At our last Board of Directors meeting, we noted several wonderful ministries happening in our district and ratified several others.
We rejoice in the birth of a new congregation in Omaha. GraceHill is our newest sister congregation. Divine Shepherd was the sponsoring congregation. The congregation was welcomed and Pastor Justin Bell was installed on January 22. One of the wonderful things I learned on that day was that the congregation and its members have an expectation for one another that each family will invite at least one other family each year.
We also re-appointed three current reconcilers (Ron Benson, Blenda Keylon, Ted Tietjen) and appointed Doug Gaunt to serve our district. As the Body of Christ, we have been given the authority and responsibility to confess and absolve sin. Sadly, in our sinful nature we are given to withhold both, and escalating conflict comes when we lack either. I hope to utilize our reconcilers more than I have in the first half of my term to help coach workers and laity in identifying the idols that lead to conflict and the power of God’s Word to bring contrition, faith, and forgiveness into our daily work with one another.
We are also moving forward on a staff person to prioritize church worker health. Mark Rockenbach left that position several years ago when he took a call to serve our St. Louis Seminary. Our first step along this path is to contract part-time with Pastor Justin Hannemann and GracePoint to serve the workers of our district. There are several more steps along that path, but I’m excited to get this vital ministry back into motion.
Finally, a quick report on visitation: I am well on the way to completing my yearly visit to the each of the 23 circuit pastors’ monthly meetings. I am also making 2-3 visits each month to congregations on Sunday mornings. My normal practice is to join the congregation in Sunday morning worship, then lead the Bible class hour in a time of devotion, listening to joys and challenges, and sharing the mission work of our district and Synod. I then I take the pastor and his family out to eat so we can visit privately. These visits seem to be well received and are helpful in building relationships, strengthening trust, and growing partnerships as we work and walk together as Synod.
In His Service,
Rev. Richard Snow
Nebraska District President