Crown of Life Lutheran Church & School




1292 Tally Ho Trail
Hubertus, WI  53033
262-628-2550

Come... My Lord wants me to worship Him

It is our mission to bring people into the Church of Jesus Christ by:

v  Creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere that is inviting to our members as well as the community we serve

v  Providing worship services which are spiritually uplifting, challenging the spiritually comfortable to re-evaluate their faith while comforting the burdened souls through the forgiving message of Christ

v  Providing all people in the community the opportunity to worship the Lord regardless of age or special needs

 

Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs… Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.  (Psalm 100:2,4)

Services

Regular Service Times

Sunday: 8:00 & 10:30 am
Thursdays: 7:00 pm


Holy Communion:
1st & 3rd weeks

Holy Communion may be received on the first and third Sundays -- both services, and on the Thursday before the corresponding services. Our guests who wish to partake of Holy Communion are asked to speak to the pastor before the service.

Prayer of the Week

Almighty God, we thank you for planting in us the seed of your Word.  By your Holy Spirit help us to receive it with joy and to bring forth fruits in faith and hope and love; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

What we Believe

We believe that the world was created by one God in six normal days. This God reveals himself in the Bible as one God in three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. His once perfect creation fell into imperfection because Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden.

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Invitation To Join Us

When a local congregation gathers for worship, education, or fellowship it tends to show its true colors. We can tell you what we are about, but we would love to show you. Our worship times are posted on this website. Our church and school staff is available throughout the week on our campus. Please, join us in any of the settings as you are able!

About Our Worship

Our Worship Team takes seriously the weekly task of providing worship that sets Christ Jesus as Savior at center stage. We place a high value on the way Christians have worshipped for centuries and model their patterns. At the same time we look to embrace new styles and settings that our Heavenly Father is presently giving to his Church in the interest of telling the news of his Son to every soul.

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About Pastor Helwig

Pastor Michael Helwig was born in Milwaukee in 1971. The sixth of eight children, he spent most of his elementary years in Two Rivers, WI until his family moved to Northern Wisconsin. His father served as school principal and teacher in various Lutheran schools. His mother held various careers in the medical field as a registered nurse.Michael Helwig - Pastor

 

Pastor and his wife, Rachel (Seiltz), have five children, who are presently in their elementary years. Pastor Helwig has a love for music of all kinds and plays piano, guitar and mandolin. Weekly he looks forward to his free time with his family at home. He loves the outdoors; especially camping, boating and fishing. The Helwig family looks forward to the many ways they are welcomed into the ministry of their church family at Crown of Life.

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About Pastor Strey

Johnold Jay Strey is the son of Johnold and Rayola Strey of Cedarburg, Wisconsin, where their family were members at Redeemer Lutheran Church. Pastor Strey attendedJohnoldStrey Calvary Lutheran School in Thiensville and Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School in Jackson, graduating in 1993. He began his formal education for the pastoral ministry at the former Northwestern College in Watertown Wisconsin, then continuing at Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minnesota, graduating in 1997. Pastor Strey continued his education for the ministry at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, Wisconsin, graduating in 2001. As a part of his seminary training, he was assigned as vicar at St. Paul’s First Lutheran Church in North Hollywood, California (part of Los Angeles proper) during the 1999-2000 school year.

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Crown Of Life History

PDF Version


 

 ChurchBuilding2016

 

The History of

Crown of Life Evangelical

Lutheran Church

Established 1970


 

 

On December 1, 1969, the first meeting was held at Al Pike's residence. Beginning exploration was stipulated in a call accepted by Pastor Ralph Martens of Faith, Sussex. Since the Pike family was a member of Faith and lived in Hubertus, they were asked to host preliminary meetings. Five families were present at this first meeting --Pike, Grosse, Gossfeld, Ruch and Lane.

 

The second meeting was held on January 20, 1970 at Al Pike's residence. Six families were present at the second meeting -- Pike, Grosse, Gossfeld, Ruch, Lane and Kidney (eleven attended). On January 31, 1970, eleven students from the seminary met at Al Pike's residence to canvas the Hubertus area.

 

The rental of the Friess Lake Fire Hall was negotiated with Friess Lake Advancement Association by A. Pike, R. Ruch and W. Gossfeld for $50 per month.

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The first church service was held in the Friess Lake Fire Hall on February 1, 1970, with 56 in attendance and 19 in Sunday School. Pastor Ralph Martens of Faith Lutheran in Sussex led the service. Hymnals, together with smaller items were kept in a locker we provided at the fire hall. The larger items were stored in Gossfeld's garage and had to be hauled down every Sunday and set up for services, after first clearing miscellaneous debris within the hall. Cindy Pike (at age 11) and Mrs. Raabe alternated as church organist.

In August of 1970, Pastor John Raabe, from the Synod Mission Board, agreed to serve our congregation, and on November 10, 1970, our congregation organized itself as Crown of Life Ev. Lutheran Church. The name of our congregation was suggested by Pastor Ralph Martens. The church constitution was adopted by our congregation on December 1, 1970. The Constitution Committee consisted of A. Pike, Richard Ruch, Layne Kidney, Walter Gossfeld and Pastor Raabe. Original typing was done by Mrs. Rita Cunard at Inland Diesel with booklets printed on Inland's printing press. The original printing of the constitution was kept in a brown (tag board) type loose leaf binder. There were additional pages at the back of the book that contained signatures, dates and addresses of our members as they were accepted into membership. In the early years, all new members were contacted by the Stewardship Committee and asked to sign the Constitution signifying their acceptance into membership. The book was normally kept in the Pastor's office.

A church choir was started and sang for the Children's Christmas Eve Service on December 20, 1970. Mrs. Raabe served as the first choir director. Mrs. Jean Holmburg served as the second choir director for the next six years. The choir rehearsed every Wednesday evening at the Holmburg's home until the church was built.HistoryImg2

 

A Bible Class, studying the Book of Revelation, was organized and held every second and fourth Thursday, at 7:30 p.m., at the R. Effert's, 4675 Hubertus Road.

 

The first Confirmation class for children met Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. with Dean Brooker, Roger Duffy, Susan Redrick, Cindy Pike and Pamela Lane being instructed.

 

Our congregation was incorporated on January 12, 1971.

