Team produced a comprehensive report on the congregation's vision for St. Luke's future -- much like a strategic plan. This report was the framework which the Senior Pastor Call Committee used for creating the "ministry site profile" (MSP). An MSP is the information pastors review to evaluate a potential church. This process is based on the experience and wisdom of other congregations along with guidance from the ELCA South-Central Synod of Wisconsin.
We would like to share the work we have been doing since our last update in early March. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, we were able to meet with 2 candidates in person. We had additional in-person interviews which were postponed. During this shelter in place time, we have successfully conducted 2 second-round Zoom interviews. We spent 3 hours or so speaking with these candidates. In addition to extended virtual interviews, we have checked their references and have listened to their sermons. We are very excited about several candidates but do not feel we can move forward until we have met each candidate face to face. We carefully considered whether we should try to proceed with virtual meetings but unanimously decided such an important decision cannot be discerned virtually. Fortunately, for St. Luke’s, our candidates agree with our decision and are willing to wait to make any decision until we can meet in person. They also believe a decision of this magnitude cannot be made using only virtual meetings. At this point, we have 3 exciting candidates who are waiting for travel restrictions to lift so we can move forward. After we have the opportunity to meet with them, we will discern one candidate to proceed forward with the Call process. This entails having our top candidate meet with select staff and Council members. Soon thereafter we will work with the Council, make a call and schedule a meet and greet with the entire congregation so they can also meet the candidate. Finally, we will schedule a congregational vote on our final candidate for St. Luke’s next Senior Pastor.
Thank you for your prayers and continued patience during these unprecedented times as we continue to follow God’s path for us. Our prayer for all of us is,
"May the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
- Romans 15:13
The Call Process Update
We all feel it. This transition process seems to be taking much longer than expected. It’s had a lot of twists and turns and bumps. It’s a typical windy, twisty path of faith which, as Christians, we should know to expect.
In 2019, the Senior Pastor Call Committee interviewed numerous candidates (see more detail in the Senior Pastor Call Committee Annual Report) and it was clear none of the candidates were the person God is calling to St. Luke’s. In January of 2020, another group of candidates was provided, and the Call Committee feels hopeful.
Once the Senior Pastor is officially Called to St. Luke’s, the Associate Pastor Call Committee will begin their work. This allow us to find Pastors who complement each other and best serve our church.
Along this windy path, St. Luke’s has seen a burst of lay leaders and outreach. New people are attending and joining for many of the reasons we love our church — fellowship, youth ministry, outreach and amazing music.
We anxiously await the pastors God is calling to lead us.
If you have questions, please contact a Council member at:
Frequently Asked Questions
How is a “Call” different than a “Hire”
A “Call” purposely allows for breathing space and for God to be present in the process. On the basis of our Lutheran theology, a pastor is called, not hired, to serve a congregation. The call process is not the same as the hiring process in other parts of society. Any process that seems to focus on “head hunting,” or “just getting someone in here” is missing the point in the calling of a pastor. This is an opportunity for a church to reflect on where it’s been and where it wants to go.
Will we have more Interim Pastors?
Bridge Interim Senior Pastor Roger Black will stay with us until shortly before we Call a Senior Pastor. Interim Associate Pastor Jerry Tews will remain at St. Luke’s until shortly before we call an Associate Pastor. In both cases, it is standard practice for there to be a two Sunday break between interim and the newly called pastor.
When will the process start for an Associate Pastor?
The Associate Pastor (AP)) Call Committee was elected at the February 2020 Annual Meeting. As with the Senior Pastor Call Committee, the AP Call Committee represents a diverse mix of the congregation including age, gender, service, ministry areas and longevity. Once the Senior Pastor is officially Called to St. Luke’s, the Associate Pastor Call Committee will begin their work. This allow us to find Pastors who complement each other and best serve our church.
What Can I Do?
Pray for wisdom and guidance from the Interim Pastor.
Pray that the dynamic energy which drew us to St. Luke’s continues to radiate.
Pray for the staff as they adjust to the extra duties required of them and the demands placed on their families.
Pray for the Church Council as they undertake the leadership of this enormous process.
Pray for the Call Committees as they do the difficult work of discerning God's path for our church and our next pastors.
Pray for the Pastors who will be called to St. Luke’s.
Are you feeling called to share your time or talent?
Is there something you’ve been thinking about that you’d like to start?
Are there volunteer opportunities within the church that will help staff?
Contact Paul Harshner, Volunteer Coordinator at
firstname.lastname@example.org or in the church office.
Waiting is hard. This process can seem like it’s taking forever, and nothing is happening. We all love St. Luke’s. We’re seeing it grow and thrive and we don’t want to lose momentum. The natural instinct is to want the process to move faster. But, for anyone who has participated in a job search or a search for love, the process rarely goes quickly. God has a plan for St. Luke’s. Let’s prayerfully trust in the process, knowing that our patience will be rewarded. Prayers and participation can help everyone!