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Ministry and Pastor Options Feedback – July 2019

Mission & Plans

Over the course of 5 ministry meetings in July, 151 members provided feedback on our ministries and pastor options. On August 11, a Voters Meeting will be held to decide whether to call a third pastor. Please review the attached feedback summary document below in preparation for the Voters meeting.

Feedback on Pastor Options


Listed below is a summary of the feedback on our Ministries:

WORSHIP – STUDY – SERVE – SHARE : Ministries Feedback Summary

Members provided great feedback, discussed various challenges with our current ministries, and asked many questions about our ministry plans. The feedback is organized by various focus areas commonly brought up.

  • Inactive Members: Much discussion on how to increase members active in Worship, Study, Serve and Share. More follow-up may be needed with delinquent members. It’s easy for people to slip away. If we love them, we all should be reaching out to them.
  • Connections: How do we better connect members with each other as well as new members and the community. Continue to focus on communications across the congregation and look for ways to engage with members you may not know well during study and service opportunities.
  • Assimilation: We have seen many new faces in to our congregation. How are we keep them engaged, studying, in worships, and serving? Put more focus on our assimilation programs.
  • Youth Ministries: We have some study areas in place for youth, but not full coverage of all our youth especially missing areas between confirmation age through college age. How do we keep them engagement?
  • Technology: How do we better leverage technology in our ministries (website, newsletter, communications, online studies/resources) We need to have a group that focuses on communication- website, social tools.
  • Financial Stewardship: Much discussion on how we budget. Do we have enough funding to support ministries and staffing? Do we let our giving drive ministries or ministries drive giving? There are plans in place for a synod Financial Stewardship program to be done this September for our congregation.
  • Foundations and Various Styles: Our congregation has over 900 members which also means we have many different preferences in styles of worship and bible studies. During the meetings, there were very strong feelings brought out. Regardless of the various styles that we continue to debate and discuss, there is not a question on the foundation of God’s word in our worship and studies.  As a congregation, we need to continue to focus on God-focused worship verses People-focused worship.
  • Unity: Discussion on how we continue to promote one congregation with two sites. As we grow, it seems to be more challenging in keep the two campuses feeling united.
  • Church & School ties: With all the changes in staffing, leadership, and tuition support, how do we ensure strong relationship between the two; how we staff one verse the other seems to not be consistent any longer. General feeling from some that if you are not involved with School, you lose out, whether that is if you are a new member that does not have kids or has kids that don’t go to school or even families who no longer have school age kid.
  • Outreach As our individual members continue to be grow spiritually through worship, study and service, a key further grow come in sharing their faith. There are many opportunities we have as a congregation to share our faith. New events have been added over the year.
  • Ministries Planning: General sense of frustration with the fact that we keep passing budgets that seem to be beyond the giving capacity of the congregation. Are we a simple church? Do we plan to be? We have a bunch of new programs, but we need to fix what’s broken first.

A full listing of the feedback will be attached here in the coming days. It will be the full 17 pages that explains on each one of the core values and list various ideas and suggestions by members. The Council will be reviewing this feedback at our August Leadership Meeting. We will incorporate the feedback into our VTO (Vision Traction Organizer – basically incorporate ideas into our yearly plans), as well as outline specific quarterly Rocks (objectives) to focus on for this current fiscal year.

Thanks again for all members who participated in the feedback meetings. We pray God will bless us our ministries here in the Rochester community!

In Christ Alone,
Daryl Schultz
Resurrection & Life Lutheran President

Ministries Report and 3rd Pastor Options – July 2019

Mission & Plans

Our ministry is at a potential turning point. Resurrection & Life Lutheran is, and God-willing, will continue to be 1 congregation with 2 sites. We have been served by more than 2 pastors since 1993, and 3 pastors fully dedicated to our ministry since 2008. God has blessed us with significant growth in recent years. God led Pastor Bitter to take a call to Florida. Our ministry has grown. Our pastoral staff is currently smaller. What should we do? It appears we are at a turning point.

Our turning point is not as big as the Industrial Revolution or the unveiling of the iPhone. It’s bigger. It’s bigger because God works through the Word and our ministry to impact the spiritual and eternal lives of hundreds and hundreds of people. No matter how many million iPhones are sold or how many years it takes to pay for your iPhone, phones don’t have the same lasting and epic impact.

How should we move forward together? We invite and strongly encourage you to join the conversation. Our Voters and Church Council wants everyone in our congregation to prayerfully consider our ministry and share their thoughts. Your vital input will greatly help us as we move forward in our ministry together.