The 1970 yearbook shows 16 families, 13 voting members, 32 communicants and 61 souls. Listed were:

Mr. & Mrs. Henry Brooker and Dean & Linda

Mr. & Mrs. William DeMunek and Randall & Cheryl

Mrs. Robert Effert and Daryl, Derek, Kim & Kelly

Mr. & Mrs. David Frailing and Beverly, Vicki & Jeffrey

Mr. & Mrs. Walter Gossfeld and Sandi & Shelli

Mrs. J. K. Dixner and Karl, David & Kristin

Mr. & Mrs. Dudley Eickstedt and Daniel & Donald

Mr. & Mrs. Kenneth Grosse and Mark, JoAnn, Gina & Tammy

Mr. & Mrs. Layne Kidney

Mr. & Mrs. Donald Kisch and Kevin & Kim

Mrs. Edmund Kryszewski

Mrs. Gerald Lane and David & Pamela

Mr. & Mrs. Alfred Pike and Cindy & James

Mr. & Mrs. Raymond Prosek and Michelle

Mr. & Mrs. Richard Ruch and Sally, Gary & Betsy

Mr. & Mrs. Gary Verhalen and Tamara

 

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On August 18, 1971, six acres of land on the corner of Hubertus Road and Tally Ho Trail were purchased for $10,500.
Duane Anderson, synod architect, was hired to draw preliminary plans and subsequent construction drawings.

 

On January 11, 1972, our congregation called a graduating seminary student as a permanent pastor. However, not enough men were graduating, and synod was short of funds, etc. On June 5, 1973, Pastor Paul Pankow was called as our first resident pastor.

 

On July 16, 1973, a parsonage was secured for $35,000 at 1450 Mount Lane; Hubertus, Wisconsin. This parsonage was purchased by our Wisconsin synod for use by Crown of Life. After the permanent home was built, our synod sold the property with all funds and profits, if any, going to the synod. Crown of Life paid no rent while Pastor Pankow and family lived there.

Ground breaking of the new church building took place on July 22, 1973, and on August 5, 1973, Pastor Paul Pankow was installed as our first resident pastor.

 

 

In late October of 1973, the actual construction of our church began. Harrison Duffy (member) obtained an excavator at HistoryImg4no charge to us and dug the basement. Duane Anderson, of our synod, was the architect. Basic construction was done by the contractor, but the bulk of the finishing work was done by the congregation and their friends.

Our new church was dedicated to the glory of God on December 1, 1974. An open house for the community was held on dedication Sunday. Pastors Pankow, Raabe, and Koeplien officiated at the dedication service in the evening. Opening ceremonies took place at the morning service.

 

A day school was provided at Peace, Hartford, for those families who were interested. Financial assistance for tuition costs was offered by the congregation.

On January 21, 1975, our congregation voted to establish youth and Pioneer groups, and our Lutheran Girl Pioneers were chartered in September of 1975.

To provide further Christian education opportunities, Crown of Life joined the Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School Federation on April 7, 1975.

 

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Construction of the new parsonage at 1282 Tally Ho Trail; Hubertus, Wisconsin began in November of 1974
at a cost of $38,000. It was completed in August of 1975. Its dedication was held on June 8, 1975.

On October 14, 1975, Crown of Life joined the Wisconsin Institutional Ministry. By December of 1975, the congregation had grown to 236 baptized souls, 144 communicants, and 56 voters.

On January 18, 1977, the congregation voted to be self- supporting. At this time 20 children of the congregation were attending Christian Day Schools of sister churches.

Mr. Mark Hinds was called on February 19, 1978 to become the principal and teacher of our new Christian Day School. Principal Mark Hinds was installed on July 9, 1978. Our Christian Day School was opened on August 28, 1978 with 30 children enrolled.

 

On October 17, 1978, the congregation resolved to allow Aid Association for Lutherans to establish a branch at Crown of Life.

Our school was growing, so on August 9, 1979; Miss Bethel Kock was installed as our first teacher of the primary grades. Forty children were enrolled when our Christian Day School opened with the addition of a Kindergarten. Miss Kock served our school until June of 1981.

With the school enrollment increasing, it was determined that an addition was needed for the school. July 13, 1980 saw the ground breaking for a two room school addition to be built. Fifty children were enrolled in our school at this time.

 

Our tenth anniversary under God's guidance was observed on November 7, 1980.

The new school addition was dedicated on January 18, 1981. Mrs. Margaret Hinds was installed as our Kindergarten teacher on August 23, 1981. At this time, Mrs. Linda Kasten was also installed as the new teacher of the primary grades. Fifty-nine students were under the daily Christian instruction of our three teachers. Mrs. Kasten served our school until June of 1983.

On July 10, 1983, Miss Lisa Jeske was installed as the new teacher of the primary grades in our school. Miss Jeske served our school until June of 1985.

A special anniversary service was held on October 28, 1984, in honor of Pastor Pankow's 25 years in the ministry.

On

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April 21, 1985, a farewell dinner was given for Pastor Pankow and his family. Pastor Pankow faithfully served our congregation for 11 years and 9 months, before accepting an exploratory mission call to Portage, Wisconsin.

 

Prof. Wayne Mueller served our congregationas interim pastor from April 22, 1985 until June 15, 1985. On June 23, 1985, Pastor John C. Schneidervin was installed as our second resident pastor.

 

The following year, on June 20, 1986, Miss Jean Christensen was installed as our new primary grades teacher. Miss Christensen served our school until July of 1988. Then Miss Gwen Kammueller was extended a one year call to serve as our primary grades teacher. She was installed on August 21, 1988. Miss Kammueller served our school until July of 1989. On February 12, 1989, Crown of life extended a call to Miss Sharon Becker to serve as our primary grades teacher. She accepted our call and was installed on July 30, 1989.

 

On April 26, 1993, Mr. Mark Hinds resigned as principal/teacher, and Mrs. Margaret Hinds resigned as teacher at Crown of Life. Our congregation then extended through our synod’s assignment committee a call to Mr. Mark Kahrs, who was graduating from Martin Luther College. He accepted our call and was installed as our new principal and upper grades teacher on July 25, 1993. The following year, on August 28, 1994, Mrs. Nancy Ebeling was installed as our new Kindergarten teacher.

 

The PEACE organizationof our congregationwas organized around this time. PEACE stands for "Parents Encouraging A Christian Education."

The fall of 1993 saw the rebirth of our youth group under the guidance of Mr. and Mrs. Mark Kahrs. The youth group endeavored to promote spiritual growth in the youth of our congregationthrough Youth Bible Classes on Sunday, as well as planned activities and outings. In 1995 some activities were also held with other area congregations.

 

As the 25th anniversary of the congregation was gradually approaching, the suggestion was made that the congregation try to acquire a complete set of new paraments in time for the 25th anniversary celebration. Throughout 1994 and early 1995 families of the congregation donated the present paraments being used in our church.

