The Call Process

We at Mount Olive Lutheran Church are on a  faithful journey to find out next pastor.

Along the way, there are many steps we have to take: Some will require us to act. Some will require us to be patient. All will require us to listen and respond to God’s will for this congregation.

If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please reach out to any member of the Call Committee.

Check back for regular updates, meeting minutes, and actions steps.

Pastor Knutson Has Accepted the Call to Mount Olive!

Pastor Knutson called this morning to formally accept a call to serve as lead pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church. The Elders and Ministry Council will begin to discuss details of his transition from his current call to our church family. Please be aware that this process can take some time. If you have any questions, thoughts, or concerns, please reach out to your elder, a member of ministry council, or someone from the Call Committee. Thank you for your prayers and support during this time of transition!

Pastor Candidate Meet and Greet

The week of February 15-17, Pastor Knutson met with members of the Mount Olive Elders board, Ministry Council, Worship Team, and came to a fun Bunko & Banana Splits Night. People of the congregation were able to meet with Pastor Knutson and his wife, answer questions, and present him with the mission, vision, and ministry happening at Mount Olive.

We continue to pray for Pastor Knutson, his family, and God’s will for his ministry during this time of discernment.

Call Meeting – February 5, 2023

UPDATE – A call has been issued to our recommended pastor. At this time we are not publishing his name on the website/social media as a courtesy to his current call and congregation. The name and additional information is available in the church office and bulletin on Sunday mornings.

Please keep this pastor and his family in your prayers as he seeks to discern God’s will in ministry.

Join the Call Committee after service for a presentation by the Call Committee of our recommended candidate and a Congregational Vote to extend the call to one of our candidates.

PRIOR TO THIS MEETING:

  • READ the PIF/SET documents from the NW District (available in the office)
  • TALK to the Call Committee members if you have questions about candidates or want additional information from our interviews.
  • PRAY for our congregation, these pastors, and for the Holy Spirit to guide our decisions with wisdom and patience.
  • If you cannot attend our meeting on Feb 6, VOTE ABSENTEE by getting your ballot from Darcy in the Office. The ballot box is locked until the day of the Call Meeting. Once the box is open, we will not collect anymore ballots. So if you are voting absentee… get your ballot to the church office (mail or in person) on or before Feb 6!

New Call List and interviews – December 2022/January 2023

The Call Committee has received a new list of pastor candidates from our District President. This list of 8 names is a combination of previous candidates, new nominations, and new pastors selected by Pastor Linneman.

While the Call Committee interviews and researches each candidate, each member of the congregation is encouraged to read through their information as well, pray, discern, and discuss with the Call Committee any thoughts, concerns, questions, or insights they have into our process.

A Voter’s Meeting will be called as soon as the Call Committee is either ready to present their next recommendation, most likely in early February.

Voters Meeting, Sunday, November 6, 2022

The voters meeting was held directly after the service.

After a brief recap of the call process, the Call Committee came forward and laid out our options:

  1. Continue with the list we have, including pastors who have declined to be considered
  2. Remove those who have declined to be considered and consider only the remaining 3 pastors (who have previously been considered and/or interviewed)
  3. Request a new list from the NW District
  4. Open the list to nominations from the congregation

After some questions, clarifications, and statements from those in attendance, a motion was made and amended to request a new list (which may or may not include the names on our current list) and also open up the process to nominations from the congregation. This motion was passed with no opposition.

Members have until Sunday, November 20 to submit nominations to the Call Committee. These names will be submitted to the NW District for consideration. We inform the congregation once a new list has been presented to the congregation and call committee for consideration.

A full list of minutes and notes is available. Please contact Darcy C. or Tammy K.

Church Voters Meeting Next Sunday, November 6

Sunday, November 6 we will have a meeting for the church, moderated by the Call Committee.

On the agenda: The Call List

We would like the church to help us determine what our next steps should be in regards to the Call List Candidates. Should we proceed with the 7 remaining candidates? Should we remove the pastors who told us they would not consider a call at this time? Should we open up nominations to the congregation again? Should we request a new list from the NW District (knowing that some of these candidates will probably be on the Call List again)? Please stay after church next week and help us pray, discuss, and decide what direction we should take as a Call Committee and a church family.

Pastor Rutherford has turned down our call

Unfortunately, at this time, Pastor Rutherford will not take the call we presented to him. The Call Committee will continue to meet together with Pastor Griesse and determine our next steps.

