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A Brief History of Abiding Shepherd Lutheran Church

Abiding Shepherd Evangelical Lutheran Church 406 Cottage Grove Rd Cottage Grove, WI 53527 (608) 839-3770 Email: Website:

Pre-2000 The beginnings of Abiding Shepherd Lutheran Church (ASLC) are interesting and, one might also suggest, a bit unusual. In the later 1990’s Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Madison, Wisconsin began a strategic planning process. One of the outcomes of this process was concern for the nature of Holy Cross’s neighborhood and the land and building resource limitations the current location of Holy Cross presented. A follow-up study was conducted to evaluate the prospects of alternative sites and “daughtering” or “sistering” a new mission congregation. After much study, the conclusion was that the ministry at Milwaukee Street should continue but starting a new mission, as a “branch” of Holy Cross, would be a good and feasible approach. A recommendation was made to do so in the Village of Cottage Grove, Wisconsin. It was simultaneous to this recommendation that some staffing changes were occurring at Holy Cross and the decision was made to, at least temporarily, abandon this project. With much research having been conducted and the feasibility of a successful mission in Cottage Grove having been determined, the Home Missions Board of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod took steps to begin a mission in Cottage Grove. Pastor Nathan Krause was called by the synod to explore this mission opportunity in person. He would also serve Holy Cross on a temporary basis to develop its membership (because a core of Holy Cross members could potentially leave Holy Cross to become members of the new mission in Cottage Grove.) 2


Meetings of a core group of interested parties occurred under the leadership of Pastor Krause and with God’s hand present throughout. A church name was chosen and the process of creating a church identity was underway. Late 1999-2000 ASLC begins worshiping at the James Center on Southing Grange in September of 1999. This “store front” location and approach resulted from difficulties finding a suitable site to meet in Cottage Grove. School and public officials were not particularly cooperative and a conscious decision was made to seek a “quasi-permanent” and publically visible location. This was a rather provocative approach as the ELS Home Missions Board (ELSHMB) needed to provide funding to finish the space and rent needed to be paid. Fiscally speaking, it was cost and functionally effective as Pastor Krause was renting office space at another location. Charter Sunday – June 4, 2000 – 37 members


2001 Dec. 2000 - Jan. 2001: The first of quite a number of land purchase processes begin with the pending sale of a family farm located where Sandpiper Road intersects Cottage Grove Road. The first of many discussions with the ELS/ELS Mission Board begin. Feb. 2001: A proposal is made to ELS Home Missions Board (ELSHMB) to purchase the property. An ASLC WEB Committee is formed to establish an internet presence for the exploratory congregation. Feb. 2001: Land acquisition discussions continue. Jun. 2001: ASLC is represented for the first time in the Cottage Grove Fireman’s Festival with a parade entry and a “Balloon Booth” at the festival. Jul. 2001: The first administrative “Coordinators” Meeting is held. This is not yet a formal structure but is the beginning and basis for the structure we maintain today. At the same time the concept of “consensus” decision making is discussed and implemented. Fall 2001: The purchase of more comfortable, fixture-type chairs is discussed and approved. We employ this style today (7/2010). The general concept and development of a building team is implemented. A congregational “visioning” process begins. Nov. 2001: The first ever “Christmas for Kids” program is undertaken at the James Center facility. Dec. 2001: Discussions and planning begin for the implementation of Sunday School. First ever “Christmas for Kids” program


2002 Winter 2002: Approval of and purchase of our piano is completed. The congregation discusses the need for a more formal altar. A salvaged one is obtained from a church undergoing a remodeling and is moved to our location at the James Center. Jan. 2002: Discussion begins on the prospect of conducting a second (contemporary) service. Feb. 2002: The process of incorporation is undertaken along with formal establishment as an ELS Mission Congregation (a change from exploratory). Samples of constitutions and by-laws are gathered for study and review. Thomas Heyn is contracted as our attorney to assist in this process. Spring 2002: Our constitution and by-laws along with our incorporation documents are approved and submitted. Application is made to the ELS to be accepted into the Synod as a congregation. Planning begins for our first youth class confirmation service. A decision is made to conduct the service in a tent erected in the parking lot of the James Center. Mar. 2002: Our congregation’s application for synod membership is accepted. May 2002: Church building financing discussions begin in earnest. The concept of a “reserve account� to assist in the event of cash-flow difficulties as membership develops is established. On a rainy, 45 degree day our first youth Confirmation class is confirmed inside a tent in the church parking lot. 6

