Semi-Annual Congregation Meeting Notes

As many of you know this past year has been unique as well as very busy at American Lutheran. Since the annual meeting a few members suggested to me we bring back the semi-annual meeting. After discussion with the church council, everyone involved agreed this meeting would be a great way to communicate with our membership even if there are minimal items on our agenda.

Before I start with updates there a few thank you which are pretty important and need to be recognized. First, my fellow council members: Jennifer Hoelscher, Jared Pospisil, Kathy Strubel, Rebecca Davis, Wade Foulk, Jeff Larison, Carol Zander and Dawn Hendershot. To date, this council has put together an annual meeting, excluding June… congregational meetings every month and aided in the call process. This of course is above and beyond the normal monthly council meetings which have yet to adjourn in under two hours. Their dedication to their faith and this church is something I admire and I would like to say thank you.

The second group I would like to thank is our call committee: Bob Hanson, Paul Zander, Teresa Hager, Jan Ellsworth, Janan Timmer and Neil Mullen. The committee was the perfect blend of talents and experience. These people spent countless hours to accomplish a task which takes some churches up to a year to complete. While the call committee's job has been done for a few weeks now I would like to thank them as well.

The third group is our parsonage task force: Dawn Hendershot, Teresa Hager, Ken Miller, Jeff Larison and Bob Burkgren. Once again, this group has also spent many hours behind the scenes to create a beautiful home for our new pastor and his wife. The amount of work which has been accomplished in such a short amount of time is really remarkable, but wouldn't be possible without the right team. As you see these members please thank them when you get the chance.

The final group I would like to thank is our congregation. I could be here for hours acknowledging different groups and individuals who I've had the great pleasure to witness them serve God through this church. My position with council at times has me drained, but as soon as my cup is almost empty someone from this congregation is there to fill my cup. I am very grateful and humbled to be a part of this church. So, a great big thank you to all of you, too.

This church year has been fast paced. The last five months are going to fly by as well as we have so many adventures ahead of us. The biggest of our celebrations so far in 2017 is our calling of Pastor Nathan Clements and his wife Emily to our congregation. Pastor's first day in his office will be September 5th and he will preach his first service on September 10th. I have talked with Pastor regularly since we extended the call and every conversation is full of joy and excitement.

At the council's first meeting this year we discussed goals we would like to attain in 2017. While some of our goals have become a reality, one goal is an ongoing process. This goal is dig deep into how our church works and why! When the Rokke's moved from our congregation a lot of knowledge of this church left, too. We as a congregation and council relied on Pastor Rock a lot.

The council's goal is to slowly implement policies and procedures to help members of our church, outsiders to this congregation, future council members and even a new pastor understand how we operate. Ideally anyone, whether a member or guest, could easily find out what ALC is all about, join us for worship, find our pastor, get ahold of our music director or easily get an answer to a question you may have about our church. Some of these procedures will also help aid in the budgeting process from year to year. Those of you who are previous council members I'm sure will attest to what a hard job it can be to figure out a budget for a church.

One policy we have implemented are job descriptions for our employees. We have a great staff here at ALC who keeps this church clean, bulletins in your hands and plans our worship and music each week. We as a council wanted to know exactly what they do and how they go about their weeks. Council members met with our employees to help define and create our job descriptions. Along with job descriptions, we have implemented yearly reviews for employees, which include the Pastor, as well. These reviews will be greatly beneficial in so many ways, from budgeting to helping our council understand how we can best serve our employees.

A few other celebrations to date have been the implementation of a website. While I see big things in the future with our website, currently it is up and running. People can find out about us and contact us if they are looking for a church home. We also successfully produced a picture directory. Thank you Clarice Burkgren and team for making this a reality. Of course, the updating of our parsonage, which Jeff Larison will give you an update today.

While 2017 has come with many challenges this congregation can be proud of our church. You have great leaders on the council and great stewards willing to do whatever needs to be done to make our church great! As the weeks pass and the year ends, some members of the nominating committee will be reaching out to you. If they talk with you, I would encourage you to take the time to reflect and pray. The committee chose to talk to you for a reason as they believe in your talents. Remember Philippians 4:13 "I can do all this through him who gives me strength." Serving your church through the council is a rewarding journey and one I would like you to consider.

I'm looking forward to a great rest of the year.