From Pastor Meyer’s Desk:
A few opening verses from Ephesians 1 as I begin my work among you:
2 “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ…….
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, 8 which He lavished upon us,… …because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, ……”
Know, that as your pastor, and in a relatively short time, (11-17 mo.???) as your former Intentional Interim Pastor, I will still give thanks for you and will continue to remember you in my prayers. That’s what pastors do.
If you have not already started this practice, I urge you to now daily pray for the new senior pastor and his family that we hope to call within the next 12-18 months. I want you to be able to tell him, when he arrives, “I have been praying for you since March of 2017.”
I thank you for the welcome I have received as I started my work among and with you in February. I have been blessed to already meet so many amazing people here in Lincoln. I’ve had the joy of visiting with a few of you and I look forward to meeting with as many of you as I can in these next several months. I truly want to hear your stories, concerns, fears and hopes. I want to hear your dreams of what you believe God has in mind for the ongoing and future ministry of Trinity Lutheran.
A little about me: I have been a pastor for close to 36 years, starting in 1981. 2 years an Assistant Pastor in Independence, MO; 12 years in Creston, IA; 15 years in Glendale, WI; 5 years in Fort Wayne, IN; and then serving my first Intentional Interim church at Fremont, NE for 18 months. I am excited about getting to learn more about our schools here in Lincoln as I worked closely with Lutheran schools, both elementary and High School, during my 20 years in Glendale and Ft. Wayne.
It is good to be back home in Nebraska. I grew up on farms north of Creston, NE. and then Hadar, NE. I was baptized at St. Peter’s, Humphrey, attended Lutheran grade school at Zion, Leigh and then grade school and confirmation at Zion, Pierce. I am a 1977 graduate of Concordia, Seward – teaching degree. My folks and mother-in-law all live in NE along with six of my siblings with their families. (I’m the oldest of 11 children.) Sue and I now live in the Bennington (Omaha) area.
I am here to not only be your senior pastor (in this interim time) but to also help you prepare for the calling of your new resident senior pastor. But first, we have a lot of work and preparation to complete. This is an ‘in-between’ time reminding us in some ways of John the Baptist’s ministry in preparing the way for people to recognize and receive the Lord Jesus. I like to describe my work in this way, “I must decrease but our anticipation and willingness to receive and welcome the new pastor must increase.” God-willing, I will be here until we have called your next Senior Pastor. But we will see. All will be in God’s time.
It will of course be tempting to try to recreate all the wonderful times of the past. But those times were then. Our setting and community is different now. We will have wonderful times and experiences even as we tackle new challenges and opportunities for ministry. The main thing will always be Jesus and His Word. And it will be important that we talk with one another so that, where necessary, healing and reconciliation may take place by the grace and power of God at work among His people. This is a time of transition which can be difficult, but at the same time can be tremendously rewarding as we have an opportunity to reaffirm what is good and redirect our focus on the priorities and ministry targets that God has in mind for us at this time and place in our history.
We will listen to Jesus and His Word as we are fed and nurtured through the power of the Holy Spirit at work through God’s means of grace. We will heed God’s call to be His witnesses, seeking to share the Good News of Jesus with everyone we can. We will reach out to our community. We will listen and observe as to the needs around us, and with our gifts and talents seek to be part of God’s answer to some of those needs. Where God leads, we will follow.
Truly God has lavished His grace and mercy upon the people of Trinity Lutheran throughout her long and amazing history of living and proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus (ministering to thousands and helping to start so many other churches). Though we, as God’s people, can be very different from one another, we will continue to thank God for one another and keep one another in our prayers. God is good, all the time! In anything good that takes place, always to God will be all the glory!
Your interim senior pastor and forever brother in Christ,
Pastor Meyer was installed as our Intentional Interim Pastor February 5th.
Please call the church office 402-474-0606 to to to schedule an appointment to meet with him. His home phone is 402-715-5748 His cell phone is 260-438-7481
Priscilla With Me
Priscilla continued to venture out in the community making new acquaintances and exploring new venues. New sights, smells, and sounds were encountered as Priscilla visited Sam’s Club, Out of the Box, CASA, Aging Partners, and Cedars. She was invited and attended church at the American Lutheran Church and went to Columbus NE to attend a Community Health Fair. She is always meeting new people where she provides comfort and smiles and opportunities to share the Comfort Dog Ministry.
