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Ask the Pastor Your fondest memory and your greatest hope.

Different is Good! Embracing our diversity.

Our Worship Life Goals for 2011.

Compassionate Care Ministries Some stats on our 2010 accomplishments.

Building Projects Update on our current Projects.

Bright Ideas? New ideas for 2011!

Shepherd of the Lakes Lutheran Church and School VolumeShepherd’s 38, Issue Voice 1


January/February 2011

Q: What is your fondest Shepherd of the Lakes memory of 2010? A: 2010 brought many blessings and memories—so many that it is hard to pick just one. Personally, I will never forget the graciousness of the congregation upon my acceptance of the Sr. Pastor position. It would’ve been easy for you to treat the transition as if it were just “old hat.” But you made the event special! Thank you! Looking beyond myself, my favorite memory of 2010 will be the ever growing swell of people at our Education Hour.

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I know that I’ve sounded like a broken record as I’ve encouraged (nagged) you to greater participation in the study of the Word. I rejoice that we’ve changed the culture of our congregation into a “two hour on Sunday church.” This hasn’t been done to add busyness to your already hectic lives, but rather to provide a reliable compass as you navigate an everchanging (and difficult) world. Q: What’s your greatest hope for Shepherd of the Lakes in 2011? A: There is much on our plate as we enter a new year. This issue of Shepherd’s Voice is dedicated to talking about some of those things. Some plans are internal (maintenance projects, addition of staff), while other goals will force us to look beyond our walls and into a community with growing needs. If I had to sum up my greatest hope for Shepherd of the Lakes into just one though, it would be for us to live each day together


with an eager eye on our future, not our past. Shepherd of the Lakes has a wonderful history. God has been better to us than we deserve! But like every church that’s been around a while we’ve also had some bumps along the way. We’ve traversed them together. The time is now to understand that our sins, our failures, our broken relationships, and our hurts are in the rear view mirror. The road in front of us is full of twists and turns, to be sure, but with Jesus at the wheel it holds the promise of an amazing journey. Many newer members have hopped on the bus, loving where it is taking them and unburdened by where it’s been. There are open seats remaining for the members of the community that are lost and need to be picked up. That’s our next destination. The future is exciting and bright!

“Brothers and Sisters in Christ committed to transforming homes!” At Shepherd of the Lakes we want to transform homes! This work will be done in three core areas: Worship Christian Education Compassionate Care The rest of this issue of Shepherd’s Voice will do a little bit of looking back at how this was done in 2010 and a whole lot of looking forward of how this will be done in 2011. How will you be a part of our ministry? What are your dreams for the future of our church? Every one of you is an important part of the body of Christ. You’re invited to be an integral part of our work in Livingston County and the world. You’re the brothers and sisters that can transform homes! Shepherd of the Lakes is becoming relatively unique in modern American Christianity. For one, we’re a church that’s growing. That’s not common, sadly. What makes us different is that, well, we’re different! We have a good mix of all ages (even the number of young adults in our pews exceeds the percentage of young adults in Livingston County). Some of our members are new Christians, while others have been going to a Lutheran Church for 80 years or more. Some of us appreciate the historic liturgy and traditional hymns. Others love to hear the Good News presented in a more modern form. Many (most) churches have become homogenous. Some churches are being planted that way on purpose. Others have just become that way through time. The people are all alike— same ages, same interests, same backgrounds… That can certainly make things easier. For instance, there isn’t any disagreement about what kind of worship to have on a day like Christmas Eve or Thanksgiving in a place where the people all want the same thing. But does that “sameness” make a church better? No necessarily! At Shepherd of the Lakes there are times where our diversity is a challenge. Some of you are uncomfortable carrying a dime of debt on our building. Others have grown up in a build now/pay later culture. Some of you want a pastor whose best attribute is leadership. Others prefer a nurturer. Because we’re a large church with many programs that appeal to different groups of people we are a field that is ripe for conflict if financial stress should arise. How do we pick what gets supported? What gets cut? Tough issues indeed! In 2011 embrace our diversity. It isn’t easy, but it’s good. Our vision is to be “Brothers and Sisters in Christ committed to transforming homes!” Just like any family is diverse, so is our church family. Young Christians, try not to see our older members as out of touch. See them as people that can teach you something valuable because of their life and faith experiences. You more seasoned members, might God still be trying to teach you something through engaging yourself in the very hard lives of our youth? Yes! One of the most moving moments of 2010 was our school children singing with the adult choir at our Christmas Cantata. It was a glimpse of heaven the way different worlds collided in praise. Let’s embrace that we can have such a gift in our congregation! Things may not always go the way we’d do it, but it is pleasing in the sight of God!

