Archive for the ‘Vocation & Ministry’ Category

It is with all of the excitement, surprise and sadness that profound change brings that I have been announcing over the past three days that I have accepted a call (church-talk for “job offer”) from Saint Luke Lutheran Church in Devon, PA to become their Pastor for Youth, Family, and Service.  I will be working side-by-side with Pastor Susan Ericsson, which I consider to be a great blessing (and a lot of fun).

The sadness comes from leaving a community and a congregation that I love and that has been the source of friendship and joy over the past seven years.  The following letter was mailed earlier this week to the members of Temple Lutheran Church and presented last night to the congregation council:

“I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.”
(Philippians 1:6)

August 2, 2011

To the people of Temple Lutheran Church,

I am saddened to announce that the time has come to conclude my service as pastor of Temple Lutheran Church.  On Sunday, July 31, I accepted a call to join the pastoral staff of St. Luke Lutheran Church in Devon, Pennsylvania.

The hardest thing about accepting this new call is concluding the ministry I have shared with you as Temple Lutheran Church.  I am sad to leave; I have been forever shaped and blessed by our time together; it has been an honor and a joy to serve as your pastor. I will miss you.

I have been amazed at what God has done during the time that we have been partners in ministry.   Just over seven years ago, it was clear that God was calling me to Havertown.  Today, it is equally clear that God is now calling me to a new place.  There is no other reason that I am leaving Temple Lutheran Church.  I am sad to leave, but also very excited for this new call.

My tenure as pastor will conclude on Sunday, September 11, 2011.  Until that date, I remain excited and committed to our ministry together as Temple Lutheran Church.  I will be working with the congregation council and our synod staff to prepare for the change and transition ahead. You can expect to be kept informed in the weeks to come.

The future of Temple Lutheran Church remains in God’s capable hands as each of you are invited to participate in the good work that will continue to unfold as you do God’s work with your hands.  You will always remain in my prayers and close to my heart.  I am forever grateful to have been a part of your lives and the ministry we have shared.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

Pastor Matt Staniz

I thank God for Temple Lutheran Church and am confident in the faithfulness of the people there to continue the good work that I have had the privilege to be a part of these past years.  I am also looking forward with wide-eyed excitement toward the ministry that I will become a part of at Saint Luke Lutheran Church.  I ask everyone to pray for both of these congregations.  Pray that they will experience a grace-filled faith that continuously sends them out into their lives and into the world to be people of faith, hope, compassion, and peace.

Pastor Matt, Monica, and Amber Staniz

In this present moment of transition, please also pray for Monica, Amber and I as we lose many things and relationships that have been blessing to us.  We will be moving soon to Paoli, PA and Amber will begin 4th grade in a new school.  We are excited and happy, but also nervous, uncertain, and sad.  Big change can do that!

I will begin at Saint Luke Lutheran Church on September 26th.  I will share more news as it happens!

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I believe that the mission God invites us into includes working together beyond the boundaries of our own congregations.  My desire to expand ministry has resulted in being open to active participation in the life of the larger church, particularly the Southeastern PA Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:

  • Adult advisor to SEPA Synod LYO Board, 2008-present
  • Advisor to Bishop Claire Burkat (Fitness for Ministry team), 2009-present
  • Presenter, SEPA Synod Fitness for Ministry workshops (2009, 2010, 2011)
  • Presenter, SEPA Synod eCommunications event, 2009
  • Presenter, SEPA Synod “Taste and See” events, 2010
  • Preacher and worship leader, 2009 SEPA Synod assembly
  • Forum leader (ONE Campaign), 2010 SEPA Synod assembly
  • Preacher (via video) and worship leader, 2011 SEPA Synod assembly
  • Program staff, Junior Youth Gatherings (2008, 2009, 2010).
  • Presenter and planning team, 2009 Junior Youth Gatherings
  • Program staff, Senior High Youth Gathering (2009, 2010, 2011)
  • Planning team, worship planner, 2011 Senior High Youth Gathering
  • Voting member to 2011 ELCA Churchwide Assembly (Orlando, FL)
  • Co-leader of planning team, 2012 Senior High Youth Gathering
  • Media team, SEPA Bishop’s Convocation (2009, 2010)

I am excited that I was asked by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the ONE Campaign to contribute a preaching resource to be distributed nationally by the ELCA and ONE in preparation for “Lazarus Sunday”, an advocacy event that will take place on April 10, 2011.  Christine Merkel-Nessel provided liturgical resources and I engaged the task of preaching.

What does the message of Jesus have to say about the global HIV/AIDS Pandemic? As a people entrusted with the treasure of the Gospel, how will the church carry out our mission in a 21stcentury world where millions continue to die, especially among the poor, because of a disease that is both preventable and treatable? Clearly, the response must be more than a sermon. At the same time, faithful proclamation that connects the gospel of Jesus Christ to these critical questions is an absolute necessity.

Faced with the reality of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, it is critical that proclamation of the gospel include an intentional effort to increase awareness and inspire advocacy. Preaching must not shy away from both the facts about HIV/AIDS and the stories of lives impacted.

See my “Lazarus Sunday” resources at ELCA.org

Download the worship materials from ONE.org

I have truly enjoyed serving as an adult advisor/member of the SEPA Synod LYO Board since 2008.  My participation in this board has convinced me that the SEPA Synod is at the forefront of youth ministry within the ELCA.  I have watched board members become young adults that remain active in congregations and synod ministries while younger teens have matured and discovered their own gifts for ministry.  Some of the what I have learned during my time with the LYO Board includes:

  • Young people are passionate about serving Jesus in the real world
  • Teens will thrive when given opportunities to lead and are taken seriously
  • Youth may be “the future of the church”, but they are also the church today!
  • Today’s youth are passionate about showing God’s love in real ways
  • Youth ministry truly thrives when it becomes youth doing minsitry

ONE Volunteers and new members at the 2010 SEPA Synod assembly

I had the opportunity to take the ONE Campaign’s message to the 2010 SEPA Synod assembly.  In addition to recruiting new ONE members, I led two well-attended workshops inviting congregations to host ONE Sabbath events.  I shared my experience of hosting simultaneous ONE Sabbath events with 3 other local congregations on World Malaria Day. Bishop Claire S. Burkat was also seen wearing a ONE wristband as she led the assembly!

Hosting a ONE Sabbath event is engaging, important, and easy to accomplish.  Even small congregations that are struggling to live out their faith on a limited budget can save lives by using their greatest faith resource: their voice.

Read more about this event at ONE.org