St John Evangelical Lutheran Church

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I grew up in a massive church. In my churchgoing prime, First Lutheran in Fargo had something like 5,000 members, 7 pastors, and three full-time youth directors! Every week there were multiple worship services in two separate sanctuaries. It was huge! Over the course of 18 years there, I got to know many people, but even after all my involvement, the vast majority of members (and pastors) remained unknown to me. It was too big to know everyone and everything that went on there.


At a big church like that, it can be tempting to think of church as a sort of “spiritual store.” One where you

peruse through a menu of programs, activities, and worship styles, picking and choosing what you want to get from church.  And if that church doesn’t offer what you want, you can always move on to the next store church.


I thought my home church was normal. As I became acquainted with the larger Lutheran world, I soon realized most Lutheran churches were much smaller. Most have one pastor, one worship service, and one (usually volunteer) Youth Director. However, no matter how small, there is always the temptation to think church is a store, albeit a bit more boutique. Often when we think of churches, we think of the building, the pastors, the symbols, the programs, and the history.

But the truth is – you are the church.

Sure, you maintain a building and pay pastors and give meaning to all kinds of symbols. But you do it. Because the church Jesus founded 2,000 years ago and continues to call to share his message of love and hope in the world is you.


These past many months were a strange time for you, the church. You had to lean heavily on your staff and your pastors to bring the church online and to reimagine ways of doing ministry virtually. But this church, was and is, still you. My favorite part of producing the Christmas Eve virtual worship service last year, was getting to put together so many videos and pictures of you. It reminded me how beautiful, unique, and diverse this church is. Because you are so much more than a building or programs!


As we head into the fall, you are going to hear a lot about “A New Day” at St John. As we resume Thursday night worship, Church School, Wednesday night meals, and all sorts of beautiful churchy things, it is going to take you to create a new day for the church. And I hope you are ready because this world needs the church. This world needs you.


I leave you with a prayer I came across while researching for a sermon recently about you. It comes from Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Menomonee Falls, WI:


Jesus, your church is composed of people like me.
I help make it what it is. 
It will be friendly, if I am. 
Its pews will be filled, if I help fill them. 
It will do great work, if I work. 
It will make generous gifts to many causes, if I am a generous giver. 
It will bring other people into its worship and fellowship, if I invite and bring them.  
It will be a church where people grow in faith and serve you, if I am open to such growth and service.
Therefore, with your help Lord, we shall dedicate ourselves to the task of being all the things

you want your church to be. 


people chain

 Pastor Joe Natwick

Summer Day Camp Monday, Aug 8 - All Day
Boy Scouts Monday, Aug 8 @ 6:30 PM
Summer Day Camp Monday, Aug 8 - All Day
Quilters Tuesday, Aug 9 @ 8:30 AM
Staff Meeting Tuesday, Aug 9 @ 1:30 PM

Signup for our E-NEWS

SUNDAYS 8:00 am & 9:30 am

9:30 am is also available on

Facebook Livestream &

broadcast on KDIX radio


 THURSDAYS: 7:00 pm


Wednesday Night Worship & programs will resume in September!









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

Phone: (701) 225-6747
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