At the Beginning of a New Ministry

Dear Friends in Christ:

Grace and peace to you in Jesus’ name! I am crafting this statement to you on the first day that I am officially your Pastor. How I wish I were in Arlington to greet you at the door of the church on Sunday mornings. How I would rather be writing this letter in the pastor’s study at the church office. But here I am in Phoenix, Arizona….

Given these unusual circumstances in which I begin my call at Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church, I want to provide for you a sense of how I intend to spend my time in ministry with you from a distance. In consultation with Council President, Mike Burmeister, I have developed a listing of my beginning priorities as Pastor – all of this, of course, is subject to change and addition, depending on need and opportunities.

Here is how I intend to focus my time and energies in the initial period of my call:

  • Continue to craft weekly sermons, disseminating them via video recordings and electronic manuscript documents
  • Consult with worship team members concerning weekly Home Worship materials
  • Beginning in the week following Easter Sunday, write weekly pastoral reflections/devotions to be made available mid-week on appropriate congregational communications platforms
  • Initiate and promptly respond to email correspondence concerning congregational matters
  • Share with other leaders in the oversight of the congregation’s administrative needs
  • As appropriate, share in supervisory oversight of church employees
  • Strategically reach out to members of the congregation through various means (phone calls, emails, text messages, FaceTime, etc.), beginning with those most isolated and vulnerable (like the homebound) both as a way of offering pastoral care during a time of crisis and as a means to begin to get to know members of the congregation
  • Respond to crisis situations, reaching out and helping to coordinate engagement with persons and families in need of pastoral care
  • Reach out to various congregational leaders and committee chairpersons to help oversee and coordinate ministry initiatives, especially during the pandemic, with special attention initially to the following areas:
    • Social Ministry
    • Children’s Ministry
    • Youth Ministry
    • Young Adult Ministry
    • Confirmation Instruction
    • Christian Education for Children
    • Adult Christian Education
    • Music Ministry, with special attention to the search for a new full-time church musician
  • Participate in virtual meetings of the Congregation Council and other committees and groups as needed during this time of crisis
  • Further develop materials for the pastor’s page(s) on the church’s website
  • Studiously engage in discerning ways the documents associated with the congregation’s work with consultants during the pastoral interim period toward strategic visioning and possible future planning
  • Collaboratively discern with congregational leaders when it will be feasible and realistic for me to move to Arlington

This should be plenty to keep me occupied and engaged as your pastor, even as this work is undertaken remotely – in keeping with how most pastors are doing their work during this season of significant social distancing because of the pandemic.

What’s interesting to me about my listing, though, is that virtually everything I intend to engage in ministry from a distance is that which I would be focusing on anyway if I were present with you all in Arlington!

Meanwhile, please feel free to be in touch with me: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Here’s to our new beginning together. Please know also of my regular and ongoing prayer for you all at home and in our life together.

With such prayer in Jesus’ name,

The Rev. Jonathan Linman, Ph.D.

P.S. – I will keep you all posted about my son, Nathan’s, anticipated surgery when I have more definitive word from his surgeons about when it will happen.