Select Page
Immanuel Lutheran church

Call Process

Immanuel Lutheran church

Call Process


November 30, 2020

Dear members of Immanuel,

Greetings in the name of Jesus, our coming king!

I am writing to let you know that, after prayerful deliberation and discussion, I am accepting the call to serve as senior pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church and School.

I was honored to receive the call and encouraged by your vote of confidence in me.  I accept the call believing that it comes from the Lord and with confidence in him and his promises.  With the help of the Holy Spirit and in partnership with you, I will endeavor to carry out my ministry in a way that honors the name of God, builds up Christ’s church, and benefits many people, both in time and for eternity.

As you know, for the last seven years I have served as the associate pastor.  I have enjoyed my ministry in that role, and I have learned much, which is what I was hoping for when I accepted the call in 2013.  I am aware that by accepting this call my role will be changing in some significant ways, and I know that there will be many more opportunities to learn and grow.  I ask for your continued patience, prayers, and support as I begin to function in this new position.

While considering the call, I have also been working on a self-reflection assignment for my Doctor of Ministry degree from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.  The goal of the exercise is to articulate a personal mission statement for pastoral ministry.  Here is what I have come up with:

My purpose is to serve the people of Immanuel Lutheran Church and School as a preacher and teacher of God’s Word, a model for Christian living, and the senior pastoral leader, to the end that we live well in the Christian story today.

It is a statement I could have written seven years ago except for the word “senior.”  Now, according to Immanuel’s Constitution and Bylaws, it will also be my responsibility also “to act as spiritual leader of the church, having a major influence on the congregation’s understanding of its central role and function to determine the ministry direction of the church.”  I do not take this responsibility lightly or for granted.  But I am also excited to imagine where the Spirit will lead us as we seek the Lord and discern how he wants us to live together in his story, here and now and in the future. 

Rejoicing in our partnership in the gospel, I am    

 Your servant in Christ,

 Pastor Andrew Fields



November 9, 2020
Dear members of Immanuel Lutheran Church, 

Great news!  After prayerful consideration, the Call Committee is pleased to announce their recommendation that Pastor Andrew Fields be called to serve as the next Senior Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church. 

According to our congregation’s Constitution, the Voters’ Assembly, subject to the Word of God, has the sole and final authority to issue a Divine Call.  Based on the Call Committee’s recommendation, the Congregation Council is calling a special meeting of the Voters’ Assembly to extend a Divine Call to Pastor Andrew Fields to serve as Senior Pastor.  The meeting will take place in the sanctuary on Sunday, November 15, at 9:30 a.m.  

Members of the Voters’ Assembly of Immanuel Lutheran Church are eligible to vote.  Our Constitution (Article VIII) sets out the following requirements for membership in the Voters’ Assembly:

1. Anyone who is a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church and eighteen (18) years of age is ELIGIBLE to become a member of the Voters’ Assembly.

2. Eligible members of Immanuel who declare their intention to become members of the Voters’ Assembly at an initial Voters’ Assembly meeting are formally received into membership at a subsequent Voters’ Assembly meeting.   

Because of the pandemic, members of the Voters’ Assembly may vote in person or by mail. 

1. As always, members of the Voters’ Assembly may be present at the meeting on November 15 to cast their votes.  

2.  Alternatively, attached to this mailing is a ballot which may be filled out by member(s) of the Voters’ Assembly.  This simple form is self-explanatory and has been approved by the Congregation Council.  Please read the ballot instructions carefully.  All ballots must be received by the church office NO LATER THAN FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13. 

We are thankful to our Call Committee and all members of Immanuel who have participated in any way during this time of prayerful discernment and change.  In a year of excitement and challenges, we appreciate the privilege to vote for our leaders, remembering most of all that “God’s kingdom rules over all” (Psalm 103:19). 

God’s blessings! 

Andy Crosmer 
President of Immanuel Lutheran Church November 9, 2020



Dear Immanuel members:


In a meeting on Wednesday evening, October 28, the call committee decided unanimously to recommend that Pastor Andrew Fields be called as senior pastor.  The Congregation Council has to set a date for a call meeting, and I assume you will hear about that soon.