“ I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3
Ash Wednesday Worship – March 1st, at 7:00 p.m.
This year we will be focusing on “LENT, A Time for Renewal”.
Topics that will be covered: A Time for Renewal of Servanthood
A Time for Renewal of Obedience
A Time for Renewal of Witness
A Time for Renewal of True Religion
A Time for Renewal of Priorities
A Time for Renewal of Godly Fear
Dinners will be served 5:30-6:30 each week by different groups of the church and school.
March 1 – LWML will serve Sloppy Joes, beans and dessert. Funds received will benefit the Ysleta Mission trip.
March 8 – Trinity Teachers will serve Haystacks (a rice bowl with toppings), drinks and desserts.
March 15 – the Youth Group will serve Spaghetti, salad and brownies
March 22 – the Comfort Dog Ministry Group will serve 2 types of soup, carrots and puppy chow
March 29 – Trinity School Board will serve Ham and Cheese Sliders, Cheesy Potatoes, and dessert
April 5th – the dinner will benefit the Blessed Bible Camp.
FAQ regarding Intentional Interim Ministry (IIM).
- How long does an IIM pastor serve a congregation?
This depends on many factors, but typically from one to two years. The factors depend on the condition of the congregation, the depth of the challenge at hand and congregational leadership. My permanent call to this temporary situation is currently for 12 months with a possible extension of 6 months. The length of the interim call is not as important as the health of the church. My personal goal is to finish my IIM work at Trinity within a period of 12 – 18 months.
- What is the structure of IIM training?
First, years of experience as an LCMS pastor. Then, the training program consists of initial discernment training for pastors considering the IIM, followed by basic training (two separate weeks of intensive formal training, plus approximately six-months of fieldwork) and ongoing continuing education. Most of my training was held at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
- What is a quick summary of the purposes to be fulfilled in this interim?
Purpose 1. The Maintaining of the Present Needs in Ministry Within the Congregation
Purpose 2. The Rediscovering of Christ’s Design for His Church (Five Diagnostic Questions)
- What is Christ’s design for a congregation to fulfill?
- What is this congregation doing well?
- What is this congregation doing poorly or not at all?
- What are the main identities in ministry of this congregation to be, going forward?
- Where does everyone fit in to this congregation’s ministry?
- What is the process our church will go through?
There are five phases a congregation will encounter during the IIM process.
- Dealing with its history in an honest way – talking through the disputes, strengths and challenges, and the positives and negatives of past pastorates.
- Broadening leadership.
- Defining its identity. During the interim, the congregation uses tools, such as self study and demographics, to discern its own identity.
- Strengthening the relationship with the district. Normally, the pastor of the congregation is the de facto channel to the district. When this link no longer exists, new channels of communication can open up, redefining relationships with the district and synod.
- Determining a new direction for ministry and mission. When the temptation to simply follow the pastor is gone, new ideas bubble up from the congregation. The window to the future is opened to allow the wind of the Spirit to challenge a congregation to answer the question, “what is God calling us to do, at this time and in this place?”
- What do we plan to do here?
Our plan will come out of my conversations with the leadership of the congregation. What I recommend and suggest will usually consist of the following:
- See to the fulfillment of ongoing pastoral needs by the pastor(s) including myself.
- Cottage Group Meetings & Individual home/in person visits by the IIM pastor with notes of responses kept by the IIM and lay leaders of the church who are present for that meeting.
- Transition Team put together composed of involved and dedicated current leadership as well as the inclusion of people showing passion and leadership potential from what is observed at the Cottage Group Meetings and other personal contacts.
- Transition Team works very hard at gathering and interpreting the various comments and data gathered from a variety of sources that help us address and answer the questions we must answer during this process. They also work, with Council and others, to address some of the concerns that are identified during the IIM process.
- Finally, the Transition Team shares their report and recommendations with the church in a Town Hall Meeting.
- If the report is approved and accepted by the congregation, (with possible changes brought forth through conversation and sharing at the meeting), the congregation then invites President Rich Snow to schedule a PreCall Meeting with the congregation.