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updates to dying computers and old programs), and more frequent use of appropriate drama, video, and personal testimony. Might you incorporate the following goals:

A Look at our Worship Life One of the things that many visitors share with us is that they find our worship services to be arranged well, stimulating, and inspirational. One of the distinctive elements of Shepherd of the Lakes is that our worship services really do mirror the Scriptures by presenting in a very clear way the truths about our frail spiritual condition and the Gospel. We don’t shy away from words like “sin” for the sake of political correctness. But we aren’t simply legalistic in our approach. Every week we come into the presence of God trusting that we need a Savior and that we have a Savior. Forgiveness is offered freely! Thankfully, God’s gifts led us to experience modest growth in our average worship attendance in 2010 over 2009 (which experienced an increase over 2008). This has happened during the midst of a large transition- a time when many churches decline. Praise God! A few goals for 2011 include trying to incorporate children and youth more frequently into participation in worship, improving some of our technical equipment in the Worship Center (a gift of $3000 would help us make some much needed Shepherd’s Voice

1) Worship every week of the year. Utilize our Monday service if you’re out of town on Sunday. Or go to church wherever you may be. 2) Be an active listener. Talk about the Scripture lessons and the message on the car ride home or over breakfast or lunch. 3) Be on time. Come prepared for the Lord to fill you with His presence through His gifts. 4) Don’t pay attention to how long the sermon is. Just like watching grass grow doesn’t make it happen any faster…well, you get the point!

The question is often asked, “Where are the needs the greatest? How can I help more?” by people who would like to make an additional gift above their regular giving in support of our ministry needs that were not included in the budget (or weren’t funded as well as they need to be). If you have been blessed in a way that allows you to do this, please consider the following priorities: -New technology. Many of our staff computers are quite old, as is the equipment in our tech areas in the Sanctuary and Genesis Hall. -Parking Lot Fund. -Student Grant Fund. -Labor of Love. -Emergency Maintenance Fund If you’d like to learn more about how your resources can be a blessing, please be in touch with Pastor Milatz or Ken Brown.

Save the Dates Here are some dates you may want to be mindful of as you plan vacations. These are great times to be with your church family if at all possible! Holy Week April 21 - 24, 2011

Men’s Retreat June 10 - 12, 2011

Good Friday Cantata April, 22, 2011

VBS July 17 - 21, 2011

Labor of Love April 30, 2011

Picnic and Rally Day September 11, 2011

Jason Eaton Concert May 13, 2011

School Auction November 5, 2011

School Golf Outing May 21, 2011

Christmas Cantata December 10 & 11, 2011


A Look at our Christian Education Ministries Shepherd of the Lakes is a place that is growing in its understanding and love of the Bible! 100 people signed up to “Walk through the Bible” in 2011. Many, many more have committed to life in a small group, our Education Hour, and personal reading. It’s exciting! And it’s necessary! One thing is certain for the future of any church: We are living during changing and confusing times for Christians in America. The Christian Church in America is not united. Political agendas will influence churches more and more. Families are busier than ever. Most church goers have an elementary understanding, at best, of the Scriptures. Christian Education is crucial if we are going to remain faithful and outreach focused! The most difficult, and yet probably the most important, aspect to our Christian Education efforts is our day school. There are many challenges in this kind of ministry. But it’s worth it! The School Leadership Team is figuring out how to expand to 8th grade—something that needs to be done if we want the elementary school to be viable. A part-time recruitment director has been hired as of December 2010. It has become apparent that you can’t just wait for students to come to you. You need to go and find them! The future Associate Pastor will have very significant responsibilities in our school and with our school families. This is our biggest and most effective outreach! He will work alongside a new administrator who will handle the day to day needs of the school. Our children and youth ministry are experiencing steady growth. At some point soon we will have to address the need for someone to oversee the coordination of events for our youth. Plans for additional space for our youth are being made (see article on construction projects). The way we do confirmation continues to become more ingrained in our congregation. This is a positive sign. Children and youth are being invited to participate alongside adults in a number of events. A goal for 2011 is to provide a few large seminars on issues that parents must address with their children (money management, use of technology, health and sexuality). The small group ministry has experienced some growth over the last year or two. It can be credited with being a great source of fellowship and support, in addition to the Christian Education aspect. The Board of Spiritual Care will spend time in 2011 figuring out how to most effectively recruit new people into small groups. While our existing groups can often function without much care, a goal for the future probably includes a part-time position of Small Group Coordinator so that we can better assimilate new and disconnected members into groups. Our Men’s Ministry continues to center around the Band of Brothers. They have a true mission spirit and welcoming attitude. Our Women’s Ministry is an example of something affected by changing times. As more women have gone back to work to support the family it is more difficult for them to be as involved as they used to be in church activities. We will want to at least ask the question in 2011, “How can we change to better meet the unique needs of the women in the congregation?”

