From the Pastor

August brings a lot of change in our congregation.

Joy Chaffin, our wonderful Office Manager, is retiring on Aug. 1. Joy has been on staff three years and brings a sense of calm to almost any situation. She’s always spinning fifty different plates in the air, but you would never know it. We send her with God’s peace and blessings as she joins her husband — who has been waiting patiently on her — in retirement. She can’t wait to have more time to garden. We are thankful for the time and energy she has planted here.

Deborah Cross. We welcome Deborah Cross to our staff as the new Office Manager. She has been training with Joy for the last couple of weeks. It is obvious that she will fit in with our staff just fine! Stop by the office and introduce yourself to her as a welcome.

Kai Thurow, our Youth Minister extraordinare, will transition to a youth and family position at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Mount Holly. He has dedicated the last three years to the children, youth, and families in this congregation. Kai always has a funny joke or game to play. He is passionate about empowering youth and helping them feel welcome. We know God has amazing things planned for Kai as he takes this next step in ministry. We thank Lauren, Kai, and Kaden for the opportunity to know and love them.

What’s next? You might be asking, “What’s next for youth ministry at St. John’s?” Good question! Kai was gracious enough to be upfront and honest during his discernment process. This gave Pastor Rhodes and I some much-needed time to think through and assess our staffing structure. We affirmed how important a dynamic youth ministry program is for our church and community and knew that we wanted to provide our youth with the best possible opportunity to continue this lifelong journey as disciples of Christ.

Which, I guess, is where I come in. When I felt the call to ministry, I felt a call to teenagers. In each of my two former calls, youth has been an important part of my job description and always brought me great joy. I have missed being involved with youth in that capacity.

When Pastor Rhodes and I talked about that passion, we thought, “What a perfect opportunity to match passion and call.”

And so we began to envision a new job description — for me, of course, but also for someone to take over my responsibilities in adult discipleship and new members. After working through the details, we presented the proposal to the Personnel Committee and Council and, well, there you have it. At the July meeting of Council, I was approved to be the new Pastor of Youth and Discipleship, beginning early August. While my primary responsibility will be in youth ministry, I will remain a pastor of the church, which will include preaching, etc. I also will still supervise our discipleship staff (children’s minister and the new adult ministry leader), which will invite a wonderful sense of collaboration between the three of us. I’m really looking forward to that dynamic.

With this shift, we will be looking for a Minister of Adult Discipleship. A job description has been developed, but we have not yet posted that position. More information to come.

As always, I trust that God is with us every step of the way, helping us to align our passions with the ministry and mission that Jesus lays before us!

This is an exciting time for our congregation. I’m so excited to be a part of this ministry!

Grace and Love,
Pastor Laura Henrik


Council Approves Changes in Youth Ministry and Adult Discipleship

At its July meeting, Council approved changing Pastor Laura Henrik’s position title to Pastor for Youth and Discipleship and to create a new part-time position in adult discipleship. Changes to Pastor Laura’s job description are discussed in her letter (above). The new position will be responsible for adult formation, small group ministry, and new member engagement. The new position will be advertised in early August with an anticipated start date in early Fall.