1995 was a year of excitement for our congregation. Not only had we reached our 25th year of service to our Lord, but we also embarked upon new endeavors to reach out to the community. As part of this endeavor, a Task Force was organized in the spring of 1995. The various committees in the Task Force were:

Community Outreach Projects - Coordinator, Linda Mejchar

New Member Assimilation - Coordinator, Jean Mueller

Athletic - Coordinator, Dwayne Ketterer

Social Activities - Coordinator, Susan Kahrs

Member Care - Coordinator, Evelyn Bublitz

Publicity - Coordinator, Beverly Schuelke

Recruitment - Coordinator, Vicki Lemke

 

We also began our Invisible Sunday School Program in September of 1995. Fifty-two reprint able lessons and small boxes of crayons were purchased for this program. Packets were assembled with a lesson, pages to color, and a box of crayons. These packets were then distributed to various area businesses to be offered to their customers at no charge to occupy the children of their customers. To date, we have businesses in the Menomonee Falls and Richfield areas participating in this endeavor.

In the fall of 1995, Crown of Life began a new K4 program, and Mrs. Becky Wierschem was hired to teach these young souls.

 

The exciting year of 1995 reached its concluding crescendo in the Christmas Day Song Service. Amid the praise to God for the gift of his SoHistoryImg7n Jesus, our gracious Lord moved the hearts of his people to give the last $18,000 that was needed to pay off the congregation’s Church Extension Fund Loan with our synod. The 25 year loan came due on December 31, 1995. By our Lord’s grace the loan was paid in full and on time. Our Lord’s Spirit had also moved our members to give $40,000 during the twelve weeks leading up to Christmas Day, 1995. This tremendous outpouring of gifts to pay off the congregation’s church loan concluded the Debt Retirement Program, which was begun in the fall of 1989 under the theme “My Love Gives From The Heart.” The program was kicked off with an every member visit that was conducted by Kenneth and Doris Chandler. In 1989, when the Debt Retirement Program was begun, the congregation owed $179,000 on its church. Between the fall of 1989 and Christmas Day of 1995 our Lord enabled his congregation of Crown Of Life to give $250,000 to pay off the principle and interest that was due on the loan. On January 28, 1996, the church officers of Crown of Life together with our pastor burned the mortgage at the conclusion of the Sunday worship service amid the joy and tears of our members.

 

 

In 1996 the congregation obtained a ten year Property Improvement Loan from AAL in the amount of $50,000. This loan made it possible to make much needed repairs and improvements to the church and to the parsonage, which had to be put off during the years our congregation was raising the funds to pay off its CEF church loan with our synod. The loan enabled us to repair the church roof and install new carpeting in the church, to pave the parking lot, and to install in the parsonage new windows and floor coverings in the kitchen and family room. Through offerings that the members gave over and above their weekly offerings, plus several large offerings which were given, our Lord enabled his congregation to pay off this ten year loan in two and a half years.

 

Our lower grades teacher Miss Sharon Becker was married and became Mrs. John Schmidt on June 8, 1996. She resigned effective June 1, 1997, before having her first child. On May 17, 1997, our congregation called from Martin Luther College through our synod’s assignment committee Mrs. Melanie Schoeneck to serve as our primary grades teacher. She accepted our call and was installed on August 3, 1997.

 

In 1996 Crown of Life’s Church Council formed a Constitutional Review Committee to review the congregation’s constitution and to look into writing a new one, which would better serve the congregation. Mr. Theodore Mech and Mr. Robert Washow were asked to serve as this committee. From the fall of 1996 through the spring of 1997 the two men met. They wrote a new constitution which was based on our synod’s most recent model constitution for congregations. The newly written constitution was submitted to the Church Council and to the voters for review. It was officially adopted at the voters’ meeting held in October, 1997.

 

The voters of Crown of Life approved in 1996 a Senior Vicar Program for our congregation. A senior seminary student would be asked to assist our pastor from September through May with the distribution of Holy Communion and to preach in one week’s services per month. The Lord blessed our congregation with its first senior vicar in September, 1996.

 

In April of 1997 special gifts were received for the purchase of our present candelabra, which stand on each side of the altar.

In early 1998 our congregation was informed of the need for an electronic keyboard to accompany the children when they sang in church. At that time our congregation also knew that its electric, tube driven organ was in a deteriorating condition. The voters therefore authorized Mrs. Sharon Schmidt and our pastor to price electronic pianos as well as electronic keyboards. They reported to the Board of Elders that a Yahama Clavinova electronic piano could be purchased for $4,000, not including the cost of its needed external amplifier and speakers. The Board of Elders recommended to the voters on October 27, 1998, that the electronic piano be purchased after it was brought in for a trial in our services. The voters approved purchasing this instrument and necessary equipment when sufficient funds could be obtained to supplement what was in the then current New Organ Fund. The congregation was advised of this decision. Within a few short weeks several families of our congregation gave special gifts which enabled us to purchase our current electronic piano, amplifier, and speakers. Mr. Jerome Zier of our congregation procured the external amplifier and speakers at a reduced price through his place of employment and installed them for us.

 

An Expansion Study Committee was formed in early 1998. Its assignment was to look into the possibility of our congregation’s building two or three above-ground classrooms, a gymnasium/fellowship hall, and a large narthex on the church to accommodate fellowship before and after our services. The committee held some preliminary meetings with the contracting firm of Anderson-Ashton. Afterwards, the committee conducted a survey of the congregation’s members to learn what new facilities they thought should be built. A number of listening sessions were conducted by Mrs. Christina Johnson in behalf of the committee to listen to the members’ suggestions for every room of the new facility if it were to be built. The results of the listening sessions and a report on a meeting with Anderson-Ashton were given to the voters in its October 27, 1998, quarterly meeting. The members of this committee were:

Mr. Theodore Mech, chairman

Mrs. Christina Johnson

Mr. Dale Garman

Mr. Dennis Sprenger

Mr. Scott Meissner

Mrs. Jeanette Meissner

Mr. Robert Bublitz

Mr. Robert Washow

Pastor Schneidervin, advisor

In the spring of 1998 our principal Mr. Mark Kahrs accepted a call to serve as principal of our sister congregation in Kewaskum. Our congregation extended a call to a graduating senior of Martin Luther College through our synod’s assignment committee. Our call for a graduating principal and upper grades teacher could not be filled. Afterwards, during the short time that our synod allowed calls to be extended to teachers in the field, our congregation issued two more calls. These calls were returned. At the voters’ meeting in July our congregation then asked Pastor Schneidervin to serve as its interim principal. He served in that capacity throughout the 1998/1999 school year. To fill the vacant classroom, Crown of Life extended a one year call to Mrs. Jennifer Kuske, the wife of our senior vicar for the coming school year. She accepted our one year call and was installed on August 30, 1998.

