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Dear Faithful People of Christ the King Lutheran Church,

May 2023 is going to be a very consequential month for us at Christ the King Lutheran Church. Among other events, I am certain that by the time you read this article, all of us will know the identity of the Call Committee’s nominee for our next senior pastor. We will also know the date this month for our congregation’s vote on this call and have at the very least a draft timeline for the beginning of our ministry together with that candidate. By the end of this month, Carole and I, with you, will be able to plan for me to move from serving you at Christ’s Table to serving Christ alongside you from our seat in the pews. Anticipating all of this, over the next few Banner issues, I want to share with you what I hope we’ve learned about our mission and ministry together. So, first…

Ministers …. the people of Christ the King Lutheran Church.

At the suggestion of a long-time member, I added these words to our bulletins, but as far as I can tell, this statement is historically true. However, the reality of our Covid experience resulted in more and more of this congregation’s ministry and ministry decisions devolving to our staff. The upside of this is that the staff, for a long while the only people who could be present on the campus, did an incredible job of keeping things going and providing the necessary means to make worship available and hold the congregation together. As we’ve come out of that crisis, much of this “crisis-management mode” has continued even as we all have been able to gather and work together again. The downside is that many of us forgot that much of what the staff was deciding and doing is really our responsibility, or better, our communal privilege. Together we have the honor of proclaiming Christ to one another as well as to all those around us. 

Over this past year, one of my goals has been to move decision-making back into the hands of those we have elected to do our decision-making. As a result, we are more and more able to answer one of your perennial questions “who decided this?” with the appropriate answer: the congregation council.

I remind us all: when the Congregation meets in assembly, our corporate task is to set policy (policy includes budget, for the budget sets the policy for our mission in any given year.). The congregation council’s responsibility is to see that the policies are followed and make decisions with limited policy adjustments between meetings of the congregation. The staff, in turn, is responsible for carrying out day-to-day decision-making based on these policies and to enlist other members on our communal ministry and, in some cases, be the ones to carry out specific ministries assigned to them. It’s important that we reinforce this “flow.” 

In this regard, we (the whole congregation) really need more of you to step up and be the “ministers” once again. We need members of working committees -- communications, congregational life, and care – to name but a few. Are you able to minister in this way? Please offer yourself for any of these by speaking to a member of the staff or council. This is a better way to staff these needed leadership groups than having the staff or council members go to “the usual suspects.” 

Likewise, the mission of Christ the King Church needs many more “worship enablers.”  We need bell ringers (especially on Saturday evenings). We need acolytes (adults who act as examples, as well as youth and children who want to learn and do). Ushers (we’re often shorthanded here.) Assisting Ministers (who, among other tasks, write our weekly intercessions and who stand with the presiding minister at Christ’s Table.) We speak often about re-introducing the chorus to sing at our early morning liturgy. If you’re able, please let Cantor Ben Kerswell or any of the above-mentioned leaders know. 
It would be a great gift to our life together with our new senior pastor if we all examined ourselves and offered ourselves to joyfully do these and other such tasks as Christ’s ministers in this place.

Ministers --- the people of Christ the King Lutheran Church.

I urge you, by the time our new senior pastor arrives, let’s make that more than just a pious hope. Together, let’s make this a joy-filled truth!

Next month: The ministry of the staff.

Peace and Joy --- and Courage,

Amandus J. Derr
Interim Senior Pastor