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One of the challenges of our Compassionate Care ministries is that they can be easily out of sight and out of mind. If you’re not directly involved it’s hard to know if anything is happening. Here are a few facts: -1055 people were served through our Personal Needs Pantry in 2010. -4 Stephen Ministry Leaders and 10 Stephen Ministers were trained. 14 people are currently receiving weekly care. 4 new Stephen Ministers and 1 new Leader have begun training so that the ministry can expand. -40 projects were completed in our Urgent Home Repair Ministry in 2010. This is in addition to the many projects completed on our annual Labor of Love Project Day. We did some other things in 2010 as well. More than 30,000 meals were packaged at our Kids against Hunger event. Wasn’t it something to seek kids and adults working together? Additionally, I’m always touched by how our church rally’s around families who lose loved ones. Funeral meals are a wonderful way of meeting the needs of hurting families. In 2011 we’ll continue our Labor of Love Ministry, Personal Needs Pantry, and Stephen Ministry. A new goal is to also have a quarterly event that can incorporate a larger group of people, including children, in sharing Christ’s love with the community. The needs in the community are increasing. Some thought is being given to how we can increase our help. Take a look at the article about an idea for funding Compassionate Care ministries in a much bigger and sustainable way.

There are many concrete goals for us as a congregation in 2011. Before any plan becomes set in stone it starts out as a dream. Here is a big one—what do you think? One of our three core areas of ministry is Compassionate Care. We want to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our community. Wouldn’t it be something if no person’s immediate needs in our community couldn’t be met through our work together? Of course, the needs are many. Even with increased giving from every member we would be hard pressed to meet them all. What if we could create a ministry that by its self would fund more ministries? That possibility may exist with a re-sale shop, similar to what you may think of in a Salvation Army store. Right now it’s just an idea, but in early 2011 some exploratory work is going to be done on if the possibility exists to open a store of affordable clothing and other merchandise through donations from our community. All “profits” could be re-allocated to care ministries such as Labor of Love. This model has been tried out in a few places with great success. Yes, yes, there is certainly a whole lot of, “What about…?” involved with such an idea. But as a concept, what are your thoughts? If you’d like to share be in touch with Suzanne Biddix at

It Just Makes “Cents!” Every pastor knows it but has to deal with it. The majority of church members are sensitive of talk about money. But let’s face it: It’s a fact of life, even in churches. There are heat bills and snow removal bills to pay, among many other things. More importantly, Jesus has tons to say about how our relationship with him is related to our relationship with money. While we may not have a lot to give, it is good that we place our full trust in God! Here is a very practical way for many of you to grow into more faithful financial stewardship practices in 2011. It will also more effectively support the work that we do together as the people of Shepherd of the Lakes. No matter what your level of giving, give for an average of all 52 weeks of the year. Don’t give more than you’ve decided to give, just give regularly! If you think you’re able to give $50 a week, give it every week, not just when you attend worship services. If you’re on vacation, consider mailing your offering in to the church. Or just give $100 the next time you’re in worship. It seems simple, but most people don’t do it. Giving like this will help you to see a clearer connection of how you can support our ministry—and it is OUR ministry! You’re not paying for a service when you give your offerings, but supporting God’s work through Shepherd of the Lakes. This work goes on whether you’re in town or not. If everyone gave like this we would be able to more effectively honor our commitments, expand our work, and touch more lives with the Gospel. It just makes sense (or cents) for all of us!

