June 24, 2020
Dear Sister or Brother in Christ,
Let’s continue to pray that our church will be the church that God wants us to be. And let’s keep asking for vision and direction to become the church that God wants us to become as we approach the year 2024, our 100-year anniversary. Change is hard but pray that we will embrace any changes that we need to embrace. At the same time, pray for discernment to know which things to leave the same and which things to not change just for the sake of change.
Please pray for our upcoming building reopening this Sunday, June 28. We have never done anything like this before. After 15 consecutive Sundays of having the building closed on Sunday mornings, we will reopen. We don’t really know what to expect. We are doing our best to prepare. Please pray for a smooth reopening. May it be a time of genuine celebration and God-honoring worship. Pray that each person will adjust to the many changes and modifications in the building and in the service structure. Pray for our staff and volunteers who will be serving. Pray that we’ll have energy and wisdom to navigate all of the changes and confusion, and the many questions that people may have.
Please pray that we will be able to reopen safely and effectively. Pray for unity of spirit even though each of us may have differing opinions about COVID-19, wearing facemasks, and so on. Pray that we will love one another deeply from the heart (1 Peter 1:22). Pray that we will bear with one another’s weaknesses. May our knowledge not puff us up, but may love build us up (1 Corinthians 8:1b). Pray that we will respectfully and lovingly put the needs of others before ourselves (1 Corinthians 12:25). Pray that we will respect the decision of our Elder Board and the recommendations they approved from the Reopening Strategy Task Force (Hebrews 13:17 and 1 Thessalonians 5:11-14).
Please pray for our staff as we press on together in leading various ministries within the church. Please pray for me, Pastor Jerry, as I lead our staff, prepare sermons, oversee the worship services, and collaborate with Brothers and Sisters in Christ to provide care and counseling for those in need. Pray for Pastor Eric as he oversees adult discipleship and helps with lots of things like our website and social media, Reopening Strategy Task Force, service planning, Zoom studies, and more. Also pray for his sermon preparation for July 12. Pray for Pastor Albin as he leads our youth and young adult ministries. Pray for summer youth group outdoors on Sunday and Wednesday nights. Please pray for the student ministry “Challenge online” event coming up in July.
Please pray for Gerri Thorsgard and Mandi Buchan as they lead our ministry to children and families. Pray they will find creative ways to effectively disciple children during the challenges of COVID-19. Pray also for Gerri’s husband, Eric, as he continues to battle cancer. Pray for Justine Guderian and Ashley Joren, as they serve in our nursery ministry. Pray for Ron Bodenheimer as he cleans and paints and improves our facilities in preparation for our reopening. Pray for his work indoors and outdoors. Pray for Jerome Decker and Kandi Paddock as they oversee our church finances. Pray for Kay Sue Eriksson as our Visitation Caregiver. Pray that she will find effective ways to encourage those who find it difficult to get out and about. Pray for wisdom and direction in ministering during this time of shutdowns and closed care facilities.
Please pray for our new Office Manager, Kate Toriseva, as she adjusts to her new role here. Pray for her to learn quickly and to be effective in her important role at our front desk. Pray for our new part-time 10:45 Music Director, Matt Graf. Pray that he will get to know each person on our worship teams. Pray for insight into how to encourage and coach them in their music ministry at our contemporary service. Please also pray for his wife, Amy, and their 6 children as they adjust to our church and become part of our church family. Pray for Steven Miller, our Audio/Visual Supervisor. Pray that he will have the energy and grit that he needs to endure the challenges of continuing to livestream our services as well as preparing to reopen our Sanctuary and launch our new overflow spaces in the Fellowship Hall and Youth Room. Pray that he will have the volunteer help and technological resources that he needs.
Pray also for our many ministry teams, committees, and church boards. Praise God for so many who are serving in these volunteer roles. Pray that they will have insight and diligence to lead us toward spiritual growth and godliness. Pray for our Nominating Committee as they begin to think through our leadership needs for 2021. Ask God to help us find the right men and women to serve and minister in the days to come. May our local church be strong in faith, fully funded, and fully resourced with gifted people to lead our church in the days ahead (2 Timothy 2:2).
Please pray for our Global Partners who are continuing to face unprecedented challenges in the various places and cultures in which they serve. Let’s be faithful to pray through our Global Partner flipbooks. Pray for ministry in “closed” countries. May the gospel transform lives. May Jesus’ name be on the lips and in the hearts of all peoples. Pray for our adopted people group and those who serve alongside them. Pray for our mobilizers who recruit, train, and send out more new global partners day after day. Pray for those ministering to families, married couples, and singles. Pray for those serving the needs of children in various villages. Pray against human trafficking and pray for alternative income sources for those trying to escape the sex trade. May God’s people be diligent, creative, and bold in the dark corners of this world (Colossians 1:13).
Pray for our Global Partners serving with Native American ministries. Pray for God-honoring partnerships between Anglos and Natives. Pray for effectiveness all across the continent but also in our surrounding reservations (White Earth, Red Lake, and Leech Lake). Pray also for racial tensions in general. Pray that God’s people, whatever color we may be, will learn to love and serve one another. Pray that we will be genuinely empathetic to those who have been downtrodden, overlooked, and mistreated. May we sincerely care about the issues in the Bemidji area but also in our surrounding state, nation, and world.
Pray for our summer camp ministries, specifically Camp Oak Hills, Deeper Life, and Camp Shamineau as they make the most of a summer with no or very limited numbers of campers and staff. May their funding needs be met, may their facilities be improved, and may their staffs be trained and invested in during this relatively quiet summer. Pray also for the ministry of Eagle Lake Camps in Colorado.
Pray for those involved in the ministry of Bible translation. May God’s Word be opened up more and more in the mother tongue of all peoples. May it be powerful and effective to bring the grace and truth of Jesus to the doorstep of every heart. Pray for jail and prison ministries within our church, specifically at the Beltrami County Jail but also in other places of incarceration. Pray for ministries to troubled youth and families. May those who are struggling the most get the resources and advocates that they need to live godly and productive lives. Pray for our ministry to those who are struggling with same-sex attraction. Please also keep in prayer our Global Partners who are changing over to new roles. May they have discernment to know where and when to go as God directs them.
There is much to pray for. But let’s also praise God that He is mighty and loving and concerned about us! Praise Him for His sovereign control and watch care in these wild and crazy times. May He be glorified as we become fully devoted followers of Jesus together. Brothers and Sisters in Christ, thank you for your faithful prayers!
Together in Christ, Pastor Jerry
Becoming fully devoted followers of Jesus together