 

Throughout the years from 1993 to 1998 the enrollment of our day school had been declining, reaching a low of 8 students in the fall of 1998. During the 1998/1999 school year our interim principal and Board of Education began an energetic program to rebuild our school from the bottom up. The members of the board at the time were: Mr. Dale Garman, chairman; Mr. Dwayne Ketterer, Mr. Robert Hauck, and Mr. Timothy Selig. The board adopted a three pronged program for rebuilding the school. First, a recruitment program would be begun. Second, the curriculum would be updated, with the goal of making Crown Of Life’s Day School the best elementary school in the area. Third, the building of new school facilities would be sought, which would include two or three classrooms and a gymnasium. To kick off this program our interim principal visited every family in our congregation with school age children. He visited the parents who had their children in area public schools as well as the parents of the 8 children in our school at the time. Through these visits he listened to what the parents had to say about our school and what they thought was needed to make them interested in enrolling their children in our school. In these visits the interim principal also explained the three pronged program that the Board of Education had adopted to rebuild the school from the bottom up. In the spring of 1999 the interim principal and the newly elected chairman of the Board of Education, Chris Schneidervin, invited all the parents to an open meeting to discuss the findings from the visits. A number of parents attended and began to express interest in enrolling their children. Their doing so, however, depended upon Crown Of Life’s obtaining a full-time principal and teacher for the coming school year.

 

On December 24, 1998, upon having her first child, Mrs. Melanie Schoeneck resigned as our primary grades teacher. Mrs. Jennifer Kuske then assumed full responsibility for teaching the 8 children in our day school for the remainder of the school year.

 

The Board of Elders recommended to the Church Council and voters on October 27, 1998, that the congregation consider engaging our synod’s Parish Assistance Program. This recommendation was adopted and all the councilmen and various board members met with Rev. Ronald Heins of our synod’s Parish Assistance Program on November 24, 1998. He outlined the various phases of the Parish Assistance Program and its projected costs. On January 26, 1999, the Board of Elders recommended to the voters to engage Parish Assistance and explained how the program would be funded. The voters approved the recommendation.

 

During the first quarter of 1999 our interim principal shared with the members of Crown of Life and our Board of Education the idea of purchasing the equipment to install a weather net in our school. The weather net would bolster our reading, mathematics, science, and computer curriculums. Once connected to Milwaukee’s WITI-TV, Channel 6, weather net program, our school’s weather net would also give our school tremendous exposure and advertising on the Channel 6 weather programs. This idea was warmly received. Within a few weeks members gave special gifts and memorials in excess of $4,500 to purchase the equipment.

 

On February 20, 1999, members of our congregation attended the first Parish Assistance Seminar, which was conducted by Rev. Ronald Heins in the hall of the Pioneer Bowling Alley. This seminar led the congregation to approve entering Phase II, the Analysis, of the Parish Assistance Program.

 

On February 22, 1999, our congregation extended a call to Mr. Wade R. Cohoon II, to serve as our principal and teacher of all eight grades. Our gracious Lord led him to be excited about what Crown Of Life was doing to build its school for the next century and new millennium. He was eager to be a part of our school program and accepted our call on March 3, 1999.

 

In April, 1999 the Crown of Life Expansion Committee added three members to work on arranging the financing for the proposed education and fellowship facility. The three added members to work on this financing project with Mr. Theodore Mech, the Expansion Committee Chairman, were: Mr. William Mattson, Mr. Richard Klingele, and Mr. Dwayne Ketterer. Mrs. Deborah Mattson assisted them with typing up and creating an attractive booklet on the financial information of our congregation to submit to the various lending institutions for consideration. The membership of the Expansion Committee then consisted of:

Mr. Theodore Mech, chairman

Mr. Robert Bublitz

Mr. Dale Garman

Mr. Dwayne Ketterer

Mr. Richard Klingele

Mrs. Vickie Lemke

Mr. William Mattson

Mr. Dennis Sprenger

Mr. Robert Washow

Principal Wade Cohoon, advisor

Pastor Schneidervin, advisor

 

Mrs. Becky Wierschem, who had been hired to teach our K4 program, asked to be relieved of her position on June 1, 1999.

Principal Wade Cohoon was installed on July 18, 1999. The school opened that fall with sixteen students enrolled.

 

During the summer of 1999 Mrs. Ginger Bonow was interviewed by our Board of Education for the position of teaching our K4 class. She was given the position soon after her interview and she started teaching the class in September.

 

On July 18, 1999, the voters authorized a special fund drive within the congregation to raise the preliminary money needed to proceed with the building of the proposed new education and fellowship facility. The voters commissioned Mr. Chris Schneidervin and Pastor Schneidervin to put a capital fund raising program together for the congregation. They designed the Forward by Faith special offering program, which was developed as a PowerPoint computer presentation and was also printed in color for an every family visit.

In the summer of 1999 our Information Technology Group also began an energetic program to obtain and install up-to-date computers, printers, and computer programs in our school. This was done in the interest of furthering our computer curriculum for the children. A family also donated a new computer and printer to begin the equipping of a school/church office.

The installation of the weathernet equipment in August of 1999 was overseen by our newly formed Information Technology Group. Our weathernet was made active by the middle of September, 1999.

 

The team of callers for the Forward by Faith special offering program were assembled and trained in early September, 1999. The team started their family visitations on September 19, 1999, and concluded them by October 17, 1999. A Special Gift & Commitment Sunday was conducted on October 24, 1999. On that day our gracious Lord moved the hearts of his people to give $120,000, plus additional 3 year pledges totaling $129,000. The team of callers were:

Mr. Dennis Sprenger

Mr. David Schneidervin

Mrs. Linda Mejchar

Mrs. Vickie Lemke

Mrs. Carla Stanossek

Mrs. Jeanette Mueller

Mrs. Doris Chandler

Miss. Shirley Radeck

Mr. Chris Schneidervin

 

On October 31, 1999, our congregation extended to Mrs. Ginger Bonow a teacher’s call to teach the K4 program and to help us begin planning a K3 program as well.

Phase II of the Parish Assistance Program was completed on November 5 & 6, 1999 with the presentation of the Diagnostic Analysis Report. Phase III of the program was then begun with a Listening Thursday and Sunday to hear the members’ concerns and suggestions for our congregation. This information was then given to our newly formed Vision of Ministry Planning Task Force. The members of the Task Force were:

Mr. Timothy Holmes

Mrs. Deborah Mattson

Mrs. Sharon Schmidt

Mrs. Vickie Lemke

Mrs. Catherine Washow

Principal Cohoon

Pastor Schneidervin.

