Showing posts from January, 2021

Is God Calling You

  Are you on a personal spiritual journey? Are you feeling a call to leadership in the church? Do you want to help to invite others into considering a call to ministry? Lutherans believe God’s call to ministry comes from both an internal call (inside us) and an external call (from people around us). Besides the need for people to serve as pastors, deacons, and parish ministry associates, there is also a need for spiritual directors, lay leaders, and people to extend external calls to those who may or may not have been considering serving the church in these ways.  Lisa Kramme, Director for Faith Formation at the Nebraska Synod is a certified spiritual director through the synod’s Seeking the Spirit Within program and shared a bit about her experience.  “I’d been meeting with a spiritual director for two to three years. As I drove home from a session, I remember thinking- this being a spiritual director might be something I could do! I immediately thought that while I might be sensing a

Spotlight- Accepting the Call

Originally from Coleridge, Neb., Rev. Amanda Day Hefner attended and graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University and the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC). Rev. Hefner is fluent in Spanish and specializes in bilingual ministry development. She has been active in ministry, education, and activism with immigrants and refugees in Nebraska, Illinois, New Mexico, and Texas.  If you stop by St. John’s in Schuyler, you will easily get to know their friendly and welcoming new pastor. She is happy to share her call story and what exciting new things they are working on in their congregation. But for those who don’t have the opportunity to visit with Rev. Hefner, here is a small sample of her story.  Growing up in a more conservative community and experiencing the loss of her mother at an early age, Rev. Hefner had never thought about going into church leadership. Though she had always enjoyed attending and singing in church, her first real connection with it came from her participat

God's Call

 By Jacob Krueger, ELCA Seminarian Wartburg Theological Seminary This month’s blog posts are focusing on Where is God Calling You? A couple of weeks ago, Bishop Maas wrote about the visionary aspect of this question and what might the church look like in the future. I’m curious what this question means for lay people in the church who are discerning or pondering God’s call to love and serve their neighbor by becoming a Pastor, Deacon, or Parish Ministry Associate (PMA). In 2013, over fourteen students from the campus ministries in Nebraska joined together at a restaurant in Lincoln, NE. The major topic that day was about discernment, call, and vocation. While we gathered for fellowship and food, Bishop Maas asked a question for the group to discuss. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but it went something like this, “In spite of what are you discerning God’s call?” This question got right at the heart of the many reasons people to this day don’t answer God’s call to work in and for


 By  Deacon Sunni Richardson, Director for Leadership Development RESILIENCE!  Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. For Matt Bloom of the University of Notre Dame, resilience shows up in both the capacity to respond to challenges and the capacity to grow and learn from those challenges at the same time. Resilience requires both strength and flexibility.  First, a big round of applause to all of the congregations who quickly exercised flexibility. We need a photo gallery on the Synod web page with showing worship leaders with smart phones balanced on hymnals, cardboard boxes crafted in to recording studios and teen tutors with pastors, deacons, and PMAs learning to use new apps. Bravo!  But … I have to ask, have we been adaptive? I know we adapted. Online worship was new for the majority of our Nebraska Synod congregations. It was a steep learning curve for many. The learning, however, was technical. Learning how to record worship, downloading video to the we

Where Is God Calling You?

 By Bishop Brian Maas This month’s theme will be read by some as an invitation to reflection on vocation—‘what is God calling you to become?’—while others will read an invitation to visioning—‘what future is God calling you to enter?’ While I have no particular faculty for seeing the future, it’s that latter reading I’m responding to. God is calling me into 2021; into an immediate future I pray is an improvement over the immediate past. But that’s nothing unique—God is calling all of us into 2021; or at least the calendar is dragging us there. My sense is that God is calling me, and those of us who are willing to follow, into something far more intense than just a new year. God is calling me, calling us, into the future of the church—the future of God’s church. This is a daunting calling, that fills me with abundant trepidation. But also more than a little bit of excitement. God is calling us to share a future as God’s “mouth-house,” as Luther called the church; as the body gifted with