By Justin Rossow
Here at the St. Luke site, we have an opportunity to affirm some of our lay leaders over the next couple of weeks. Through prayer and conversation, these servants have been chosen to help lead our mission and ministry forward.
You will know many of them; some may be new faces. But all have a heart for knowing and following Jesus, and helping other do the same.
In this election cycle, we have two new Elders up for affirmation and several who will be returning to service. Elders serve the congregation through prayer as well as representing the people of the congregation to the pastor and the pastor to the people of the congregation.
As pastor and site leader here at St. Luke, I deeply value the faith and the insight of these men. They help me make decisions. They help me think through what our kingdom work needs next. They help me grow in my faith.
The Elders and I have also talked about how a congregation will not grow in faith and faithfulness unless the leadership of the congregation is committed to personal growth. These men are committed to knowing and following Jesus better and better, and I am grateful for their service and their partnership. It is a joy to serve alongside these servant leaders!
A congregation will not grow in faith and faithfulness unless the leadership of the congregation is committed to personal growth.
As part of our collaboration in the multisite, we also have a chance to send representatives to our multi-site Spiritual Leadership Council (SLC). This election cycle, we have one member of our Site Advisory Team (SAT) to affirm for service on the SLC.
While the Elders are tasked primarily with spiritual leadership, the SATs of each site along with the SLC at the multisite level seek to coordinate and implement our ministry plans. These are also leaders, but leaders who spend more time on the business side of our congregation.
Of course, every conversation at the SAT or SLC is covered in prayer, and even our most mundane duty is carried out the glory of God and the benefit of His kingdom work. But these leaders are especially focused on the nuts and bolts of getting stuff done on a daily, weekly basis.
All of our leaders, from the Elders, to the SAT, to the SLC all serve our congregation by helping discern the direction God is leading us and doing everything we can to help us get there. Please find a way to thank these leaders, offer them your support, keep them in your prayers, and consider how God would use you also in the work He is accomplishing at St. Luke!
Below you can read more about the leaders we will be affirming over the next two Sundays. If you are a member, please make sure you sign in as you cast your vote.
Cliff Delnay Elder candidate
Cliff and his wife Nancy are parents to Josiah, Aaron, Elizabeth and Benjamin, ages 17-23. He has been a member of St. Luke for more than 28 years and has served in young adult ministry, youth ministry (transportation, cooking, table leader, In His Service), making occasional repairs around the church building, communion, reading, cooking, and chancel. He also works with Friends In Deed (picking up and delivering furniture) and is a nurse volunteer at Hope Medical Clinic.
With regard to his relationship with God, he comments:
“Prayer and conversation are ongoing. Listening to the Bible on tape (yes, tape) and reading the Bible are always revealing new insights. Plus, I feel, knowing the truth is invaluable. Praying for people and situations as God presents them seems to be a big part of my daily routine these days, especially for people’s salvation.
Ongoing learning in situations, success, failure, correction, and interactions helps me to be more Christ-like in my interactions with people. Personal worship brings encouragement and reassurance. Looking for ways to help others in practical ways to make their lives better, I believe, utilizes the gifts God gave me. Tithing has shown me how God gives beyond what we expect and how much He blesses us so we can bless others.”
He says the following of his gifts and calling:
“I believe I serve best by helping/serving others in practical sorts of ways such as transportation, set up/clean up, cooking, yard/garden work, and fixing things. I feel I’m probably a better support person, rather than someone with the gift to lead.”
Austin Thomason Elder candidate
Austin Thomason has been attending St. Luke for 18 years and has been a member for 15. He has served St. Luke in music ministry (youth band and Sunday worship team), Common Cup planning, Connection Cafe, mission trips (Mexico and Virginia), call committee (Rossow), call committee (current), sign committee, future planning committee, and in various photo-related services. In addition, he has served on mission trips in Australia, Egypt and Uganda. He normally attends both SLAA and ULC.
He describes his relationship with God in the following words:
“My confirmation passage was Matthew 6:25-34. In my Bible, the section is titled ‘The Cure for Anxiety:’ It has always held a special meaning to me. Especially when I’m not perfect in remembering it, God is perfect in constantly reminding me of it.
Through family distress, illness, financial troubles, and job woes, God has used it to carry me. It’s not just reserved for use in crisis, either — God reminds me of it when things are going well. Years after confirmation, those verses still sit on the forefront of my mind and form almost a mantra for how I live my life.”
In relating his gifts and calling he’s says:
“My personality tends to be pretty bubbly. It’s hard to get me too flustered or angry, and I tend to keep my cool in situations where it would be easy to blow my top. I try to view things in a very rational manner, which goes against what you would expect from an artistic, musically proficient, young guy like me.
My preference is for visual communication. When I’m trying to make a point, I draw diagrams and doodles to get it across. I have a heart for missions and would love to help expand what our church is doing in that arena. I enjoy teaching when I get the chance, and I’ve been told I’m a decent writer.”
Eric Glenn Returning Elder
Eric and his wife Deborah are parents to Michaela who is 13. They transferred membership from Trinity Lutheran in Indianapolis 29 years ago. Eric has served as an usher and several terms as elder. He currently serves as a communion team leader and has served on two call committees. He is a small group coach and small group leader.