 

At their annual meeting in January, 2000, the voters approved the proposal for constructing two above ground classrooms with a gymnasium/fellowship facility. The voters gave their approval to the Expansion Committee’s interviewing and hiring an architect and building contractor. After interviewing several architectural firms, the Expansion Committee in February, 2000, hired Excel Engineering to be our architect.

 

On March 4, 2000, the Vision of Ministry Task Force began to meet weekly to write a Mission Statement.

Enrollment in grades 1 to 8 was beginning to pick up. It was estimated we would have about 20 or more children enrolled in those grades at the start of the 2000-2001 school year. Our congregation then issued a call to Mrs. Susan Mueller on April 4, 2000, to serve as our primary teacher. Our Lord moved her to be excited about the rebuilding of our school and she accepted our call.

 

In April, 2000, after interviewing several building contractors, the Expansion Committee hired C.D. Smith to be our general contractor.

In April, 2000, the voters gave their final approval to construct the education and fellowship facility with the financing to be arranged through FirstStar Bank.

The Vision of Ministry Task Force concluded its work on June 10, 2000. It then submitted its Vision of Ministry Mission Document to the Church Council and then to the members of the congregation. The Vision of Ministry Mission Document envisioned a new organizational structure that would enable our congregation to carry out the Vision of Ministry it was presenting.

 

On July 6, 2000, the Town of Richfield Planning Commission approved the building plans that our congregation’s architect, Excel Engineering, submitted to it.

A Ground Breaking Service was conducted on July 23, 2000, for the construction of our new education and fellowship facility. This service was conducted at the end of an outdoor service, in which Mrs. Susan Mueller was installed, and in connection with a church picnic that followed.

 

In September of 2000 our new K3 program started up. About 20 children were enrolled in the K3 and K4 programs during the 2000/2001 school year.

The voters adopted the Vision of Ministry Mission Statement with its proposed organizational restructuring at their quarterly meeting held on October 29, 2000. A new Leadership Team would replace the existing Church Council. The members of the Leadership Team were elected by the voters. We began the forward by faith program which helped to focus the congregation on moving forward in our ministry, not just in expansion, but also in all mission areas. Our focus is to be a church driven by ministry, basing our priorities on the enhancement of the Lord’s Kingdom. We do this by focusing our efforts in the areas of ministry defined in 2001: Come, Join, Grow Adult, Grow Child, Serve, and Share

 

Our pastor started Bible study classes for our new Adult Spiritual Growth Program in September, 2000. This program was a part of our Adult Grow Vision of Ministry Program, which was under the leadership of Mr. Robert Washow. The first classes were overview courses of the Old and New Testaments and an Adult Information Class. Twenty-five adults enrolled in these first classes. Additional classes are being planned, namely: Church & Ministry, Gifted to Serve, Role of Man and Woman, and Team Leadership. The classes are being offered to all communicant members of our congregation. Attendance in these classes is required of all leaders, men and women, of our congregation.

 

Our general contractor, C.D. Smith, started construction of the education and fellowship facility on October 22, 2000, which included two or three above-ground classrooms, a gymnasium/fellowship hall, and a large narthex on the church to accommodate fellowship before and after our services. Construction of our new $930,000 facility was completed in May 2001, and the grounds around our new facility and church were landscaped.

 

Following our adopted Vision of Ministry Mission Statement with its new organizational structure, the members of our new Leadership Team took office on January 1, 2001. The team members were:

The Executive Committee:

Mr. Theodore Mech, president

Mr. Michael Mejchar, secretary

Mr. William Mattson, controller

Pastor Schneidervin, advisor

Mission Overseers:

Mr. Dennis Sprenger, Come Overseer

Mr. James Pier, Join Overseer

Mr. Robert Washow, Adult Grow Overseer

Mr. Robert Hauck, Child Grow Overseer

Mr. Kim Lemke, Serve Overseer

Mr. Charles Schultz, Share Overseer

Under our new organizational structure a Shared Services Group was created to support the Executive Committee. The Shared Services Group consisted of:

Mrs. Deborah Mattson, Technology Coordinator

Mrs. Jayne Jungmann, the Administrative Coordinator

Mr. John Quill, the Building & Grounds Coordinator.

 

Mrs. Sharon Schmidt was installed as Crown of Life’s Director of Music on January 28, 2001. This new position was created as part of our Come-Worship Vision of Ministry Program.

In 2001 Crown of Life remained dedicated to its community outreach as it has been for years. The Great Commission is the basis by which our Evangelism Team members endeavor to reach our community. Mr. Timothy Holmes has spearheaded our evangelism efforts for many years with the assistance of his wife Diane. They continue their efforts under our Share Vision of Ministry Program, which is headed by our Share Mission Overseer, Mr. Charles Schultz. We currently have 11 neighborhood block watch families, who deliver 2,200 fliers every month. We also subscribe to a service that provides us with names and addresses of new families who have moved into our area. These new families are sent a welcome brochure and invitation to visit Crown of Life’s church and school. We then attempt to personally visit as many of these new families as possible to extend an invitation to learn of their Savior through our various programs. Special Easter and Christmas invitations are sent to the 115 families on our unchurched mailing list. In the future we will look into various ways in which we can use our new facilities to reach the unchurched in our local area.

 

Starting in March, 2001, on the weekends and on evenings during the week, a great many members, women as well as men, began painting the interior of our education and fellowship facility, which was still under construction at the time. Even though the concrete floor of the gymnasium had not yet been poured and the floor was dirt with piles of gravel scattered about, our members began painting the interior walls and ceiling of the gymnasium, as well as the bathrooms, the kitchenette, and the balcony. As the construction of the interior hallways and classrooms progressed, our many members painted those areas. Amid the on-going construction and painting Mr. Jerome Zier began installing our modern fire alarm system with its wiring, as well as the wiring for our computer network which was designed by our Information Technology Group.

Construction of our new facility was completed on May 31, 2001. Numerous members then pitched in to help with the massive clean-up that had to be done. On June 9, 2001, an Arbor Day was held. Under the direction of Mr. Kim Lemke and Mr. Dennis Sprenger the grounds around our new facility and our church were landscaped. Under the leadership of Mr. Robert Bublitz, our head painter, together with Principal Wade Cohoon the exterior of our church began to be repainted to match the colorHistoryImg8s of our new education and fellowship facility.

 

During the summer months our Principal Wade Cohoon, our staff of teachers, and our Christian Education Committee, together with other members moved the furnishings and materials for the classrooms of grades 1 through 8 from the downstairs classrooms to the newly constructed above-ground classrooms. At the same time the downstairs classrooms were repainted and set up to accommodate our kindergarten and preschool programs. Amid the moving of the classrooms a new office area was also set up in the smallest of the three downstairs classrooms. Members donated materials and furnishings for our new classrooms and fellowship area. The new education and fellowship facility was dedicated on September 23, 2001.

