An 18-month journey to discern our ministry

Our Mission:

First Lutheran Church, rooted in the Gospel of God’s grace, is a welcoming community of worship, witness, spiritual growth and ecumenical service to God and God’s people.

Our Vision:

  • We will seek ways to live our value of being welcoming by addressing barriers to welcome, both physical and spiritual
  • We will provide fertile ground to cultivate and develop deeper relationships in our faith community so individuals feel more connected with God, their faith, and each other
  • We will seek ways to actively share our faith in Jesus Christ at home, in the congregation and in our community
  • We will communicate a vision that will inspire and motivate the congregation to action.

Our Call to Action:


We craft faithful and diverse opportunities for hearing God’s word, sharing in the sacraments, and joining in prayer and praise. First Lutheran Church, grounded in the gathering-word-meal-sending pattern of the Lutheran liturgy, values worship as a sacred space for people of faith and seekers alike to encounter God and to receive God’s grace.

Action items:

  • Appoint Widen the Welcome Task Force to assess hospitality improvements for worship, including developing a plan to encourage congregation members to invite others to worship

Staff leader: Pastor Melissa

Council member leader:

  • Appoint a Worship Diversity Task Force to research and plan non-traditional worship options, such as weekday vespers, “pop-up” services, special worship opportunities, with a goal of serving people who may not identify with or be able to participate in our traditional worship offerings. Plan six additional worship opportunities through 2019 to involve and create community. Examples: Sept. 11 prayer service, impose ashes downtown on Ash Wednesday

Staff leader: Pastor Melissa

Council member leader: Debbie Hofsaess


We proclaim the good news of God in Christ through words and deeds that make visible God’s love, faithfulness, grace, and hospitality. First Lutheran Church commits itself to the radical welcome of Christ, inviting all to know God and to become a part of our community.

  • Assemble a Communications Task Force to evaluate our current welcome statement and suggest updates given changes in language trends, community needs, and cultural concerns. Consider further issues of welcome in our common life (firearms policy, bathrooms, education possibilities, etc.)
    • Under the direction of the Communications Task Force, develop a communications plan to communicate the following key initiatives: Congregation Communications, Youth and Family, Building and Community Engagement. Contract a communications professional to carry out plan, including assisting with content authoring, repurposing content (such as putting sermons on a blog and pushing through social media) and message delivery (website, social media, advertising, newsletter, bulletins)

Staff leader: Pastor Melissa

Council member leader:

  • Create a Ministry Footprint Task Force to develop a long-term improvement plan for FLC. Plan should include flexible space needs for youth/family, alternate worship space, welcoming space, ADA compliance, elevator, bathroom upgrades, signage, kitchen updates, etc., and related budget and timeline

Staff leader: Adrian Walter

Council member leader: Greg McGohan, Paul Berland, Troy Whitehill

  • Create a Power the Ministry Task Force to explore ways to raise $25,000-$50,000 to support budgeted programming for 2019. Options could include grant funding, Trust Fund, fundraising events, etc.

Staff leader: Pastor Chad

Council member leader: Vicky Jaeger, Susan Nelson


We equip God’s faithful people for ministry by nurturing growth in faith and discipleship. First Lutheran Church commits to the spiritual growth of its members and values the ongoing development of faith across all ages. Opportunities for education and reflection encourage members toward a seamless integration of faith and daily life.

  • Create a Small Group Task Force to implement small group program. Identify needs for up to 6 groups and recruit a leader for each to implement before end of 2019

Staff leader: Adrian Walter

Council member leader: Jon Thompson, Ryan Torkelson


Jesus is our model for whole-life service. We follow his example by serving others and working for justice and peace.  First Lutheran Church sustains significant partnerships with community and global organizations that seek to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, provide basic needs for the vulnerable, and advocate for those whose voices are not being heard.

  • Create a Mission Task Force to evaluate ELCA Mission Support and budgeted giving to outside organizations. Generate an updated list of suggested organizations to support and contribution amounts. Train mission interpreters to communicate the ongoing work of the ELCA

Staff leader: Pastor Chad

Council member leader:

  • Create a Service Task Force to develop and execute a plan for FLC involvement in and support of Decorah Pride and Nordic Fest. Expand God’s Work Our Hands beyond one Sunday a year. Develop a plan for 2019 implementation

Staff leader: Pastor Chad

Council member leader: Tiph Keefe, Emily Timm, Andy Sassaman