Our ministry that impacts eternities is well worth a few moments of your time. Please give your prayerful consideration and time to:

  • Read through this document and answers the questions inside it.

2019.07.Ministry and Pastor Discussion Revised v2

Included in this document are:

1. our ministry together (Worship. Study. Serve. Share.)

2. our current and projected financial status.

3. discussions on calling a 3rd pastor (yes or no? If no, cut what? If yes, to do what?)

  • Attend 1 of our open forum small group discussions of this document and our next steps as a congregation.

We will be holding small group discussions of this document and our next steps as a congregation. Here are your opportunities to participate in these discussions:

Wednesday, July 17th, at 6:30pm on our Resurrection Campus

Sunday, July 21st, at 9:00am on our Resurrection Campus

Sunday, July 21st, at 10:30am on our Life Campus

Sunday, July 21st, at 11:30am on our Resurrection Campus

Wednesday, July 24th, at 6:30pm on our Life Campus

We’d like you to be prepared to be a part of one of those discussions. We’d like to hear your feedback, questions, and concerns.

In Christ Alone,
Daryl Schultz
Resurrection & Life Lutheran Church President

Learning Center Overview

Church Council Updates Mission & Plans

Over the past year, a committee was formed to review the Synod’s published information on “Telling the Next Generation.” This information was specifically focused on Early Childhood Ministries and Elementary Schools. The group that attended a “Telling the Next Generation” conference, began work on better defining a harvest strategy for our existing Early Childhood Ministries. As a result of this work, the committee discuss possible ways to improve our existing Early Childhood Ministries (Monkey Junction, Preschool, and Jesus and Me Program), as well as discuss what could be expanded.

From this effort, there were some slight changes to the Jesus and Me program, and also some additional relationship building efforts between Monkey Junction, Preschool and Kindergarten. This included the Kindergarten teacher and Preschool teacher spending time sharing their readiness programs with Monkey Junction families.

In addition to some slight changes to existing Early Childhood Ministry programs, the concept of an Early Childhood Learning Center was explored. A Learning Center is basically a combination of child care with option of having preschool class sessions incorporated within it. There were 3 WELS Learning Centers in Minnesota that were explored to better understand how they operated. The 3 centers that were explored were MLC (Martin Luther College) Early Childhood Learning Center in New Ulm, Jesus Loves Me Learning Center in Mankato, and Cornerstone Early Learning Center in Hugo. Of the 3 centers, Cornerstone Early Learning Center seemed to match closer to what might work best for Rochester area. Cornerstone is part of the North St. Paul congregation that is a dual site. The Cornerstone campus is located in Hugo and has a worship site very similar to our Life campus. Much of the plans provided below are based off actual real life operation information from these various centers.

Attached is the Resurrection & Life Lutheran Learning Center overview and phase proposal that was shared with the Congregation in early April 2019. This was also reviewed at the April 7th open forums.

Resurrection &Life Learning Center Overview – April 2019

In addition to the overview, the Leadership team was asked to provide a snapshot of the overall business plan for the Learning Center.  Attached is the snapshot.

RLL Learning Center Business Plan Overview

On Sunday, April 14, 2019, there will be a Voters Meeting to approve the Learning Center mission, vision, goals, and phased approach.  The approval will give the Leadership Team the go ahead with both Phase 1 and 2. All voters are encouraged to attend the meeting as it is a significant decision for our congregation. If you are not able to attend, please be sure to express your input to other Voters who will be attending or reach out to members of our Church Council.

If the Voters approve, our Voters Meeting will proceed as a call meeting to call a Learning Center Director. Here is an outline of the Learning Center Directors roles and responsibilities:

Learning Center Director – Full List

In order for our congregation to move forward with Phase 3 and beyond, another Voters Meeting will be required to gain approval.

If you have any questions or feedback, please reply back to comments on this webpage, or send directly to Daryl Schulz, Council President, at (507-261-6906) and to DJ Earls, Outreach vice-chair, at (952-240-2341).

In Christ Alone,
Daryl Schultz, Council President

Congregation Meeting – May 6, 2018

Mission & Plans Voters Meetings
We’re also excited to talk about our ministry together. A part of our discussion will be a financial review. We are currently projecting that we’ll have a financial shortfall.  

We encourage all members to attend and participate, as this is a great opportunity to share and discuss our mission “To Win and Nurture Souls for Christ!”
Attached are the Congregation Meeting Handout Materials we will be using during our May 6th meeting. There will be handouts available after each church service on Sunday morning.