 

The first day of school for our children and teachers in our new education facility took place on August 22, 2001. This first school day in the new facility began with an opening service conducted by Pastor Schneidervin, with Mrs. Ginger Bonow serving as the organist.

 

On July 31, 2003 after serving our congregation for eighteen years, Pastor John Schneidervin retired. A call to serve as our third resident pastor was sent to Pastor Michael Helwig. Pastor Helwig accepted the call, and became our third resident pastor on September 7, 2003.

The first Pig Roast was held in June 2004 with the purpose of reaching out to the community. It is not the primary purpose to get more COL members (though this has happened), but rather to create an opportunity for believers to have conversation with unbelievers, to redirect straying souls back to faith and their congregations, and to create community awareness of our congregation.

 

In 2005, more than $500,000 was remaining on the building loan. That debt was paid, and by January of 2006, we owed the bank nothing and were $4,000 in the black. (That $4,000 was generously given to Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School.) In December 2005 Crown of Life held its first Annual Living Nativity.

 

In 2006, Crown of Life began offering day care to its members and the community. Day care began with ten children (seven of which were non-members), but rapidly grew to the point in 2012 that children were being turned away due to insufficient room.

By 2007, Crown of Life has over 350 souls with a school enrollment of 39 students. Starting in 2007, Crown of Life participated in the tree lighting ceremony, caroling, and Christmas in Richfield. This provided an opportunity to be involved in the community. On July 8, 2007 Pastor John Mattek was installed as our assistant pastor, and served until November 15, 2009.

Though Crown of Life had offered Vacation Bible School through the past, it was in 2010 that we partnered with Camp Philip to organize and teach Vacation Bible School at Crown of Life.HistoryImg9

 

Ground breaking was held for a major expansion project on April 29, 2012. We have a growing congregation and need more room for service attendance, special services (families have to use another church for weddings, funerals, etc.), Bible studies, and committee meetings (the kitchen or hallways are now used). The Day Care is full and at legal limit, so we are turning people away. This $3,300,000 expansion will provide 21,497 square feet of much needed space for our church and school with a new sanctuary, education wing with five classrooms, a large fellowship area, and an all-purpose / Bible study room. With the donation of labor by the WELS Kingdom Workers ($200,000) and member materials and work donations ($500,000), Crown of Life only needed a mortgage of $2,000,000.

 

HistoryImg11

During 2012 and early 2013, WELS Kingdom Workers worked with our members to build an above-ground school facility. Through their efforts, they enabled us to expand our school’s physical facilities and enhance our programs that are designed to glorify his name. With the expanded facilities, our child care can once again reach out to more in our community and hopefully touch many more people with the saving knowledge of our Savior.

 

Dedication service for our new sanctuary was held on May 12, 2013. Our membership was 423 baptized souls, 323 communicants, and a school enrollment of 44 students.

HistoryImg12

In 2015, Crown of Life was blessed with an outdoor chapel area through the generous donation of a family in our congregation. This area can seat approximately 30 people, and it has been used for a small wedding, photo opportunities for confirmation, and midweek chapel services. It is a peaceful area for private meditation.

 

 

HistoryImg13
In February 2016 Crown of Life called an associate pastor to help with our growing membership and ministry. At this time our membership had grown to 495 baptized souls, 381 communicants, and 165 voters, with a school enrollment of 37 students. On September 25, 2016, Crown of Life was blessed to install Pastor Johnold Strey as our first associate pastor.

 

 

 

Pastors

(* indicates resident pastor)

      Pastor Ralph Martens          - pastor at Faith, Sussex helped organize our congregation

      Pastor John Raabe              - from Synod Mission Board, August, 1970 to August 1973

*   Pastor Paul Pankow             - first resident pastor, August 5, 1973 to April 21, 1985

      Prof. Wayne Mueller          - vacancy pastor from April 22, 1985 to June 15, 1985

*   Pastor John Schneidervin    - second resident pastor June 23, 1985 to July 31, 2003

*  Pastor Michael Helwig      - third resident pastor September 7, 2003to present

*   Pastor John Mattek              - assistant pastor July 8, 2007 to November 15, 2009

*   Pastor Johnold Strey         - assistant pastor September 25, 2016 to present

Senior Vicars

      Seminarian Michael Helwig                  - September, 1996 through May, 1997

      Seminarian Daniel Heiderick                - September, 1997 through May, 1998

      Seminarian Matthew Kuske                  - September, 1998 through May, 1999

      Seminarian Anthony Fix                        - September, 1999 through May, 2000

      Seminarian William Ritchie                  - September, 2000 through May, 2001

      Seminarian Christian Christenson         - September, 2001 through May 2002

      Seminarian William Cornelius              - September 2002 through May 2003   

      Seminarian Peter Sulzle                         - September 2003 through May 2004

      Seminarian James Hoogervorst             - September 2004 through May 2005

      Seminarian Timothy Berg                     - September 2005 through May 2006

      Seminarian Brad Krause                        - September 2006 through May 2007   

      Seminarian Zach Gerbert                       - September 2011 through May 2012

      Seminarian Jeffrey Grundmeier            - September 2012 through May 2013

      Seminarian Jeremy Wosje                     - September 2013 through May 2014

      Seminarian Ben Zuberbier                     - September 2014 through May 2015

      Seminarian Greg Sitzman                      - September 2015 through May 2016

      Seminarian Christian Marquardt           - September 2016 through


Teachers

(* indicates principal … blue indicates present staff)

*    Mr. Mark Hinds                                     - July 9, 1978 to July 16, 1993

      Miss Bethel Kock                                  - August 9, 1979 to June, 1981

      Mrs. Margaret Hinds                             - August 23, 1981 to July 16, 1993

      Mrs. Linda Kasten                                 - August 23, 1981 to June, 1983

      Miss Lisa Jeske                                      - July 10, 1983 to June of 1985

      Miss Jean Christensen                           - June 20, 1986 to July of 1988

      Miss Gwen Kammueller                        - August 21, 1988 to July of 1989

      Mrs. Sharon (Becker) Schmidt              - July 30, 1989 to June 1, 1997

*    Mr. Mark Kahrs                                     - July 25, 1993 to June 30, 1998

      Mrs. Nancy Ebeling                               - August 28, 1994 to July 15, 2006

      Mrs. Becky Wierschem                        - August of 1995 to June, 1999

      Mrs. Melanie Schoeneck                       - August 3, 1997 to December 24, 1998