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God-willing we will welcome a new Associate Pastor to Shepherd of the Lakes during 2011. Our congregation has accomplished many wonderful things during the last few years as we’ve experienced some significant transition. As we come out of this season of stabilization we are planning for a new season of growth. One pastor was sufficient for us for a time, but it is not a permanent solution. A Call Committee will begin meeting in early to mid-January. While they may consider any candidate for the position they will be strongly encouraged to look at new graduates from one of our seminaries. Shepherd of the Lakes would be an excellent church for an energetic new pastor eager to grow and apply all that he’s learned during his pastoral formation. Another advantage is that we could have this pastor on board by early summer, as Seminary students are placed into their first congregation (in other words, they don’t have the option of declining the Call that we issue). We’ll see where the Lord leads, but it seems like this could be a nice wide door that is open to us. While the new pastor’s job description is still a work in progress you can expect them to work heavily in any area that educates a child or youth, including an emphasis in our school ministry. Some people ask, “Can we afford this?” The answer is yes. But perhaps the better answer is, “We may not be able to afford not to.” So let’s plan to succeed. If for some reason our giving levels decline, which is something we’re prepared for but do not expect, we’ll adjust in other areas. One thing is certain: Even in what are often called, “Difficult times,” there are more than enough resources for Shepherd of the Lakes to do the work that God sets before us. You’ll be informed regularly throughout the process. At some point you’ll have the opportunity to cast a vote. I encourage you in the meantime to pray for the man the Lord has already selected and the work that he’ll do among us. In June of 2010 we approved three construction projects: 1) Completion of Rm. 200, 2) Re-construction of parking lots, and 3) Addition of space for our youth ministry. 2011 will bring some noticeable movement on these endeavors. Rm. 200 construction will have begun by the time you read this article. The best feature of the room will be a new ceiling that will significantly decrease the amount of noise generated by our heating and cooling units. Sub-contractors will work with skilled SOTL volunteers to get the work done in as timely a fashion as possible. This project is completely funded through your giving! Our income exceeded expenses in the 2009-2010 fiscal year budget. Some of that surplus was directed toward this project. The parking lot project received unanimous approval at a December 2010 meeting of the Brighton Township Planning Commission. A site plan can be viewed in our Commons area outside the worship center. Additional spaces will be added to both the Hacker and Hyne Rd. lots, as well as some new spaces nearer to the main entrance of the church. We are now in the bid seeking process. By late winter you will hear information about how the project will be funded, including an opportunity to make a special gift for this large, necessary, and expensive work. The discussions related to the addition of youth space are far more complex. Real space needs exist now. But it’s also true that there are many building needs on the horizon. Our youth building committee has widely tried to take a short and long-term view of this reality. In the short term we will be exploring the conversion of existing space in the 100 Wing that will create extra room for our growing youth ministry. In the long-term we will be presenting a project that will include approximately 5000 sq. feet of new basement space off of the 300 Wing for our youth work, as well as additional classrooms for our growing day school and Sunday school ministries. Early this year an architecture firm will provide drawings of what this new space could look like. A great amount of planning and prayer will take place as we prepare to walk through the doors of opportunity that God opens to us.