May 2002: Discussions begin with architects so as to make a choice of one to assist us in design of a church building. June 18, 2002: ASLC is accepted into membership at the ELS Convention in Mankato, MN. Jul. 2002: A Stewardship Team is established to explore and establish church financing options. We participate in our first Cottage Grove Community Garage Sale. Our initial overtures to purchase the farm property are scuttled as the owner sells the property to a developer. Nov. 2002: Discussions begin with the new owner/ developer to purchase a portion of the property. Discussions continue with ELS/ELSHMB. An initial estimate of $885,000 is submitted to synod to complete a land/building project. Late Fall 2002: Pursuit of the previously mentioned land purchase is abandoned. Complications come into play regarding the size and usability of the parcel being discussed with the developer, this after numerous meetings with developer and village officials. Dec. 2002: A new logo is developed for use. This was developed by George Greven and is still in use today (7/2010). A mission statement (slogan) was also adopted for use: “Bring them in… Lift them up… Send them out”


2003 Winter 2003: Conversations begin for a second time on the purchase of the “Dvorak” property, the site upon which the church building now stands. Attempts to purchase this property had been made previously but it was also sold to a developer. Attempts to develop the property were not acceptable to the Village of Cottage Grove and the property became available to us. Jan. 2003 - Feb. 2003: Initial attempts to gain synod support to purchase and hold land for ASLC are not accepted. Apr. 2003: “Analysis, Plan and Proposal” is submitted to the ELS/ELSHMB. This is a formal planning and analysis document developed by the Building Team which outlined the need for an atypical approach to land acquisition and building a church in Cottage Grove, WI. Specifically it called for the ELS to make a land purchase on our behalf. Although counter to normal and expected procedure, this is ultimately approved and led to the ELS purchasing and holding a lot on our behalf until such time as we engaged a full building project. Jul. 2003: Membership surpasses 100 with the addition of ten new members this month. Aug. 27, 2003: The ELS closes on the “Dvorak” Property on our behalf. Sep. 2003: With regard to our administrative structure (Coordinators: as specified in our Constitution), the question is asked and discussed by the administrative team, including 8

Pastor Krause, “Do you think it is time to have additional helpers or add coordinators?” Oct. 2003: With the land purchase having been made, building planning moves to high gear. Oct. 29, 2003: First contemporary worship service is held. 2004 Winter 2004: Building Planning continues. The Building Committee and the congregation confirm Roberts Construction Associates as our planning architect and Dale Fredenberg and Fredenberg Construction as our General Contractor. Initial site plans are approved by the congregation. Mar. 2004: These matters are confirmed to the ELS/ ELSHMB in a letter. A construction estimate of $750,000 is provided (w/o land). A “declining balance endowment” or cash flow fund targeted at $100,000 is confirmed to ELSHMB as a reserve to cover cash flow difficulties that may arise during initial growth. Apr. 2004: Initial site plan is rejected by the village. Jun. 2004; Revised site plan is approved by the village. Summer 2004: Construction is approved by ELSHMB/ELS; long term financing is approved by Monona State Bank and by the synod authorities. Oct. 17, 2004: Church building groundbreaking occurs. 9

2005 Jul. 2005: Administrative structure and worship time changes are approved by the congregation. Contemporary worship is moved to Monday, eff. July 11, Jul. 3, 2005: First worship service in new church building. Jul. 10, 2005: Congregation celebration of new church building. Jul. 16, 2005: Community Grand Opening of church building. Jul. 24, 2005: Official dedication of new church building. Aug. 2005: Second Sunday service commences on 8/7/2005 (times 9:00/10:45). Sep. 2005: FEN (Family Education Night) begins. Nov. 2005: Conversations begin with Pastor Krause, Administrators and ELS regarding possibility of having a vicar.