      Mrs. Jennifer Kuske                               - August 30, 1998 to June, 1999

*    Mr. Wade R. Cohoon II                         - July 18, 1999 to July 31, 2011

      Mrs. Ginger Bonow                               - November 14, 1999 to April of 2008

      Mrs. Susan Mueller                                - July 23, 2000 to July 15, 2008           

      Mrs. Sharon Schmidt                             - September 2004 to the present

      Mrs. Rebecca Lindenberg                     - July 15, 2006 to July 15, 2009

      Mrs. Kristine Franz                                - June 15, 2008 to the present

      Miss Elisabeth (Janke) Babinec             - July 15, 2009 to July 15, 2011

      Mrs. Glori Adams                                  - August, 2009 to the present

*    Mr. Eric Troge                                       - August 1, 2011 to the present

      Mrs. Melissa Sipe                                  - July 15, 2011 to October 19, 2015

     Mrs. Anna Greenman                             - October 19, 2015 to June 30, 2016

      Mrs. Sarah Enstad                                 - September 22, 2016 to the present

  

We pray that the Lord continues to bless us according to his gracious will,

to move us to meet the challenges that are be placed before us,

and give us the wisdom to manage well what he has entrusted to us.

To God be all glory!

You Are Living Stones

1 Peter 2: 4, 9 (Easter 5 -2017)

                       

“You yourselves, like living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ … You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2: 4, 9)

“You are Living Stones”

You really are His people. You really have been built into a spiritual family, a holy calling of saints. You are God’s own possession for eternally good reasons. You are able and allowed to handle holy things!

We have been celebrating the Resurrection for five Sundays now. The scent breakfast and lilies has long faded, however. The attendance has diminished to the faithful few. Days off from school and work for family have ended. It is back to the grindstone of labor, education, spring chores, and the myriad of obligatory dates on the May calendars.

You really still are His people. You really are part of a spiritual family, a holy calling of saints. You are still God’s own possession for eternally good reasons. You are able and allowed to handle holy things!

It does not always feel that way, does it? It certainly did not always seem that way for the beat down churches of early Christianity. The Spirit moved Peter, at least twice, to circulate letters of strong encouragement to those early Christians. Those letters are saturated with the news that a crucified Jesus rose from the grave. He lives and loves to bless his people. Those letters are saturated with messages for his Living Stones to shine through the gloom of earthly things with the Light of Jesus!  

You, like living stones - are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession … offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

Fashioned By Christ

Peter speaks of a spiritual building of stones. He speaks of the one true Stone, Christ Jesus, as the Founding Stone that sets the tone for the rest of the spiritual house of God. “See I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” People that teach and learn of Christ as the Son of God, have the cornerstone for living for him and like him.

Peter was calling the people to the holy life that God expects of all of us. In the first chapter he had said, “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.”

Be holy!?!? Us!? Me?! We are completely the opposite of holiness. We are shamefully, and regretfully, sinful. Peter speaks about ridding ourselves of “malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind” (2:1). These are sinful attitudes that live and breathe in my heart and yours. Without Christ as the chief cornerstone, it is impossible for us to set the tone for Christian unity and life. Pride, jealousy and false fronts can rise up even among well intended Christian people. Then there is the attitude of false humility. “I am not good enough, send someone else” was just the tone of a Moses who found a devilish excuse for doing nothing!

But, WE don’t set the founding stone. The true foundation and tone-setter is Christ Jesus. Like the founding stone in a building, Christ is the foundation of the Christian Church. In him sinful attitudes are removed. In him true perfection is accomplished. Peter writes later on in the letter, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed” (2:24).

Peter says, “To those of you who believe in him he is a precious stone.” Jesus is the precious stone. He is more valuable than any earthly price could measure. His life blood sacrifice means our salvation has been made complete.We cherish life with him through his Rising from death. He is precious because he is living. The crucified Lord, who gave life as an offering, rose to victory over death on Easter morning. He is the Living Stone, and because “he lives, you also will live.” (John 14:19)

Living For Christ

Living Stones “offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” And they are pleasing to him. God has called us from sin and unbelief to be a part of Christ through faith. The Spirit gives faith through Water and the Word. The Spirit and faith is the binding mortar that unites you to Christ and each other. The fruits of our faith reflect who Christ is. And though we may all be individual stones together we all reflect the face of Christ Jesus and therefore live in conformity to his words of life and truth and love.

That is why Peter says, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (12). Our Savior said the same thing: “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16). Patterned after Christ the true living stone, our new face shines in this dark world. God has built us in to a living house of his kingdom. It is a kingdom of grace and forgiveness. It is a kingdom of love and joy. It is a kingdom of fellowship and Christian service toward others.

You really still are His people. You really are part of a spiritual family, a holy calling of saints. You are still God’s own possession for eternally good reasons. You are able and allowed to handle holy things!

What does that look like? Think of the many times the Bible speaks of one body with many parts; one Chief Cornerstone with many stones built upon it. No one stone is alike, yet all are bound to Christ and each other. What moves Isaiah to shout out “Woe to me, I am ruined?” Certainly it was the reality of his own sins in the sight of God’s holiness. What caused the same Isaiah moments later to shout “Here Am I, send me!” Certainly the angelic news from God’s altar: “See this has touched your lips and your sin is atones for!” (Isaiah 6: 1-7)

You really still are His people. You really are part of a spiritual family, a holy calling of saints. You are still God’s own possession for eternally good reasons. You are able and allowed to handle holy things!

What does that look like? Living stones living for Christ:

  • Moms & dads; husbands & wives; children asking for forgiveness, and retuning the same in Christ.
  • Beat down or not, families with open Bibles and constant prayers whether others are watching or not.
  • Living Stones living out their careers with integrity and joy in the face of those who choose not to.
  • Beat down or not, church leaders leading with courage and joy in the face of those who will not.
  • Persecuted or not, children and young adults who aspire to live Christ-like among those who will not.
  • Putting the small ones down for a nap with a song; digging a hole that needs to be dug; finding a good way to rest body and soul; avoiding temptations … when others are looking or not.
  • Finishing something well - anything well - even finishing life itself well by faith in our Risen Christ!

These are all holy things to God when they are done by faith in Christ! You really still are His people. You really are part of a spiritual family, a holy calling of saints. You are still God’s own possession for eternally good reasons. In Christ you are able and allowed to handle holy things!

As elegant, useful, different & beautiful the stones of this very sanctuary are - they pale in comparison to Living Stones Living as Christ’s holy people. The conversations, the ministry, the fellowship, the deeds of love for the sake of the Gospel, and the joy of knowing life in heaven is our true joy - are all “offerings of spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Amen.    

