Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ at St. Matthew Lutheran Church,

Following our congregational meeting on June 12, I’d first like thank everyone who was able to attend and provide their questions, perspective and support. I feel we had a very productive meeting, and always enjoy our time together—especially in the beautifully renovated Fellowship Room!

As we understand not everyone could attend this session, the following is a recap of the meeting topics and outcomes:

State of the Church Updates

  • Average weekly attendance continues to strengthen post-Covid, bolstered by online worship, which will continue to be an important component of worship at St. Matthew
  • Physical space for in-person worship is projected to be an ongoing challenge, and all members of the congregation are asked to begin contemplating and praying over what future space improvements might look like, understanding our ultimate goal is to bring more people to know Christ and expand His Kingdom
  • In preparation for a Senior Pastor transition the staff will begin working with an external consulting firm to better define St. Matthew’s vision and mission as we continue to grow

Board of Directors Elections

  • We are pleased to welcome Nancy Dryburgh as a newly elected member of the Board, and are thankful for her willingness to serve in this capacity

Endowment Fund Overview

  • St. Matthew is blessed to oversee distributions from several components of our endowment fund, which reaches people in need both locally and abroad
  • Our Endowment Committee provides strong fiduciary oversight to the process of managing and distributing funds, creating a trusted destination for large financial gifts

Financial Overview & 2022/23 Budget

  • We closed the 2021/22 budget year with a surplus, as strong giving overcame an inflationary environment where fringe benefits (health care) drove headwinds in projected expenses
  • Moving into the new budget year, the congregation approved a balanced budget (details can be obtained through the church office)

Senior Pastor Transition

  • After vetting the latest list of Senior Pastor candidates provided by the Michigan District, the Call Committee has approved pursuance of a transition plan to ultimately consider extending a call to Pastor Matthew Starner, currently Associate Pastor of Worship Arts at St. Mathew
  • Pastor Starner has been prayerfully considering this path for several months, and is eager and willing to serve our congregation in this capacity
  • While not currently eligible to be called as our Senior Pastor, Pastor Starner has established plans through the Seminary to complete all remaining coursework to be eligible for a call by summer/fall 2023
  • When appropriate, the Board of Directors will establish a new Call Committee, abiding by the Constitution of St. Matthew and all process requirements of the Michigan District and the Missouri Synod
  • This Call Committee will conduct the same level of due diligence it has performed with all other Senior Pastor candidates
  • If the Call Committee recommends Pastor Starner to be called as Senior Pastor, a voter’s meeting will be scheduled, and a vote will be taken in accordance with our Constitution and Bylaws
  • In the interim, St. Matthew will maintain its current pastoral structure, with Pastor Rob Appold serving as Senior Pastor, and Pastor Matthew Starner serving as Associate Pastor, Worship Arts

As you can see, God has done great things through our Pastors, staff and members throughout the past year. Thank you for everything you do for St. Matthew, and for your continued prayers for God’s Kingdom to come among us.

In His service,

Brandon Lupp

Chairman, St. Matthew Board of Directors

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