VisioNotes: October 2017

September 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Download now: October 2017 Visionotes

500th Anniversary: Reformation Events
Commemorate this historical event with special events throughout October (p. 7)
Guest column from Rev Josh Brumbaugh (p. 18)

Final “Sabbatical Matters”
Pastor Matt reflects on his summer. (p. 3)

Annual Holiday Bazaar, November 18
Make your calendars, tell your friends, and find a way to be part of the action! (p. 12)

VisioNotes: September 2017

August 31, 2017 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Download now: September 2017 Visionotes

September 10 Day of Service (p. 8)
People of all ages have an opportunity to make a difference, together, after worship on 9/10/17

Cross+Generational B.A.S.I.C.! (page 6)
Sunday, September 17
All ages join for fun and learning

Kindness is Contagious Presentation (p. 7)
Guest speaker and author Nicole Phillips talks about the secret to happiness

VisioNotes: August 2017

August 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Download now: August 2017 Visionotes

30-Day Challenge: Guided by the Spirit (p. 5)
Saturday, August 12-Sunday, September 10 – Pick up your Challenge handout at St. John’s.

Rehfeldt Housewarming Celebration (p. 8)
Sunday, August 6, 1:00pm

Cinema and Sweets (p. 7)
Saturday, August 19, 7:00pm

Children’s Ministry Fall registration
Space is limited – register early!

VisioNotes: June/July 2017

June 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Download: June/July2017 Visionotes

Worship in the Park
Sunday, July 2, 9:30am (p.9)

Faith, Sexism, and Justice Conversation
Sundays, July 9 and 16, 10:30am (p.10)

Our Jerusalem Missionaries Visit Us!
July 29-30 (p.14)

Passport to Peru: VBS 2017
July 31 – August 4 (p.16)

Does going to church make you a better person? (p.3)

VisioNotes: May 2017

May 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Download: May 2017 Visionotes

Cross+Gen B.A.S.I.C. and Catered Picnic Lunch
     Sunday, May 7, 10:15am and 11:15am

Confirmation Sunday (p.5)
     Sunday, May 21, 10:30am

Sabbatical Sending & Omelet Brunch
     Saturday, June 3, 5pm; Sunday, June 4, 9am & 10am

Is Membership Enough?
     Pastor’s column, p. 3

VisioNotes: April 2017

March 29, 2017 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Download: April 2017 Visionotes


Palm Sunday, April 8, 5:00pm; April 9, 9:00am

Maundy Thursday, April 13, 7:00pm

Good Friday, April 14, 7:00pm

Prayer Vigil (no Saturday worship)

Easter Sunday, April 16, 6:30am, 9:00am, 10:30am

Easter Breakfast, 7:30am – 9:00am

Easter Egg Hunt, 8:30am


Spring Community Service Day

A variety of work projects on Sunday, April 23, 11am-1pm (p.9)

VisioNotes: March 2017

March 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Download: March 2017 Visionotes

Midweek Worship & Meals for Lent (p. 7)

Wednesdays, March 8, 15, 22, 29, April 5

5:30-6:30pm Supper

7:00-7:30pm Worship

Cross+Gen BASIC & Catered Lunch

Sunday, March 19, 10:15am & 11:15am

A Picture of Generosity (p.11)

Major gift received to Mission Endowment

Do you have Sabbath in your life? (p.3)

VisioNotes: February 2017

January 30, 2017 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Download: February 2017 Visionotes

February Is Hunger Mission Month

6th Annual Food Packaging Event (p. 13)

  • Sunday, February 5
  • Packaging 10:30am-12:30pm

“Souper” Bowl of Caring (p. 14)

  • The month of February
  • Personal hygiene products and non-perishable foods


 St. John’s 2017 Ministry Theme

Jesus says, “Come and rest (and play).”


The Christian Faith (p. 7)

Explore what it means to be a Lutheran Christian

  • Build friendships in small groups
  • Grow in faith and come closer to God
  • Sign-up NOW for a 6-week small group starting the week of March 5.


