Pastor's Corner‎ > ‎

Pastor's Corner - August 2018

posted Aug 31, 2018, 12:41 PM by Linda Dickinson

Dear Elmwood Family and Friends,

Thus says the LORD - “Behold, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs forth; do you not perceive it?”
Isaiah 43:16&19.

I wrote in the January 2018 newsletter:  “Dear friends, we are going to need God’s hope and God’s courage this year.  Change is always happening, but this year life will likely push us to our limits on how much change we can handle.”

Sherrie Lange shared with you in a Church Council Update in the March newsletter about a recent meeting with Pastor Dan Moose, the EFCA North Central District’s Church Catalyst.  The Elmwood Church Council has continued to fervently pray about and intensely discuss Elmwood’s future.

This month I want to share another update about where we are at in all of this.  You may recall that in Sherrie’s report there were seven options listed regarding the future of Elmwood.  Number seven on the list was:  “The ‘not yet revealed’ God option.”  By an amazing series of events it has come about that the “God Option” has appeared.  Through the steady voice of counsel from Pastor Dan Moose and Pastor Andrew Peterson, Lead Pastor at Park Community Church, the offer was made for Park Community Church to partner with Elmwood in a “Church Marriage” and send to Elmwood a number of their members, including Matt Frey, a recent Bethel Seminary graduate, to assist in the revitalization of Elmwood Evangelical Free Church.  This is amazing news, but there is more!  Not only has God put it on the heart of the Park congregation to send people to us, but the LORD has also put it on the heart of Centennial Evangelical Free Church near Forest Lake to also send a group of their people, along with their associate pastor John Stromberg, to join with us and the group from Park in revitalizing our congregation.  In numbers, this may mean 35-40 new members coming to be with our aging body.  If adopted by the Elmwood congregation this would mean that once again Elmwood would become multi-generational and have the potential of being a vital force for the Gospel in St. Anthony Village and beyond.

Pastor Dan Moose, Pastor Andrew Peterson, Pastor John Stromberg, Intern Pastor Matt Frey, Michael Ashworth, and I met together in early July and formatted a document that outlines the steps needed to accomplish this incredible undertaking.  First, the elder boards of Park Community Church and Centennial Ev. Free Church have both endorsed and approved this document.  Then the Elmwood Church Council voted unanimously on Thursday night, July 19, to accept the “Next Steps” document and recommend to the congregation the adoption of this plan. (See “NEXT STEPS…” on page 2).

What does all this mean?   Change and revitalization is upon us!   On Sunday, August 12, I will be sharing more about this amazing opportunity.  Then Pastor Dan Moose will be coming to Elmwood the following Sunday, August 19, to speak to our congregation about the revitalization plan.  He will present to the congregation in depth the amazing idea for bringing together the remaining members of Elmwood with the groups from Park and Centennial.  Pastor Dan will discuss the challenges, the financial aspects, the legal/constitutional requirements, the future pastoral oversight, and much more; all necessary to accomplish this God-sized endeavor.  If the revitalization plan is ratified by a vote by the Elmwood congregation at a future congregational meeting, and the pastoral call process is carried out, then these three groups would formally join together to become a new Elmwood congregation.

I personally am overwhelmed by the goodness and love of God to bring this plan of new life for our dear congregation.  Someone once said, “The future is as bright as the promises of God”.  He is the One who has declared that He is doing a new thing! Friends, we are living in the midst of a miracle!  Let us be brave and move forward for the glory and honor of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Together with you, all for Him,

Pastor Fred