A Call Has Been Issued

The Call Meeting was well attended by a majority of members. The congregation voted overwhelmingly in favor of issuing a call to the Call Committee’s recommended candidate. A formal Pastoral Call has been presented to the pastor and he is now discerning his next steps.

For the sake of privacy until the pastor can inform his congregation, we are not publishing his name to our website or social media. Please contact Darcy Closner in the office or our Ministry Council Secretary Tammy K for meeting minutes.

Call Meeting – October 2, 2022 Immediately Following Service

On this date, please meet us in the Fellowship Hall for a presentation by the Call Committee of our recommended candidate and a Congregational Vote to extend the call to one of our candidates.

PRIOR TO THIS MEETING:

  • READ the PIF/SET documents from the NW District (available in the office)
  • PRAY for our congregation, these pastors, and for the Holy Spirit to guide our decisions with wisdom and patience.
  • If you cannot attend our meeting on Oct 2, VOTE ABSENTEE by getting your ballot from Darcy in the Office. The ballot box is locked until the day of the Call Meeting. Once the box is open, we will not collect anymore ballots. So if you are voting absentee… get your ballot to the church office (mail or in person) on or before Oct 2!

We would also like you to know the lens through which we prayed, discussed, interviewed, and aligned each candidate. Using the 5 Vision Statements of Mt Olive (created through a multi-year process with input from our congregational survey, various groups & members, and leaders in our congregation) and the 10 Pastoral Attributes we identified at the start of our call process, we carefully considered each candidate’s responses and sought to identify the man who will continue the work God has laid out for us in the Yakima Valley.

Please also consider these things when reading and praying for our next pastor:

10 Attributes:

  • Preaching
  • People Skills
  • Teaching
  • Worship
  • Tact
  • Initiative
  • Discipler
  • Cooperation
  • Youth Ministry
  • Children’s Ministry

5 Vision Statements:

  1. Maintain and develop small groups for Bible Study and service.
  2. Education, spiritual development, and fellowship of our youth, kids, and families.
  3. Improve communication skills within our congregation and in our community through invitation, introductions, relationships, and testimony.
  4. Enhance, refine, and improve organization and coordination, especially within our leadership structure.
  5. Stewardship of our resources and gifts, especially towards local and broadly located missions and service.

Thank you for your prayers, patience, and faith through this process. God is at work in His people and will lead us to do His will in His time!

Week of September 5 – 9: Call Candidates Interviewed by Call Committee

August 21, 2022 – A List of Potential Candidates Has Been Received!

Call Committee Updates and Next Steps

We have a list of candidates! After reaching out to each of them, we have narrowed the list to 4 potential pastoral candidates. Here are the next steps for our Call Committee:

  1. August – Prayerfully read and study each SET provided by our pastor candidates
  2. Early September – By listening to the Holy Spirit, decide which candidate(s) will continue the call process. This could be all four or narrowed down to 2 or 3, in the coming weeks.
  3. Early September – Provide candidates with information about Mt Olive, including our Self Study, vision, and mission statements, to consider before we contact them directly.
  4. September – Interview each candidate. This is NOT a job interview. We will be asking clarifying questions about their ministry, pastoral practice, and vision to see if it aligns with the vision of Mt Olive and the needs of our larger community.
  5. Through patience, wisdom, and discernment, bring potential candidate(s) to the congregation of Mt Olive for discussion, prayer, and consideration. We may recommend one or more candidate(s). This is for the Spirit to decide through this process.

Information about each candidate is available in the church office. Please do not remove this information from the church building or make copies of it in any way. We need to respect this information and keep it confidential within our church family.

Also, please do not reach out to these pastors or their congregations. They are all serving in a call and it can be disruptive to their ministry or create tension in their current church family. The Call Committee is here and ready to discuss any questions, concerns, or information you have about candidates.

Pray without ceasing, Mt Olive! Our God is faithful. He has already selected a new pastor for our congregation. May His wisdom and patience guide us during a time of anxiousness and anticipation.

Your Call Committee,

Brian Rafferty – Committee Chair, Ministry Council

Mike Closner – Ministry Council

Diana Brown – Sunday School/Education

Pat Hunter – Preschool/Childcare

Mike Livingston – Elder

Colette Keeton – Fellowship

Becca Mailand – Digital Communication

Tim Wheeler – Elder

Cheri Zirkle – Outreach

August 14, 2022 – Call Committee Meeting

The Call Committee met briefly after church to review our process and prepare for the arrival of our packet of candidate information. We anticipate this information coming to us soon and we will be in close communication with the congregation as soon as we have more info to share.

