Christ Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

A Letter for Transition

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ,

What a year we have had so far, and we are only 2/3 of the way through!  It has been a time of testing, blessing, endurance, and change.  Frankly, it has been a time to be the people that our Lord Jesus Christ has called us to be.  And I am excited now to be doing that with all of you.  I am reminded of the wisdom from Proverbs, “as iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen another.”

With the rapidly changing situations brought upon us by Covid, and the fact that Pastor Daryn has now officially taken a call to Nebraska, I wanted to write an introduction letter to address what this means for us and for our congregation.  Bear with me on the length as I want to communicate with you as much as I can.

First, I wanted to let you know what my priorities are and what you should expect from me.
Starting with this: I am your Pastor.  I love you all.  God called me here to be with you. There is no other group of people or place that I would want to be with through all of these changes, blessings, and challenges.  I love it here.

That love manifests itself for me in my responsibility and care for you.  In my vows that I confessed before you and God at my ordination/installation, I vowed that my job was to preach, teach, and visit.  This is what I strive for with every waking moment.  

I am here to give you God’s goods, and that is what you should demand of me.  This means that I devote myself to God’s Word so you can hear it proclaimed loud and clear every time you walk into our building or hear us online.  That is my goal every service, and I pray that God grants it.  Jesus Christ is still coming to give you His wondrous gifts at Christ Lutheran.

My next care is related to the first, namely, delivering the sacraments.  Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  This is what our Lord wants done, this is part of us making disciples.  You have called me to be the guy that delivers you the goods.

Next is teaching.  This includes Bible Classes, Confirmation, Livestreams, New Member Classes, Pre-Marital Counseling, and the like. I am engaged in all of them now as I write this.  September will be a month to collect ourselves as a staff and prepare to spring forward—and springing forward we will, so prepare yourselves.  In October we will be launching new Bible classes, livestreams, and special services.  More on that to come.

The last major thing that you should expect from me is visitation.  Besides our 16 shut-ins, if you are or know of someone that is not physically able to come to Christ Lutheran, please let me know.  I want you to know how much you are loved by our Lord Jesus and by his Church.

If you go to the hospital, let us know.  Always call the Church during weekdays or my cell phone on evenings/weekends for emergencies.  Because of hospital regulations due to Covid, visits now need to be planned out, so contact us early and often so we can provide the best care.
Ever since Covid began, our congregation has been dropping off service bulletins and service DVDs to nursing home facilities around town.  That will still be happening until we are able to get back inside and provide monthly services as we have done for years.

Besides expectations, I want to mention communication.  If you desire more communication from us, or need something from me as your pastor, please call me.  You are my work and you are never a bother.  I want to be bugged.  I will write that again in case you missed it.  I want to be bugged.

So give us a call at the church at 715-384-3535.  My email is revbelt18@gmail.com.

It is important to me to keep all of you in the loop.  Right now, the plan is to mail out letters and newsletters to all members once a month or as necessary whenever changes need to be communicated, especially with Covid.  This way all our members, even those who are not connected online, are able to stay informed.  Of course, our weekly Friday emails, Church App, and our Facebook and Youtube pages will still be updated with the same news as well.
 
As we transition, I am looking forward to working with the many terrific leaders we have in our congregation.  I have already set up meetings with various groups and ministries.  I am meeting with all our musicians to keep our worship life on the same page.  I will also be sitting down with our DCE Tammy, our Office Manager Dana, staff, and council leadership to get us going in the same direction concerning our life together in Christ.  I will also be calling upon the elders to do certain tasks that many are already chomping at the bits to do.

I am keeping our District President in the loop concerning steps we need to take and options we need to discuss.

Finally. Many of you, bless your hearts, have expressed to me that you are praying for me and my family.  Thank you.  I do covet those prayers and know that we pray for you as well.

At the same time, many more of you have also expressed to me this thought: “Just let me know how I can help.”

If you are serious about that statement, then know that I do have one thing that I need your help with.   Ready?

Be involved.

That is the best thing you can do to help me.  I need you in worship services where you get Christ’s goods.  I need you in Bible Class where so many faith forming discussions are had and relationships are made.  I need you to give to the mission of our congregation, whether that be your time, your money, your bodies, or your gifts. We already accomplish much and there is more that we can do.

There are several opportunities as a congregation coming up on the horizon.  We have challenges to wrestle with, risks to take, projects to undertake, prayers to lift up to God, blessings to be had, and a life to be lived together under the cross of our Lord.

I want and desire to do this together with all of you.  To do that I need your involvement. I need your minds, your hearts, and your hands.  I need your passion and for you to light a fire in your gut to see the world as Jesus Christ sees it and to give it all you got.  I promise you that I will do the same and guide us as best I can in that direction.

There are many discussions to be had in the months to come.  Some deal with what you will do with me.  Many of you have already told me your thoughts and I want to keep having these discussions as we go along.

If you wonder where I stand in my role here, then here it is:  This is what I am trained to do.  God has been preparing me my whole life for this, and I put all I have into what I do.

We have excellent leadership present in this congregation, and I am confident in what God has given to us as we move into the future.

But I am also not foolish enough to believe that it is any ability, experience, or leadership that makes a church thrive.  It is the full reliance on God to make a path for us coupled with the courage to step forward in faith to take that path.  Ultimately, it is God who is in charge and directing this church according to His Mission here in Marshfield.

My brothers and sisters in Christ.  I am your servant in the Lord, and that is how I see myself.  I wish only to attain Christ and to lead you all to Him as well.  That is my sole drive and purpose.
Please forgive the length of this letter.  But here is a thought to take comfort in as I close.  “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”

Those are words to stake your future in and the future of this congregation, no matter where our unchanging Lord takes us.  Jesus Christ has this all.  Not your pastors, not our budgets, not our leadership, council, or skills, and certainly not our institutions.  Rather, Jesus Christ has this all.  And more importantly, Jesus Christ has you.  Know that with confidence.  It is so certain, that you are baptized into it.  Amen.

In Christ our Triumphant Lord,
Pastor Andrew D. Belt
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