St John Evangelical Lutheran Church

The Future of the Church will be Simple - but not easy!
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At the synod assembly on June 7-8 in Minot, Rev. Phil Hirsch, executive director of the ELCA Domestic Missions unit, was one of the leaders of our annual gathering of about 175 congregations from across the western half of North Dakota. He named the challenges the ELCA is facing, along with all mainline and most nondenominational Christian churches. We are all experiencing rapid decline in membership. While the start of this decline can be traced back to the 1960’s, the pace has more recently picked up across the United States.


The future of the Christian faith, let me assure you, does not depend upon how many people become members of churches. It never has. When my grandparents were raising my parents, becoming a member at a church was the thing to do. It would have been unusual if someone moved to a community and did not quickly make an appearance at a church. People in the 1950’s also became members of fraternal organizations, Ladies Aid, and the list goes on. That time in our culture was called a time of “convergence”, when people who had survived the Great Depression and two world wars banded together because they would not have otherwise survived.


Today, we have “diverged” as a culture, seeking our own unique identities. Every generation today spends a tremendous amount of time on screens that cater to our own likes and dislikes. People might be more inclined to join a gym when they move to a new community instead of a church.


Rev. Phil Hirsch suggests, "The future of the church will be simple, but not easy."


Our most faithful work will be our simplest work, such as: welcoming people who have felt unwelcomed or hurt by the church, equipping the saints to carry the gospel into your homes and neighborhoods, forming  deep relationships with our Lord and with one another, and reaching out to care for the sick and suffering. Those are simple aspirations, but they will not be easy. (You maybe know those are the visions that have been guiding the ministry at St. John for the past three years.)


The pages of this newsletter tell you stories of the Holy Spirit’s simple work among us. In the next newsletter, you will see the Spirit’s simple work carried out by your newest staff member, Kristine Pederson. Kris will lead Worship and Music ministry beginning on July 9 with her gifts of wisdom, music, and joy. .


It is true the number of members in congregations across the country continues to slip. And yet, did you know there is a flying pig inside your church building?   Did you know you are growing fresh produce for the AMENlove grow serve Food Pantry, which began in the basement of your church? Did you know you are sending young adults on St. John’s very first college mission trip this month? Did you know there was lawn full of young families worshipping together in May?


We continue Living in Service to Christ at St. John, because the good news of Jesus’ mercy and peace is just so good, and just so simple.


Lisa Lewton, Senior Pastor


End of Year Celebration! Wednesday, May 18 @ 5:00 PM
Confirmation Wednesday, May 18 @ 7:00 PM
Handbell Choir rehearsal Thursday, May 19 @ 5:15 PM
Vocal Choir rehearsal Thursday, May 19 @ 6:30 PM
WORSHIP Thursday, May 19 @ 7:00 PM

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St John Lutheran Church
146 6th AVE W
Dickinson, ND 58601

Phone: (701) 225-6747
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