Welcome Kirsten and David!

I am delighted to introduce to you two new members of our staff here at Light of Christ: Kirsten Kelly and David Schneck.  Kirsten is our new Director of Children, Youth, and Family Ministry and David is our new Associate Director of Children, Youth, and Family.  Let me tell you a little bit about both of them and what they'll be doing. 

Kirsten comes to Light of Christ from Zion Lutheran Church in Buffalo, where she served for six and half years as the Director of Children's Ministry, working primarily with preschool and elementary children and their families.  Prior to that she served for twelve years at Trinity Lutheran Church in Long Lake, working primarily with junior and senior high youth and their families.  Kirsten has a bachelor's degree in youth and family ministry from Augsburg University and she's done some master's degree work in youth and family ministry at Luther Seminary in St. Paul,  Kirsten and her husband, Dave, have lived in Delano for fourteen years now.  They have three sons: Ben, a seventh grader, Alex, a third grader, and Andrew, their newborn. 

David grew up in Fergus Falls and graduated this past May from Concordia College in Moorhead with a degree in mathematics.  David plays several instruments--piano, cello, guitar, and percussion--and he played in the Symphonia Orchestra and sang in the Concordia Choir.  He was also the captain of the tennis team and started a table tennis club.  For the past three summers he has served as a camp counselor at Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp in Montana.  

In the weeks and months ahead we will host opportunities for you to meet Kirsten and David and get to know them and and let them get to know you.  So keep an eye out for these opportunities.  Even better, take the initiative and introduce yourself to them. 

Kirsten will be working an average of sixteen hours per week (more than sixteen hours per week during the school year and fewer than sixteen during the summer).  Her primary responsibilities will be 1) overseeing our entire Children, Youth, and Family Ministry; 2) mentoring and supervising our Associate Director, David; 3) leading our strategic thinking and planning for our Children, Youth, and Family Ministry; 4) leading our ministry with our preschoolers and elementary aged children and their families: Sunday School, Ignite, Sparks, and Vacation Bible School; and 5) Bible camping. 

David will be working full-time and he will be focusing primarily and our middle and high school youth and their families.  His primary responsibilities will be 1) working with me in our confirmation ministry; 2) leading our high school youth fellowship/ministry; 3) leading our summer mission trip; 4) taking our youth to retreats, gatherings, and events; 5) leading our fundraising efforts for the mission trip and other youth events; 6) leading our Bible camp ministry; and 7) serving as a role model and mentor for our youth.  

Both Kirsten and David will collaborate with each other and serve in a supportive role to each other.  They will also work closely with our Children's Education and Youth Education Committees. 

I also want to let you know that our plan is to "grow" Kirsten's position.  Right now, with a newborn, an average of sixteen hours per week is "doable" for Kirsten and her family.  But as Andrew grows older and Kirsten has more time for work she, and we, want to gradually increase her hours until she is working full-time.  Ideally we would like to see the day when we have a full-time Director and a full-time Associate Director for Children, Youth, and Family Ministry.  

"Growing" Kirsten's position is part of what it means for us to "staff for growth."  I believe that congregations staff in three ways: for decline, for maintenance, and for growth.  Of course, no congregation staffs for decline on purpose but that's the net effect of their staffing decisions.  Other congregations staff to maintain the status quo.  But the most vital and visionary congregations staff for growth, that is, they give their staff members "room to grow" their ministry and to experiment with new and innovative ideas and programs. 

As you may recall we have been seeking to bring on board a very part-time "program coordinator" for our children, youth, and family ministry.  We realized that Rachel's job description was too big for any one person and so we were seeking to help her by hiring someone in this support role.  However, we didn't have any success in filling that position.  Now with Kirsten on board as our Director, the "program coordinator" position is "going the way of all flesh" (to quote the psalmist).  The duties we envisioned for the "program coordinator" will now be picked up by Kirsten, or David, or our Children's Education or Youth Education Committees.  

Once again, I can't tell you how delighted I am to have both David and Kirsten with us and I look forward to what the Spirit has in store for our Children, Youth, and Family Ministry.

Grace and peace always,


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