Know the Cast of Good Shepherd Sunday

John 10: 1-17 (Good Shepherd 2017)

“Know the Cast of Good Shepherd Sunday”

               Do you read the whole playbill before a performance? Do you enjoying knowing the cast of characters, the bio’s of the actors, the bigger picture? Today Jesus casts a light on a cast of characters that we must know. This is not a play. This is not pretend. This is for keeps. These are characters in the matters of life and death!

                I want you to get to know the cast of characters of Good Shepherd Sunday. You know them better than you suppose. You see them every day … as Jesus, your Shepherd, leads you out “like sheep among wolves” (Matthew 10:16). But do not drift away from the voice of that same Jesus who says “fear not, I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1).

Strangers & Hired Hands Run Away

                There are many voices calling us away from the safety of the Shepherd. The tricky part is that they appear to be helpful. They appear friendly. They appear to be on our side … at first. They have your best interest in mind. They offer happiness and good things. They have a veneer of actually caring about you. They show affection and offer acceptance when no one else seems to. A lonesome, lost sheep is low-hanging fruit for strangers and hired hands.

                The watered-down theology of world seems so inviting, but in the end it is poison and filth. Wealth, power, recognition, prestige are invitations to hungry sheep longing to be filled. Self-help, popularity, substance abuse, being in with a crowd (even if it’s a bad one) seems like a welcoming pasture for lonely sheep. Lonely or depressed we readily run for those dried-up fields. When we reach those dangers places the world pulls the wool from our eyes and runs away.

When there, the strangers and hired hands pretend they never led us there. They have us looking for more of the same. When things get really, really bad the strangers and hired hands are nowhere to be found, especially when the Wolf comes lurking. The characters of this world have been his minions all the while. They wanted your company in their misery and turned out to be nothing but characters of betrayal. Even they are afraid of the Wolf!

Even then the Shepherd is actively searching and calling. Do you hear His Voice in the distance?

“Fear not, I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1).

 

There Is a Wolf & Thief Who Kills

But make no mistake … there is a Wolf who comes to kill. There is a Thief who wants to rob you of all that Christ has given to you. There is a Devil. “He prowls around like a roaring Lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8). The strangers and hired hands know who he is. He has come for them already. Their true “fair-weather” colors will be revealed. Even they fear the presence of the Wolf that sent them to do his dirty work for him.

We do well to know there is a Devil. We do well to “be self controlled and alert.” It was the job of others to dull our minds to the fact. He loves it when sheep don’t think there is danger. He especially loves it when the sheep stop thinking the HE is their bigger danger! He lavishes the thought that you don’t acknowledge him. But he will attack when he deems it necessary! And it is always a necessity for him. He comes “only to steal and kill and destroy.” He comes and “attacks the flock and scatters it.”

When we get to the dangerous places by following voices we did not trust. But at least they were voices! From a distance bad theology looks good (the Thief of truth knew that trick in the garden already). From a distance the shores of worldly affection seemed so inviting (“pleasing to the eye” was the other trick the Wolf knew, too). All those pastures of prestige, wealth, lust, power, drug, and half-truths turned out to be rocky dangerous deserts on the way that leads to our eternal destruction.

 

Even then the Shepherd is actively searching and calling. Do you hear His Voice in the distance?

“Fear not, I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1).

You are His Sheep

A scattered flock means scattered sheep. Scattered sheep mean sheep “without a shepherd.” So many characters! So many invitations! So many pastures from which to choose! Scattered sheep know that they have needs. They just are not very good at finding those needs met on their own. Sheep who from the fold did stray, have we stopped to remember that we are prone to be our biggest harm?

Our sinful state is far too foolish. The Thief is far too clever. The Wolf hides in his sheep-skin long enough for us to create our own temptations and our own solutions for finding a way out. It is not good for the flock to be scattered. It is not good for sheep to wander off alone away from the voice of the True Shepherd. A scattered flock means scattered foolish sheep. Scattered sheep mean “sheep without a shepherd.”

Still you are one of His sheep: “Fear not, I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1). How? I lay down my life for them, only to take it back up again,” Jesus the True Shepherd says. Redemption comes from the sacrifice of the Lamb who is our Shepherd. He gives us eternal food in his true words. His springs of living water are forever etched in the pages of the certain things we know he says and promises. In those pages, from that voice we learn of the true intentions our Good Shepherd. My sheep hear my voice and I know them.”

Jesus Has Other Sheep

                Your Good Shepherd wants you to know that there are more sheep to be gathered. “I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice. The there will be one flock and one Shepherd.” Does it enter our minds that the Shepherd who “leads us out like sheep among wolves” has sent us not to be lost and killed again, but to gather those who remain lost? He sends us back into the dangerous places where he found us … where the wolf lies in wait.

Learn from the hired-hands how not to be one yourself. Jesus desires that we share his concern for the scattered ones. The gathered sheep are also called to shoulder the lost back to the Shepherd’s voice. The gathered sheep are led out of the fold each day to bring back the ones who have run away. Sheep who know the Shepherd’s voice know to beckon those who don’t. As clearly as we hear the Shepherd’s voice do we hear the bleating of the lost ones?

Jesus is not just thinking of evangelism. Gathered sheep care about the safety of all sheep. Are we looking out for one another? Are we using the words of the Shepherd to be our “brother’s keeper”? Are we willing to face the dangerous places and things to help shepherd our fellow sheep back to the safety of the fold? The Shepherd loves more! The Shepherd has a staff that kills and carries. The Shepherd calls: “Fear not, I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1).

Know the Shepherd; Know the Way

There is the old adage: “It takes one to know one.” So Paul speaks: “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5: 20).

                The Shepherd literally took on our skin and bones. He became one with the sheep by becoming the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1: 29). This Lamb felt the blows we feel, but worse … much worse. This Lamb was led to slaughter and kept his mouth shut long enough spill his blood on the final altar for sin. This Lamb died so that no sheep was to be lost. He robbed the Thief of his loot. He killed the Wolf and left him bleeding in Hell. He gathers His sheep to his Father’s fold. He lives! He took up his life so that he could say loudly: “No one can snatch them out of my hand!” I want … I need … a Shepherd like that! We all do! And we all have Christ Jesus as our true Shepherd! He is the one who gives true and everlasting life to his Sheep. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and we go to the father through Christ (John 14: 6). The leading cast member is always the Good Shepherd Jesus.

Sheep who from the fold did stray are not by Are not by the Lord forsaken;

Weary souls who lost their way Are by Christ, the Shepherd, taken

In his arms that they may live – Jesus sinners does receive. (CW 304: 3)