 “All Are Welcome” Banquet and Bluegrass Concert (p. 17-18)

  • February 18, 6:00pm Meal, 7:15pm Public Concert
  • Your invitation and RSVP are inside!

2016 Annual Report

January 30, 2017 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Click 2016 Annual Report to celebrate the previous year, review finances and budgets, and hear from our leaders. The congregation received this Annual Report at our Annual Meeting on January 29, 2017. For quick reference, below is Pastor Matt’s written report.

Pastor’s Annual Report to the Congregation

Vibrant. Generous. Adventurous. Changing. These are some of the words that describe our St. John’sLutheran Church today. Our church is alive, and our mission is clear. We are REACHING UP, REACHING OUT, and REACHING WITHIN to actively fulfill God’s mission for us. This mission is not a static statement of beliefs but a rigorous call to action. It draws us into three sets of interconnected relationships – with God (UP), with our neighbors (OUT), and with each other (WITHIN). These relationships are at the heart of a healthy community. They bring us to life. And like all good relationships, they take work. We are called to invest ourselves in these relationships. Over the past six years, we have been working hard and gathering momentum, energy, ideas, people, and opportunities to fulfill our mission. Praise the Lord! The Spirit has been at work! It’s been exciting. We have been busy.

 Yet, as people of faith, we must caution ourselves against too much busyness. God also calls us to rest and be still. This is true for each of us personally and for us as a community. So often our lives are too full of worries and fears, activities and agendas. Our bodies, hearts, and minds are too busy. The God who rested on the seventh day of creation is the God who invites us to rest. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” In the midst of our activities and life-giving relationships, Jesus offers rest for our souls. In 2017 we’ll appreciate new ways to rest – and play – with each other and with the Lord. Here are some of the ways we’ve lived God’s story for us in 2016:

Telling Our Stories. The invitation to tell our stories served as our theme for 2016. For our second year in a row, we prepared a devotional booklet for December and heard 25 personal stories about Christmas and faith.  During midweek Lenten worship we heard five people tell their faith story. Articles in the newsletter and our Mission and Ministry Moments regularly allow us to be vulnerable with our lives and share parts of our journeys with the church. We promoted Faith Five as a way for households to share, read the Bible, talk, pray, and bless each other. In addition to a variety of small groups that form and meet organically, two all-church small group experiences brought us together around stories – “The Sacred Acre” in the spring, on faith in the midst of crisis, and “Just Mercy” in the fall, on issues of race and criminal justice. Reading their stories helped us know and share our own stories. Some of these ways of telling our stories will continue to be part of who we are as a church into our future.

“All Are Welcome” Building Project. We made two finishing touches in 2016 to this transformative project. The church lounge (formerly the library) is now ideally furnished to provide space for meetings and groups. And the dishwasher in the kitchen is quite popular with our dish crews. Future gifts to the capital expenditures fund will be used to address some smaller updates around the building.

“All Are Welcome” Capital Campaign. We are debt free! In three years St. John’s gave over $725,000. In 2016 we generously gave $95,000, with many people giving above and beyond their pledges. Praise God for our sacrificial giving!

Stewardship. We are becoming a more generous community. In addition to gifts of love to our capital campaign, financial gifts to our daily ministries increased by 5.7% over the previous year. God has been faithful to provide, and we have been faithful to show our love for God.

Thanks to each other and the Holy Spirit at work, St. John’s stands in a strong financial position. Looking ahead to 2017, we’ve projected our offerings to grow by another 11%. This will stretched our faith and generosity. With the campaign completed, we will keep inviting each other to experience the joy of giving.

An even greater treasure than money is our people – their time and skills. With time at a premium these days, St. John’s people continue to answer the call to lead, serve, care, come, and help. We began a bi-annual event, held in February and August, called “Looking Forward.” This is a ministry planning event that allows us to share the call to leadership, as we generate ideas and see them come to life.