- At the same time a Call Committee will be put together. (The Transition Team may elect to continue to work on various tasks and needs that came to light or may determine that their work is satisfactorily finished and pass on their work over to the Church Council and the Call Committee.)
- Call List Received
- After much work by the Call Committee, they provide recommendation(s) to the congregation and the congregation extends a call for their next resident Senior Pastor.
- Can you tell me more about the Cottage Group Meetings?
We are currently in the process of determining schedule, format and locations. At these Cottage Group Meetings, I plan to share a presentation concerning what God’s Word says about His purpose for His Church. I then listen to you and help you listen to one another as we go through and answer the Five Diagnostic Questions (mentioned in C. above).
- Can you tell me more about the work of the Transition Team?
Their work will be focused on accomplishing the following.
- Helping me process and interpret the responses received in the Cottage Meetings.
- Addressing and correcting the congregation’s issues that are identified.
- Connecting with the community in which the congregation and members of the congregation are located.
- Focusing on and enhancing the ministry of Jesus Christ and His people within the congregation.
- Developing the greater inclusion of members for their involvement in the ministries of the congregation.
- Identifying the characteristics and job description of the next called Senior Pastor as they help put together the foundation of information that the Call Committee will eventually build upon.
This or That
Movie Night – Approximately 130 people attended Movie Night on Friday, February 10 at the school campus on N. 56th. Thank you to the members of the Evangelism Committee for planning and hosting the meal and movie.
Kindergarten Round-Up – We had 19 families signed up for Kindergarten Round-Up on Friday, February 17. Please pray that many of them will be lead to enroll their children at Trinity.
The 5th graders, along with Mrs. Heun, Mrs. Ziems, and their student teacher Miss Meyer, took a field trip to Chapter 25 (formerly know as Kids Against Hunger). The students learned the name Chapter 25 is based off Matthew 25:35 “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in”. After being instructed, the class set up an assembly line and went right to work packaging meals. Some of the students’ favorite jobs were running the scale and the vacuum sealer. The students and teachers all had a great time. While at Chapter 25, the class packed enough healthy nutritious meals to feed 1,584 people! This fields trip had a cost of $25 per person and was funded by Chapel offerings and donations. Thank you for your help in funding this field trip!
Average weekly offerings for the first 3 weeks of February $12,635 Weekly offerings needed for the 2017 budget is $13,346
We currently owe the Restricted Funds Account $230,000
LWML – Saturday, March 18, at 9:30 a.m., Trinity’s LWML will meet in the Parish Hall. There will be a Bible Study on “More Precious than Silver, … The Gifts of Knowledge and Wisdom” from the Winter issue of the “Quarterly” Then, the initial work and assembly of this year’s confirmation banners will begin. Of course, there will be refreshments and conversation on the 18th. All ladies of the congregation are invited to attend this mission-minded session.
Quilters for Missions: Join us in the Fellowship Hall on the first and third Thursday of each month, come anytime between 1:00 and 5:00 and stay as long as you can. No experience is necessary. Help us make quilts for Lutheran World Relief and other mission opportunities. For more information, call Nancy Olson at 402-488-3560.
Couples Club will meet 6:30, March 24th in the Parish Hall. Serving will be Eldon and Carol Henning, Ruth Sherman, Lucy Schneider and Fran and James Kniep.
Are you going through a tough time in your life, maybe experiencing grief, divorce, illness, or some other life crisis?
If so, you might benefit from having a Stephen Minister. We’re your fellow Trinity members who can provide confidential, caring, one-to-one emotional and spiritual support.
If interested contact Margaret Bitz at (402-802-8115), or Mark and Lisa Von Behren.
Homepage submission from Jennifer Obrist Toddler room.
The Bumblebee’s enjoyed spending time with their V.I.P.s during National Lutheran Schools week. They also liked dressing up for the themes that were planned during the week. We also have been learning about the color white and circles as our shape for the month of January. Our art projects consists of snowman, snowballs, and snowflakes.
The Butterfly Room has been very busy. We have been learning about winter, snowmen, our five senses, and forest animals. We had a lot of fun having our VIPs here during National Lutheran Schools Week and showing them all the fun stuff we do at school. We also celebrated three of our friends being “Big Girls” and potty trained with a special Potty Party!