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FAQ’s Regarding a Call to an Associate Pastor Q: What are we having a Voter’s Assembly for on January 30? A: We will be voting on whether or not to extend a Call to Concordia Seminary for a new graduate to serve as the Associate Pastor for Shepherd of the Lakes. Q: Will this be an intern? A: This will not be an intern (referred to as Vicar in our church body). He will be a pastor. Q: What does it mean to extend a Call to Concordia Seminary? A: The process is different than what Shepherd of the Lakes has gone through in the past. Instead of issuing a Call directly to a pastor who is currently serving in another church, we are asking the Seminary to place a spring 2011 graduate to serve here. Q: Does that mean we won’t have a say in who comes here? A: Not at all. Upon approval of issuing the Call through the Seminary, the Call Committee will have the option of interviewing a number of candidates. They will make a recommendation to the congregation of 1-4 candidates that they think would be a good fit for our ministry needs. After the congregation votes, the recommendation will be forwarded to the Seminary. Q: What if we don’t find any candidates we like? A: The process would be re-evaluated. But that’s certainly not anticipated! There are many candidates to choose from. All will have gone through eight years of post high-school education and rigorous training. We should expect that the Lord has in mind a highly qualified man who will serve well at Shepherd of the Lakes. The Seminary does this every year. They are familiar with congregations like ours and what kind of pastor would do well here. A mutually beneficial partnership like this is one of the real joys of being a part of our church body. Q: Are we assured of getting a candidate? A: There is no guarantee. However, if we provide the Seminary with 3 or 4 candidates that we think are suitable for possible placement it would be highly unlikely not to receive one of them. It should be noted that there are more graduates than congregations looking for pastors this year. They need churches like us. Q: Why would we seek a pastor from the Seminary instead of looking at a current pastor? A: There are a few potential advantages: 1) We are virtually assured of receiving a pastor who will begin their work at Shepherd of the Lakes this June or July. 2) The job description of the new pastor is a good fit for a younger pastor full of energy. 3) The current economy makes it difficult for current pastors to move away from their houses (mortgages). 4) Shepherd of the Lakes has proven itself to be excellent with younger pastor’s families. 5) While this pastor will be inexperienced, he will not be unqualified. And we must also remember he is not being Called as Sr. Pastor (most Sr. Pastors have things to learn until the day they die, too). Q: When would he be placed? A: We need to let the Seminary know our intent by February 28. The candidate will be placed in mid-April. After finishing his classes he’ll graduate in May and move to the area. Q: So what will this pastor do? A: He will oversee the Christian Education Ministry to children and youth.

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Q: What does that mean? A: The pastor will work with staff and volunteers in our children, youth, and school ministries to build those programs up. He’ll work with parents. He’ll promote participation and growth. He’ll lead the outreach. He’ll make sure the programs are linked with our core values and vision as he guides them into the future. Simply put, we value teaching young people about Jesus. He’s going to help us do that even better than we do now! He won’t do it alone. He’ll work alongside existing staff, identify where new staff is needed, and utilize volunteers. A job description can be found at the Adult and Youth ministry booths in the Commons. Q: Will he still preach and teach on Sundays? A: Yes. Q: Will he be the school principal? A: No. He will work alongside the principal to grow our school ministry and the important work it does to educate children. Q: I thought we couldn’t afford two pastors? A: Actually, two pastors were a part of the budget approved at the June 2010 Voter’s Assembly. It includes a Sr. Pastor and an Associate Pastor. Since Pastor Milatz has filled the Sr. Pastor vacancy we now have a vacancy in the Associate Pastor position. Our current giving supports these two positions without making any cuts of other vital staff members. Q: Don’t you know the economy is bad? What happens if offerings go down? A: The Lord has provided well beyond what we deserve. We expect that to continue. We have managed our resources as a congregation well. We have an Executive Administrator, Ken Brown, who protects the congregation. Should difficulties arise we will face them with prayer, due diligence, and unity. Q: Why is this moving so quickly? A: It is quicker than the last pastor search we went through. That was unusually long! This process does have some deadlines attached to it because of a combination of our by-laws and the needs of the Seminary. It is not so quick that we won’t have due diligence. Q: What happens if we don’t approve the calling of a pastor through the Seminary? A: The Board of Directors and Sr. Pastor will re-evaluate the process. We are hopeful that members understand both the blessing a new pastor will be, as well as the important work that needs to be done in our school, children, and youth ministries. Q: Is Pastor Milatz on board with this? A: Yes. This will allow him to lead our whole ministry of “transforming homes,” including the important work that needs to be done among our members without children and retirees. We have gone through our season of transition. Now is the season of growth and forward movement. Q: Who is on the Call Committee? A: It’s a great committee. The members are: Tex Bluhm, Ann Colley, Denny Weisend, Bob Calkins, Jim Cash, Lisa Johnson, Nancy Weaver, Roy Lange, and Lynn Henderson. Pastor Milatz will serve an advisory role. If you’d like to ask questions of the committee contact Bob Calkins at

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“Brothers and Sisters in Christ committed to transforming homes!”

2101 S. Hacker Road Brighton, MI 48114-8764 Phone: 810-227-5099 Fax: 810-227-3566 Email: Web:

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JOIN US FOR WORSHIP Sundays at 8:30 and 11:00 a.m. Mondays at 6:45 p.m. Bible Study and Sunday School at 9:45 a.m. Wee Worship at 8:30 and 11:00 a.m. for ages 3-6.


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