Worship. A random sample of worship participants completed a brief survey throughout October. The results offered a strong affirmation of our worship life, as well as some helpful suggestions. To describe the sermon, respondents most frequently used words like “easy to follow,” “practical/relevant,” “inspirational,” and “thought-provoking.” The music was “inspirational,” “appropriate,” “the right amount,” and “high quality.” The Children’s Sermon and the Mission and Ministry Moment drew high marks, as well. One of my favorite comments was that our worship was “great for all generations and promotes participation.” We’ll continue to grow our music ministry and creativity in worship. In 2016 our worship series included “What’s In It For Me?,” “Fitbit For The Soul,” “Words To Live By,” “Innocent Suffering,” “Prayer the Great Adventure,” and “Falling Apart.”

Staffing and Membership. Joining us as partners in God’s mission are 38 new members received in 2016. As they find their home with us, we welcome them with open arms. Helping us receive guests and new members is Amanda Koenecke, our Outreach Coordinator, who took on this new position last January. Amanda also assists with communications and event planning. She’s been the latest addition to our very talented and faithful staff. Appreciating, developing, and retaining our staff is a key priority for us. Our next growth in staffing will be to continue to develop more “volunteer” office staff. This will allow our staff to flourish while involving more people in using their gifts in God’s mission.

Children, Youth, and Family Ministries (CYF). An important shift in our faith formation ministries is to engage with one another across the generations. The church is one of the few places in society that involves people of all ages. In the fall we added a new milestone ministry with our 3rd graders: Bible Investigation. Over three weeks we grew in familiarity with the Bible and its promises. Parents and children learned side by side. Our confirmation ministry is working to involve parents more as learning partners, to engage in new service projects, and to prepare 8th graders for the next stage of their faith. Cross+Gen B.A.S.I.C. now meets one Sunday every other month for all generations to learn together (10:15) and share a catered meal (11:15).

Formation Events. Our journey of faith is enhanced by new sights and experiences. In August a group of 12 of us traveled with Lutherdale Ministries for a day in Historic Milwaukee. We found delight and rest in our travels, experiencing God’s presence in our company. In November a group of 34 of us traveled with Lutherdale to Minneapolis over 3 days for theater, art, and cuisine. The highlight was a journey through the life of Martin Luther and the Reformation. We have no shortage of ideas for future events and experiences, only a limitation to how much our staff can plan the details.

Core Values. Over the past year congregational leaders have worked to identify six core values that describe both who we are today and who God is calling us to be in the future. We value Inspiring Worship, Uplifting Prayer, Faithful Service, Caring Invitation, Lifelong Spiritual Growth, and Christ-Centered Friendship. Each of these has a fuller description for how we embrace that value. We’ll use these values to shape our strategic planning. Expect to get to know these values in the months ahead.

Come and Rest. We’ve already begun to step into new ways of intentionally resting (and playing) together. Last August we had our first movie night and conversation, “cinema and sweets.” Several gatherings at the new Evansville Prayer Labyrinth brought us into shared movement and silence. During midweek Advent services we engaged in guided Christian meditation. Some in our society need rest more than anything else right now. Not the kind of rest that is boredom or idleness. But we all need meaningful and joy-filled rest with a loving God and God’s gracious people. Together let’s center our lives in God’s presence, enjoy each other’s company, and receive the rest that Jesus has promised us.

Changing Church, Changing Culture. The church of tomorrow does not look like the church of yesterday. That can be scary. But one thing is certain, God is not through with us yet. The world needs God, and God will continue to use the church – in ever-new ways and expressions – to love the world.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Matthew Poock

VisioNotes: January 2017

January 2, 2017 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Download now: January 2017 Newsletter

Bluegrass Worship with the Praise Team
Saturday & Sunday, January 7 & 8 – Invite Guests!

“Financial Peace University” Is For You (p. 9)
Begins Thursday, January 12, 6:30pm

Bunco Game Night and Potluck (p. 5)
Saturday, January 21, 6:00pm-8:00pm

Annual Congregational Meeting (p. 13)
Sunday, January 29, 10:45am

All Are Welcome Campaign Celebration (p. 7)
Saturday, February 18, 6:00pm


Next Page »