2006 Jan. 2006: Annual meeting held with discussions on finishing of the church basement, additional parking, and vicar program. Mar. 2006: Ongoing discussions at Administrators Meetings regarding spending policies and guidelines. May 2006: Membership surpasses 200. May 2006 - June 2006: Hiring of an administrative assistant, Spending Guidelines document, participation in the vicars program (taking on a vicar), finishing of the lower level all approved by the Administrators and Congregation. (Consensus approach to decision making is utilized.) As part of approval for finishing the lower level a fund raising program is implemented to raise $90,000 for the finishing of both interior and exterior needs (Ex: sidewalk to lower entrance; landscaping.) Dec. 2006: Fundraising goal for lower level finishing is attained. 2007 Jan. 2007: Approval of establishment of a “Line of Credit� with a financial institution is granted at the Annual Meeting. Feb. 2007: Lower level finishing is completed.


May 2007: Plans and implementation finalized for the arrival of Vicar Klebig. Concerns over funding of Christian Education develop. The need for vision planning is surfacing. (This is the seed of the establishment of a strategic Vicar and Dawn Klebig planning process which ultimately results in a revised administrative structure.) Under the leadership of Mark Hoenecke a garden/landscape plan for the property is developed and implemented. Jul. 2007 - Nov. 2007: A “Core Leadership Team” is identified to initiate a planning process. Nov. 2007: “Training Dimensions” consultants meets with the Core Leadership Team to gain familiarity with planning strategies and potential outcomes. 2008 May 2008: Strategic Planning Team (SPT) met. Nov. 2008: Congregational meeting. The SPT’s #1 recommendation/priority was that Abiding Shepherd Lutheran Church needed to develop a new organizational structure and that a committee needed to be put together to create that. This committee was to report to the congregation by summer 2009.


2009 Jan. 2009 - June 2009: Structure ad hoc committee meets every other week. Objectives accomplished: 1. Investigated other church organizational structure models/philosophies 2. Assessed the organizational needs of Abiding Shepherd Lutheran Church 3. Prayerfully created an organizational structure that we believed would support the mission of the Gospel uniquely within and through our congregation. Jun. 2009: At congregational meeting, the Structure Committee presented the new organizational structure to the congregation. The new structure, along with changes to the constitution and by-laws, was accepted by the congregation through consensus. It was recommended that a Transition Team be created to help the congregation transition into its new structure.


Jun. 2009 - Jun. 2010: The Transition Team is formed and sets a goal to disband in one year. (TT will continue to serve as needed for consultation.) Major tasks: filling leadership roles (including hiring a Human Resource Team Lead), defining processes, creating documents and helping the new leadership and the congregation as a whole grasp the philosophy of this new structure and why that is important.

Nov. 2009 Human Resource Team Lead added to staff.

Carl Weisheim


Summer/Fall 2009: Team Leads accepted their roles and were ratified by the congregation. Operations and Finance: Dave Finger, Benevolence and Fellowship: Rich Herbst, Outreach: Ross Metzger, Word and Worship: Pastor Krause, Human Resources: Carl Weisheim.

Rich Herbst Benevolence and Fellowship

Pastor Krause Word and Worship

Ross Metzger Outreach

Dave Finger Operations and Finance

Look for future updates as God continues to bless Abiding Shepherd Lutheran Church! For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6


Our Mission: Bring them in! Lift them up! Send them out! Our Vision: Every Member in the Word! Every Member a Servant!


History of Abiding Shepherd  
History of Abiding Shepherd  

You are invited to worship with us at Abiding Shepherd Lutheran Church, 406 W Cottage Grove Road, Cottage Grove, Wisconsin Sundays at 9 or 1...