Transition Team Meets with Transition Ministry Services leader, Art Wiers

The Transition Team met on Tuesday, June 13, 2017.

The primary focus of the meeting was to learn about the Transition Ministry Services that are available from the Reformed Church in America. Art Wiers leads the program and presented at our meeting. He specifically talked about the value of having a full or part-time specialized transition minister. He highlighted a few things:

  • This is not just a time to get through, it's an opportunity.
  • This is a time to listen well and discern where God wants Fellowship to go.
  • Don't rush the search process. It is important to take time to find the right leader.
  • This is a time to listen well to the congregation.
  • It is possible, as a church, to maintain momentum and even grow during this time.

The Transition Team and MLC will be discerning over the coming weeks if we need an interim pastor. Pastor Lindsay, Pastor Nate, Steve Braunius, and Rodger Price are meeting each week to ensure coverage of responsibilities that would normally be covered by the Preaching and Leadership Pastor.

We are also in conversation with a possible Classis supervisor. This individual is an ordained pastor from the area who would assist us in following good process.

Renee Krueger
Transition Team meets with Larry Schuyler

The Transition Team met this morning with Larry Schuyler from the Holland Classis. The Holland Classis is a group of churches in the Holland area who work together and are all part of the Reformed Church in a America. The Holland Classis will work with us to appoint a Classis Supervisor. This will be a person who will help ensure that we follow a good process through the transition, using best practices that the Reformed Church has identified. The team reviewed people in the area who might be good in this role. Larry Schuyler and Rodger Price, President of Congregation, will be setting up a meeting with our top choices. The Classis Supervisor will meet with consistory and other groups on a regular basis.

The Team also talked about:

  • the work that is being done in preparation for celebrating the Keepers family on June 4
  • the preaching schedule for the Summer which will be published in the upcoming newsletter
  • ways we might take time as a congregation to grieve in the loss of Pastor Brian
  • the importance of prayer and a prayer team
Renee Krueger
Transition Team Formed

A team has been formed to lead Fellowship during this time of transition. Led by President of the Congregation, Rodger Price, the team includes:

Steve Braunius
Bob Ellis
Barb Eriks
Kristin Garris
Linda Milanowski
Mary Moore
Nate Schipper
Lindsay Small
Carol Wagner

First Actions

The Transition Team held their first meeting on Sunday, May 21, at 3pm. During the meeting, the team discussed the process that will be used during this time. Their first responsibilities are to:

  1. create a team to lead a wonderful send-off for Pastor Brian and the Keepers family
  2. ensure prompt and clear communication with the congregation
  3. identify a plan for the summer and fall worship schedule
  4. connect with the Classis via our Classis Supervisor

The send-off team has been formed and plans are well under way for the Farewell Celebration on June 4. There will be a luncheon and presentation in the Great Room beginning at 11:30am.

Communication will be handled via the Transition blog on Fellowship's website, newsletters, the bulletin, enews, announcements, and direct emails and mailings to the congregation. In order to make sure you receive all communications, please make sure your contact information is correct in our database, CCB. You can log-in here. Or you can fill out this Contact Form to update your information. Click here to sign up for the weekly enews.

Led by Pastor Lindsay and Pastor Nate, the summer worship schedule is nearly complete and will be approved by the MLC. The schedule will be announced in the upcoming Newsletter.

Larry Schuyler, Classis Coordinator of Holland Classis, will be invited to an upcoming meeting to determine our Classis Supervisor.

Further responsibilities

The Transition Team will continue to meet regularly.

Further responsibilities will be to create a prayer team for the transition, lead several listening sessions with the congregation, create a transition plan, and create a search team in coordination with the Human Resources team. More information about these will be shared as they are developed.

Questions or Concerns

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact any member of the Transition Team.

Renee Krueger
Farewell to Pastor Brian, Tammy, Emma, & Abby

Plans are starting to come together to celebrate the Keepers family:

Farewell Celebration: Please join us for a meal and a time of remembrance and celebration on June 4 at 11:30am.

Memories & Letters for Pastor Brian: If you would like to contribute any cards, memories, or letters to a keepsake album for Pastor Brian, please submit them to the Welcome Center or office by Sunday, May 28. You can also submit a letter or memory at bit.ly/PastorBrian and we will print it to include.

Love Offering: If you would like to contribute to a love offering for the Keepers family, please turn it in to the office by June 4. Checks should be made out to Fellowship Church and designated “Keepers’ Love Offering.” You can also contribute online at bit.ly/frcgive and choose “Love Brian” as the designation.

Renee Krueger
A Letter from the Keepers Family

Pastor Brian shared his news about accepting a call at Trinity Reformed Church in Iowa at the Congregational Meeting on Sunday, April 30.. He received a standing ovation from the congregation. You can read the Keepers' family letter to the congregation below. We will celebrate Pastor Brian's last Sunday at Fellowship on June 4.

April 30, 2017

A Note from the Keepers Family

Dear Fellowship Family,

We want to begin by expressing our gratitude for your prayers for our family over the past couple weeks as we’ve been in this important season of discernment. So many of you have sent notes, emails, texts, and cards of encouragement and support. It has meant the world to us.

If you were present at the congregational meeting this past Sunday, then you know that we have decided to accept the call for Brian to be the next lead pastor of Trinity Reformed Church in Orange City, Iowa. This decision came after much prayer and wrestling. The hardest part is leaving you, a congregation we love so deeply. You have been our community for the last twelve years. And prior to that, you shaped us so profoundly when Brian was a seminary intern at Fellowship.

We’ve come to the conclusion that there isn’t ever a “good” time to say goodbye to a congregation you love, but there are better and worse times. It seems to us, given the health and stability of Fellowship, that this is a “better” time for us to make a transition. With the building project nearly complete and such a strong and competent staff in place, we are confident that Fellowship has an exciting future. It also seems like a good time for our family to make a change, since Emma is finishing up 8th grade and will be starting high school this fall.

While it has always been hard for us to imagine serving another congregation besides Fellowship, it has become clear that God is calling us to Trinity. Northwest Iowa is the place where we (Brian especially) have roots and that has deeply formed us over the years. We have family in the area, and we are excited for our girls to get to be near their cousins on Brian’s side and get to know them better. Like Fellowship, Trinity is a very vital and healthy church. One of the unique things about Trinity is that it has a strong ministry to college students, faculty, and staff from Brian’s alma mater, Northwestern College, as well as Dordt College and Northwest Iowa Community College. For some time, Brian has sensed God calling him to college ministry in some capacity. This would allow him to do campus ministry and be a pastor to a congregation.

It’s important to say that our decision has nothing to do with anything being wrong with Fellowship and everything to do with a sense of call to Trinity. God is at work in such powerful ways in and through Fellowship, and we celebrate the amazing staff in place. We also give thanks for our incredible lay leaders, and have such confidence that God will lead Fellowship to the next lead pastor who will be the right fit for an exciting new chapter.

We will be working with the Human Resource Team, Consistory, and Staff to determine the best plan for a transition. Our last Sunday at Fellowship will be Pentecost (June 4). Between now and then, we’d love to connect with as many of you as possible. Please know how much we love you, and how grateful we are for the last twelve years of getting to do life and ministry together in Jesus’ name. You are an amazing congregation, and it has been our deepest joy to get to serve Christ with you.

With Love and Gratitude,

Pastor Brian, Tammy, Emma and Abby

Renee Krueger