by Barb Mazarakos
Here at Christ Lutheran, we have been blessed throughout the years with wonderful Pastors who tend to the needs of our congregation at all hours of the day, every day of the year. From visiting shut-ins and those in the hospital to overseeing committee needs and running various classes and groups, not to mention the vastly important job of leading our worship services each week, to say their plates have been full is probably a gross understatement. But have you ever thought about just who is looking after the well-being of the pastor and his family while he is busy looking out for us?
That job, along with so many more, belongs to our Elders. LCMS.org/FAQS describes Elders as a “position of lay service concerned with temporal and administrative affairs of the congregation.” Our team of ten elders, led by Dennis Smith, not only assist with services, but work with the Pastors to support their spiritual and family needs, make general congregational visits that do not overstep the bounds of our Pastors’ called ministry, make visits to members of the congregation when needed, and lead the rest of us by example with their involvement in both worship and study habits.
In addition to Mr. Smith (an Elder for almost 30 years), the team includes Richard Brott, Bob Hubbard, Kurt Karlson, Linda Koehne, Alan Morris, Vince Oliva, Rick Peterson, Dan Schickel, and Les Stark. When asked about her 10 years of service as an Elder, Linda remains humbled at being asked to serve in this capacity in the first place, as the practice of female elders is not a common one within the LCMS. She feels that the Holy Spirit worked within those who first asked her to take the role, as well as within her to serve the purpose she has been set forth to do here at Christ Lutheran. It is moments like the first time a member of the congregation thanked her for addressing them by name during communion (a practice she picked up from a Pastor and some who had served as Elders before her that made the experience more personal) that she finds most fulfilling as she continues on this journey.
A growing church requires many stewards to tend to the flock. This dedicated group of men and women may just be 10 in number, but the need for them (and for you!) to work as part of the bigger picture of our church family is immeasurable. We are thankful that they have followed this call into ministry to help keep our church growing, worshiping, and thriving as it has been built to do.