The folding chairs in the assembly hall need to be replaced. Some of them have damaged clothing and are no longer as solid as they should be. After shopping numerous local stores and on line, I found the best buy is from a catalogue company called “School Outfitters”. I purchased a sample chair which will be parked between the two choir room doors in the assembly hall. Our cost is $56.49 per chair which includes shipping and handling. We need about 200 chairs to replace the existing folding chairs.
Since this is not an item listed in the Board of Property’s budget, it has been suggested that we treat the purchase of these chairs in the same way we bought the new hymnals. $705.00 has already been donated for this cause. Please consider making a donation towards the purchase for “your” chair.
Board of Properties Chairman
Supporting a Missionary Family
Trinity Lutheran’s past Missionary family, the Haugens, have returned to the United States after many attempts to attain visas to stay in Macau. They have since taken on other responsibilities. We thank them for their months of work in Macau and their devotion to the mission field. This development has encouraged us to choose another missionary family to support with our mission offerings. Gary Thies at Mission Central has provided us with two families to consider. Gary Thies plans to attend Trinity on Sunday, Feb 12 and we will prayerfully select one of these 2 during the Bible Study hour, in the Fellowship Hall. Please join us.
The first Missionary family is: Rev. Stuart and Debra Freese. God has called this special missionary couple to serve the Lord in Ghana and other countries in West Africa. Pastor Freese will be a church planter and will help to train and equip the saints in this part of the world. Deb, with her great communication background, will be working with our area missionaries as Area Communications Director for West Africa. Pastor and Deb are native Nebraskan’s and call Our Redeemer in Wahoo as their home congregation. The Freese’s were members of Trinity Lutheran in the early 90’s. The Freese’s have two adopted children from Columbia.
The second candidate for consideration is Pastor Shauen and Krista Trump. Pastor and Krista will serve the Lord in Kenya and Tanzania where Pastor Trump will work with the Lutheran Church bodies across both countries. Much of his work will be as a mission facilitator. He will be serving alongside the various churches by teaching, disciplining and walking alongside each partner according to their needs. He will also stand as the primary contact in this area for churches seeking new relationships with LCMS. Krista currently enjoys her time with their children and plans to seek nursing work in Nairobi with opportunities for Christian outreach.
A more complete description of each of our candidates can be found at the Mission Central website at http://www.missioncentral.us under the ‘Missions List’ tab and the ‘Africa’ column. Printed forms may also be found at the information desk in the Church narthex.
We pray that both families may be richly blessed as they spread the Good News of our Lord in their respective fields.
REMEMBER OUR MISSIONS – We have been praying for the LWML Mission Grant for Lutheran Youth Corps in the amount of $25,000. There is an ever-growing number of LCMS college students and young adults joining the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps. They say “We would do it with the church, but there is nothing for us to do.” This quote comes from the executive director’s office of LCMS Office of National Mission. Hearing the desire of Lutheran youth wishing to serve with LCMS guidance, the Lutheran Mercy Youth Corp initiative was born.
Youth attending the National Youth Gathering of the LCMS have voiced a desire to be of service to the church in a deeper level. Many young adults wish to utilize the time between high school and college or college and the start of full time employment serving in their communities. Lutheran Mercy Youth Corp will provide these students with the opportunity to live and serve in urban or underserved communities. This experience will engage the youth and connect them to ongoing opportunities to be Christ’s witnesses in acts of mercy for the world. The program will also expand the young people’s understanding of life’s vocation and the important part service to others and sharing the Gospel plays in fulfilling their vocational call. For the young adults who have yet to settle on a vocation, this provides time for life experiences and possible connections with various employment opportunities.
The time frame for their service will range from three months to one year. Prior to departure, students will receive training which will include theological foundation, relational training and other areas specific to the work they will be asked to perform. Once ready for service and assigned, the students will reside in an intentional community of their peers with a professional church worker serving as a proctor. They will be connected to a local congregation for Word and Sacrament and daily devotions to enable them in remaining faithful to the Commitment.
You can be a part of supporting this mission grant by bringing your mites/dollars/checks to the Mite Box located in the Narthex on the second Sunday of each month.