In sharing about his relationship with God, he says:
“I start my day with prayer as I awake, I continue with prayer, meditation and reflection as I shower and prepare to leave my home each morning. Periodically I read scriptures on the Bible Gateway app on my iPad during my lunch break. I am in a Triad study with three other men from SLAA. During my drive to work I try to take time to focus on my life and how it aligns with what God would have me do. When I find shortcomings, I pray for continued guidance and strength to help me overcome them. I worship regularly at SLAA.”
With regard to his gifts and calling, he says:
“Heaven is going to be populated with believers from many nations. Ann Arbor is populated with people from many nations. Our church is in the midst of that population, and we have the opportunity to make St. Luke be a reflection of what heaven will look like. I feel that God has given me the heart for the type of outreach ministry to help find ways to make our church family more reflective of our community.
David Hasey Returning Elder
David and his wife Juanita are parents to Rachel, Lois, Jonathan, and Michael (also an elder) who range in age from 24 to 39. He has been a member of St. Luke for 24 years. He has served in the choir, on the Adult Education Task Force, and as an adult education teacher. In addition to his continuing roles in adult education, he is currently an Elder and a small group member and leader.
In telling about his relationship with God he says:
“God is very real to me as I have complete faith that he is in control of this world and is accomplishing his purpose through people. I desire to be one of the people he is so using. Out of gratitude, I owe my allegiance to Jesus as He is my savior.
As a disciple of Jesus, I find it very important to reflect on the implications of living the Christian life and try to live accordingly. While I don’t have a set prayer time, I often find myself in an attitude of prayer throughout the day. (The nature of my work affords such luxury). Instead of telling someone I will pray for them, I will tend to pray immediately as led by the Holy Spirit, whether it is at church, in a store, etc.
The study of Scripture is very important to me. I use a variety of methods in my study – inductive method, lectionary readings with comments on the Scriptural passages by the early church fathers, and lectio divina (a method of saturating oneself in a passage over an extended period of time). I extend this by reading a variety of Christian literature and theology.
I believe small groups are important and am a member of two groups. One is more of a nurturing and support group as we all have been dealing with young adults and aging parents at the same time, the other a discipling group.”
With regard to his gifts and calling, he notes:
“Having been trained as a teacher and also having theological training, I believe God has gifted me in teaching. My passion is for adult Christian education. When I first became an elder, I strongly encouraged starting the elder led Bible study as I believe one of the roles of an elder is to set an example in what we believe to be important in living out our Christian lives. I also believe that it is important to explore and use the spiritual gifts and talents that God has given us and believe I can encourage others in this regard.”
Rick Darragh Returning Elder
Rick and His wife Debbie are parents to three children ages 26 to 32 and seven grandchildren. They have attended St. Luke since 1984. Rick has been involved as a music team member, helping to lead worship during church services, and leading the music at the men’s breakfast. He is currently a member of the St. Luke video team, an elder, and a member of the Site Advisory Team. For four years, he and his wife led English as a Second Language (ESL) classes with students at the EMU chapel introducing them to our language and our Savior. He has also the St. Luke representative to the St. Paul Board of Education for several years while his children attended St. Paul’s school. In addition, Rick has been a MOST Ministries team member and videographer and a Team Leader for six eyeglass/construction teams to other countries.
He describes his relationship with God in the following way:
“I am a life long Lutheran having attended Lutheran day school, being confirmed, and involved in the youth group. God, of course, is the center of my life , He is my constant guide, seeing me through life’s good and troubling times .
My daily routine includes daily prayer and scripture reading. I’m currently a member of a St. Luke small group. Our relationship with God, through Jesus death and resurrection, is what life, and eventually death is all about, everything else flows from this foundation.
In considering his gifts and calling he says:
“As an Elder my goal would be to support members and nonmembers in their walk with God, helping to foster a church home that is conducive to growth and acceptance and one where non-Christians can meet Jesus.
One of my spiritual gifts is service, as such, I believe that finding an area of service for each individual is key to spiritual growth and maturity. I deeply appreciate our Lutheran heritage, doctrines, and confessions and see great value in passing them on to future generations.”
Spencer Young SAT representative to the Spiritual Leadership Council
Spencer recently married Rebekah (Lindstrom). He has been a member of St. Luke for 19 years. He is currently serving as the SAT representative on the SLC, In addition, he has led construction work in Mexicali and has been involved in the youth activities.
He describes his relationship with God in the following words:
“My relationship with God is one of repentance and forgiveness. Because of the work of Christ I have been given the gift of life that I might serve God faithfully in all that I do. I make mistakes, I screw up, and I constantly see a need for improvement in my life, but because of God’s unconditional love and grace, I know that I am forgiven. So to describe my relationship with Christ, I would say it is one of repentance, awe, and unending amazement.”
He relates his gifts and calling in these words:
“My gifts are organization, administration and stewardship. Because of these, I have found that the most effective ministry for me to be involved in typically includes SLC and SAT service. I have also managed the St. Luke Softball Team(s), worked with leadership in Mexicali, and served on the worship team.”