Reflection on 2010 – My Annual report for Tree of Life
Tree of Life Lutheran Church
Annual Report of the Pastor
For the Year of 2010
Making sense of the 2010 year is a difficult thing to do. The challenges and successes were off the charts in terms of their effects on this church. The events of 2009 started what I would now call a full blown church split which resulted in the loss of ministry, staff, staffing hours and created some challenging financial stumbling blocks for Tree of Life. We are not alone in our struggles as the church wide ministry at both the regional level and national have had to cut staffing and walk away from ministry as it no longer had the ability to perform. In spite of all that has happened within our own congregation and the greater church, we still managed to come together and make amazing things happen. Last year I shared with you that there were three things I wanted to accomplish to help Tree of Life grow. I am pleased to share with you the results of those goals and where they stand now. Let me also add that many people help make these goals come together and people I am mentioning were the point folks for seeing each one through.
The first was using name tags as a way of making ourselves more inviting to visitors. Thanks to Larry Klotz this goal is completed and there is real hope for future growth with this simple but important ministry. The second goal was our website and the need to completely rework it for 2010. I would like to thank Pam Wiggins and my mother Susan Lake for helping get the site revamped and with a great new look. The last item I wanted to complete was some sort of online directory which, unfortunately, ran into some complications and we ended abandoning the first idea and going in a new direction. The good news is the online directory has been tested and is on track to be fully implemented for 2011.
In light of not making all my goals for 2010 I would like to mention that there were two more important ministries that took place that changed the atmosphere and look of Tree of Life. The fourth project that came to surface this year was the projection system, which turned out to be an amazing success. I would like to thank Butch Nye for the incredible shelves he built that support our projectors. I also need to say thanks to Jeremy Brown for helping bring completion to the project.
The fifth and last project that I give thanks to God for is Forty Days of Love. Never has a church needed small groups and Bible study so badly, and thanks to Shirley Finke we experienced something new and amazing in our spiritual walks here at Tree of Life. It is amazing to think how far we have come in one year with the spiritual and physical growth of our congregation. God has blessed us and I hope you can see that as well.
We did have to have one staff replacement this year when we lost Craig Stephan who was our part time organist and music director. This, of course, was of great concern to me and many others as we did not have the budgetary resources to continue the music ministry as we had known it. It was Pastor Darst over at Grace Lutheran who offered us John Burkwall’s name. John walked into Tree of Life and made this his home and for the first time in many years created a bond between us and Grace which I am truly thankful for as we could not have rebuilt our music ministry without their cooperation or John’s desire to serve. Again we have been blessed by the Grace of God this year.
This is of course only a fraction of what went on this year and I could spend countless pages giving details to things that I hope you will read in other reports. The bottom line is for a congregation that suffered significant slashes in people and finances, we accomplished an amazing amount of ministry and I give thanks to God for all of you who help make that happen.
Let me conclude with what my plans are for Tree of Life in 2011 and what I hope to accomplish. There are three things I want to accomplish with the first goal being administration. Simply put I want us to become more organized here at Tree of Life in everything we do from the car seat program to worship. This is as much a personal goal as it is a professional one and I am going to need help to make this happen. The second goal is to see the completion of the church directory, which is going to be key to our ability to learn more about each other. Last and in some ways most important we need to grow our membership here at Tree of Life. We had 38 new members last year. My goal is to shoot for 50 in 2011, which again will require a group effort and I suspect better organization here to make this happen. Tree of Life has all the physical infrastructure it needs to grow, we simply need to build on what we started so that we can be the church God has called us to be. My prayers is reflected best in Proverbs 16:3 “Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established.”