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Spotlight- Parish Ministry Associates

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  “The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” (2 Corinthians 9:6) Do you know someone who has gifts for ministry? Is there someone in your congregation or community who is currently discerning a call? Lutherans believe God’s call to ministry comes from both an internal call (inside us) and an external call (from people around us).   Currently there are over 1,000 more open calls for full-time pastors in the ELCA than there are pastors to fill those calls?   There is a need for people to serve as pastors, deacons, and parish ministry associates. There is also a need for people to extend external calls to those who may or may not have been considering serving the church in these ways.  Most of us are familiar with pastors, and some of us are familiar with deacons, but what about parish ministry associates (pmas)? PMAs are typically local individuals who have another form of employment besides minis

Privileged to Serve

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 By Jacquelyn Samway, PMA Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also.                                                                                        John 12:26 Just this month I was informed that I have hit another milestone in being a PMA for the Nebraska Synod.  It will be my Twenty-Year Anniversary.  Suddenly my mind went back to where it all began. Our small Lutheran church had a wonderful pastor as an interim for several years.  He told me about the PMA program and said that he thought I would be interested.  On his recommendation I began classes to become a PMA.  I was not sure why, but I followed the advice of a Pastor whom I revered.  For three years I had three wonderful pastors as instructors, over fifteen fellow students to learn from, and a new friend whom I shared ministry with. Before I was certified as a PMA, our interim left and my church was without a pastor.  I was asked to preside at my home church.  Shortly after that I w

We’re sending in a PMA…

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By Rev. Steve Meysing, Assistant to the Bishop & PMA Program Director PMA Sunday will be celebrated on Sunday, April 25, 2021, the feast of St. Mark, Evangelist, and Good Shepherd Sunday. Worship resources, sermon videos, and manuscripts by PMAs are available at this link. “Pastor Bob is retiring the day after Christmas. We’re sending in a PMA and you’re supervising her,” said the assistant to the bishop on the other end of the phone call. This was about two weeks into my new call in a new synod. “What’s a PMA and how do I supervise one?” I asked. “You have two PMAs in your congregation, Lyle and Pat. They’ll fill you in. And I’ll email you the PMA handbook.” That was my introduction to the Parish Ministry Associate program of our Nebraska Synod. Now I can’t imagine being Nebraska Synod without PMAs! When a congregation needs a part-time minister, your pastor needs a theologically-trained partner to care for a congregation and community, or you need pulpit supply or visitation whil

But those who hope in the Lord...

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By Patrick A. Gregory, Parish Ministry Associate (PMA), Spiritual Director, & Co-facilitator of Drinking from the Well 31 But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  --Isaiah 40:31 (NIV) As persons of faith, we depend on God as our source of hope and strength.  However, even the strongest people get tired at times, but God’s power and strength never diminish.  God is never too tired or too busy to help and listen.  When you feel all of life crushing you and you cannot go another step, remember that you can call upon God to renew your strength.  Hope in the Lord means expecting that God’s promise of strength will help us to rise above life’s distractions and difficulties.  It also means trusting God to fulfill this promise found in his Word.  There is always hope. Just like many people, you probably have a toolbox full of various tools to make home repairs.  Just like a home repair toolbox, you can build a spiritual toolbox of resources to answer God’s invitation for

What does it mean to hope in the Lord

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 By Sr Anne Hall, Nebraska Synod Council I am sure many of us have a story to describe our experiences of the last year.  We watched the long lines for food on the evening news and the despair that many people have felt losing their jobs and sometimes their homes.  The elderly felt the isolation from friends and family and children struggled to keep up with their school work. Many years ago, my husband and I served a congregation in Texas that was deep in conflict. It was during the time when the ELCA was discerning the vote for the Ordination of LGBTQ individuals.  We had been searching for new calls for two years with no success. Finally, we decided to resign without calls for the sake of our family.  We were given three months of severance pay and the search for calls continued.  He had a few interviews and no word came by New Year’s Eve when our last check arrived.  Our families helped us out financially and asked why we didn't find another career.  We knew in our hearts that G

Isaiah 40:31

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 By Rev. Ron Youngerman, Bishop's Associate For The Panhandle “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.”  --  Isaiah 40:31 The phone rang. Our deputy sheriff said, Pastor, I need you to come with me. Something terrible has happened. On their way home from a baseball game, two of our local high school boys had been killed in a head on collision on a hilly Nebraska country road. And we were on our way to break the news to their families. On the way to break the news to their families, the deputy said, Pastor, can you do the talking. I’m not good at this sort of thing. As we pulled into the driveway, we saw both moms on the front porch. Once we got out of the car, they both knew. Why else would a deputy, and your Pastor, come to your home together? Their hands went to their mouths and both sobbed, No, No, No! I took their hands and uttered the terrible news of the boys' deaths. Also on the porch was grandpa, smelling of booze. He poked his finger in my chest. Well

Hope in the Lord

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 By Bishop Brian Maas But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. (Isa 40:31 NIV) I don’t know about you, but I could use some renewed strength right about now. This month marks the one-year anniversary of the first of the pandemic lockdowns. Do you remember the panic-buying of groceries and toilet paper? The apocalyptic predictions regarding our infrastructure and our economy? How we first thought it would only be for a couple of weeks? Even though the intensity of the pandemic’s consequences hasn’t been as severe as many first thought, the sheer, seemingly endless duration of it has more than made up the difference. Like everybody else, I’m ready for this to be done. I’m ready to be out and about, and with people, and maskless again. This has gone on long enough! Yet it’s not done; we have a way to go. It’s awful, isn’t it?  Still, let’s be honest. Every generation thinks it’s special; that our suffering is nearly incomparable. But others have had it worse. Take God’s p