R&L Lutheran SWOT Analysis

Mission & Plans

On Tuesday, March 20th, we had a special Joint Leadership Feedback session. The focus was to get feedback on our Congregation SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Threats). This analysis was initially done by a small group on the council over the past few months. The feedback session with the various Boards and Committees was useful to validate if we had captured the key focus items. This input was valuable for a 2-day Church Council Work Session held on March 23 & 24, 2018.

Below are the outlined SWOT Analysis Lists:

Resurrection & Life Lutheran SWOT


  1. Solid Doctrine & Teachings based on the God’s Word
  2. Variety of Worship times & locations with excellent Worship facilities and pastors
  3. New Ministries added over the past few years (Monkey Junction, Jesus & Me, Faith Night) have provided more opportunities to connect to God’s Word.
  4. Affordable Christian education which has dedicated staff who love their Savior and fosters a Christian environment.
  5. Rochester area has six worship/gathering areas (5 congregations)
  6. We are established (Not a new church with risk of closing)
  7. We offer multiple methods of worship
  8. Larger church body but not too large. Small but not too small
  9. Uniqueness of Life. Doesn’t look like a “church”
  10. Plenty of people to help


  1. Connecting Church/School vision and ministries; Multiple ministries running in “silos” and not bridging relationships between them (ECM – Preschool – School – Church) OUTREACH
  2. Not purposeful in focusing on the family unit connecting together in the Word. We have individual focus studies (Adults vs. Children) but do we focus on family unit together to encourage making family units stronger in the faith. No specific parenting focus (parent responsibilities to train children) NURTURE
  3. Keeping youth from falling away after leaving school/home. NURTURE
  4. Limited members involved on leadership committees and service teams. NURTURE
  5. High School and Non-RLS elementary youth not active in Bible studies and service. NURTURE
  6. Facilities are limited for extracurricular activities (gym, music, tech/computer lab, ball fields) as well as visibility to outside community; FACILITIES
  7. Resurrection campus has limited welcome areas (narthex) and fellowship hall study area. FACILITIES
  8. Life campus lacks youth and adult study rooms. FACILITIES
  9. Limited collaboration between area WELS congregations COLLABORATION
  10. Communication both internally and externally. SOCIAL/COMMUNICATION
  11. “Brand awareness.” Does the community know our school, our church? SOCIAL/COMMUNICATION
  12. We not focus enough on being good Christian parents. “If Mom or Dad does not go to church/bible study/ etc., neither will the kids” NURTURE
  13. Focus on too many items? SOCIAL/COMMUNICATION


  1. Engage recent BIC participates with other members and Bible studies (get active in their membership quickly) NURTURE
  2. More opportunities to get people in the Word; Focus on “whole” family connection NURTURE
  3. Need to clarify the ministry focus for school; What is goal of school (primary to teach the Gospel, and what are other primary and secondary goals?) SCHOOL
  4. Welcome additional students from current members who do not attend our school, other WELS area congregations and from non-WELS families SCHOOL
  5. Ensure Preschool is self sustaining SCHOOL
  6. Move towards making School more self sustaining SCHOOL
  7. Establish another WELS worship/gathering location in Rochester (Whether that is with RAM or part of RLL goals) OUTREACH, COLLABORATION
  8. Looking for more friendship evangelism such as inviting to Sunday morning worship and other events OUTREACH
  9. Coordinate with the other WELS churches to provide stronger youth programs for public school children COLLABORATION
  10. Don’t forget to focus for non family groups, High school aged/ College age / single Christians / empty nesters NURTURE
  11. Monkey junction to RLS / Worship pipeline OUTREACH
  12. Using the phone to communicate (don’t hide behind email) SOCIAL/COMMUNICATION
  13. Community involvement / communication SOCIAL/COMMUNICATION
  14. Pre-school to grade school pipeline OUTREACH


  1. Outside forces challenge the doctrine and things we hold dear
  2. Community activities take priority over Church/School
  3. “It’s good enough” culture/attitude
  4. Not having enough arms and legs to do volunteer work
  5. Change is hard; People get frustrated with change
  6. Different priorities (look to leverage each congregation mission to further God’s mission)
  7. History of our congregation and area WELS congregations
  8. Losing focus on the ministries
  9. Youth and Young Adults falling away
  10. Trying too much at once
  11. Lean on same “arm and legs” for volunteer work
  12. Divide between Resurrection and Life. “Why are we doing this project there and not here”

If you have any additional feedback you would like the Church Council and the rest of the Congregation to be aware of, please provide comments to this blog post!

In Christ Alone,
Daryl Schultz, Resurrection & Life Lutheran President