May 2022 – Church Study Packet Has Been Submitted!

Our packet has been submitted. It includes our self-study, community demographics, our survey results, and any nominations the call committee received from the congregation. We will now wait for the NW District to send us a packet of potential candidates.

We will post another update once we have any news on the next steps of the process.

Week of May 15th

Meeting Notes: Brian Rafferty (Call Committee Chair), Mike Closner (Ministry Council President) and Mike Livingston (Head Elder) will finalize packet and submit everything to the NW District.

Next Steps: Now we wait for a list of potential pastoral candidates from the NW District. This could take several weeks or months. We pray for patience and faithfulness while we await a response from the Synod.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Meeting Notes: Call committee met to create a cover letter for our Congregational Packet. We wanted to briefly describe our congregation and summarize our packet for a prospective pastor.

Next Steps: Nominees are being gathered from congregation.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Meeting Notes: Call committee met briefly to discuss the results of the survey. We also reviewed with Pastor Griesse the steps of the call process and set a rough timeline for completing our packet and turning in information to the NW District. A letter will be emailed/mailed to the congregation with the results, a request for nominees, and a reminder about the steps of the call process. We will also host a short meeting after worship on Sunday, April 24th at 10:20 in the Fellowship Hall to go over these points.

Next Steps: Complete the self-study packet by May 8th and turn it into the NW District. After that, we wait for the NW District to provide us a list of names and biographies of pastors who fit our profile and are willing to take a call. It could take several weeks or months to receive this list.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Get your email address to Darcy Closner ASAP! We have a survey we’d like you to fill out. We’ll be at the Soup Supper on Wednesday with hard copies of the survey. Look for any one of your Call Committee members if you have questions or need help with the survey.

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Meeting Notes:

  • Reviewed Answers for Part 2 of the Congregational Self Survey: Our Community
  • Began answering two big questions: What is the working relationship between a pastor and the laity at Mt. Olive? How do we at Mt. Olive define our congregation overall: Thriving, Treading Water, or Legacy? These questions will be fully answered after survey results are compiled.
  • Reviewed/Edited a Congregational Survey to be completed by Mt. Olive attendees
  • Set a timeline for getting surveys to the congregation, inputting data, and getting data compiled in order to complete the Congregational Self Survey

Next Steps:

  • March 13-Collect accurate emails from as many congregants as possible; urge congregation to submit names of pastors they would like to be considered for a call
  • March 14 through 27 (including Wednesdays) – email surveys/pass out hard copies and begin collecting data or inputting survey results from hard copies.

Next Meeting: TBD, After survey is completed we will set a date in early April to complete the Congregational Self-Survey.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Meeting Notes:

  • Began reviewing the Congregational Demographic Data compiled by Darcy Closner and Brian Rafferty for the Congregational Self-Study. This includes things like attendance, changes in membership, and a brief description of our leadership structure. Once data is finalized, it will be available to the congregation to view.
  • Identified questions that will need to be on the Congregational Survey

Next Steps: Create a survey for the congregation, using documents from the NW District and other area congregations. Review the work done on the Congregational Survey so far and bring any additional information to add.

Next Meeting: Sunday, March 6, 2022 @ 11:15am

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Call Committee (L-R): Mike L, Colette, Tim, Mike C, Becca, Brian, Diana, Cheri

Meet your Committee Members and ministries they represent:

  • Diana Brown – Sunday School/Education
  • Mike Closner – Ministry Council
  • Pat Hunter – Preschool/Childcare
  • Mike Livingston – Elder
  • Colette Keeton – Fellowship
  • Becca Mailand – Digital Communication
  • Brian Rafferty – Committee Chair, Ministry Council
  • Tim Wheeler – Elder
  • Cheri Zirkle – Outreach

Meeting Notes:

  • Reviewed the call process and passed out Congregational Study Packet
  • Discussed prior Vision Survey from 2021 and how that may help complete portions of the Study Packet
  • Mike C, Brian R, and Darcy Closner will compile as much demographic info as possible before our next meeting to narrow down the scope of the Congregational Survey

Next Steps: Review all information from the NW District and begin to prepare a survey for the congregation based on the Congregational Study Packet

Next Meeting: Sunday, February 27, 2022 @ 7:30am

 

 

Nominate a Pastor for Consideration

LC-MS/NW District Call Process Documents

Click HERE to review the “Guidelines for Assisting a Vacant Congregation”

Click HERE to review the “Call Process Checklist”