In carrying out its assigned task, the call committee heard from many Immanuel members.  We received emails, phone calls, written notes, and oral comments.  It became clear to us that many of you are eager to have Pr. Fields become our next senior pastor. 

The committee met four times during the past month, and at one of these meetings we engaged Pr. Fields in a two-hour conversation about Immanuel’s needs and about his own approach to ministry.  All of us were impressed with his thoughtfulness and commitment.


Pr. Fields came to Immanuel seven years ago as Associate Pastor.  Before that he had served as sole pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Atlanta for more than a decade.  He is, therefore, an experienced pastor, and in the committee’s judgment we are fortunate to be able to recommend him for the call as senior pastor.


You should hear soon about a date for a call meeting.  In the meantime, if you have any questions, you may feel free to talk to me or to any of the other members of the call committee (Tim Becker, Deanne Gloppen, Susie Hord, Matt McGuirl, Bethany McHugh, and Kathy Saylor).


We have appreciated your prayers, your patience, and your interest in this process.


In Christ,

Gilbert Meilaender

Chair, Call Committee



October 1, 2020

Dear Immanuel members:

As you no doubt know, because Pastor Bongard has taken a call to another congregation and been granted his peaceful release by Immanuel, we have now begun the process of calling a new Senior Pastor.  The Congregation Council has appointed a call committee whose task it is to recommend to the Voters Assembly a candidate for our next Senior Pastor.


Having been asked to chair that call committee, I am writing to give you some information about the committee and about how you may contact any of its members.  The committee has had its initial meeting and begun to consider how it will proceed.  We hope to do our work in a timely fashion, though, of course, it is too early in the process to know how soon we will be able to make a recommendation.


What can you do for us as we begin our work?  First, you can pray for the wellbeing of our congregation and its school, and for the staff who carry out the daily work in both church and school.  We also ask that you pray for our committee, that we may carry out our work wisely and harmoniously.  Second, we invite you to communicate your own thoughts about this process with us and to share your hopes for the congregation’s future.


There are several ways that you can do this.  You may simply talk to me or to any of the other members of the committee.  They are Tim Becker, Deanne Gloppen, Susie Hord, Matt McGuirl, Bethany McHugh, and Kathy Saylor.  The committee will also have two advisory members–Andy Crosmer, congregational President, and Pastor Don Williams.  Pastor Williams is serving right now as “Circuit Visitor” for the congregations in our circuit, and, as such, he is our liaison to the office of the Indiana District President of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.


If you do not have an opportunity to talk personally with any of us, there are two other ways you could communicate your thoughts to us.  One of the committee members, Susie Hord, has agreed to accept phone calls from any of you.  Her phone number is 219-241-8367.  She will pass on to the full committee your thoughts.  In addition, the committee has established an email address you can use to communicate with us.  It is:


Finally, we want to assure you that we are committed to carry out our task with care and thoughtfulness, and we ask for your patience as we proceed.


In Christ,

Gilbert Meilaender

Chair, Call Committee





Pastor Steve Bongard has accepted the call to serve at Concordia Lutheran Church in Kirkwood, MO, a congregation of about 3000 members. We want to thank our senior pastor for his guidance and for sharing his God-given talents and gifts with us.  Pastor Bongard has been with us for 26 years. We pray for his continued ministry at Concordia Lutheran and wish blessings on him and Becky as they move forward in their journey. There are plans being made for a farewell gathering on Sunday, September 13 (noonish) after late worship.

Many of you may be wondering: What roadmap for our journey are we looking at now? Congregation Council continues to meet monthly to plan, set policies, and now to oversee the filling of the vacancy to select our new senior pastor. We have a wonderful blend of council members whose knowledge, experience, and wisdom will help guide us in the direction God intends for Immanuel.  

Immanuel’s bylaws instruct your Congregation Council to put together a call committee.  It will be the responsibility of the call committee to bring to the Voters Assembly the name(s) of qualified persons to call to the position of senior pastor. If you would like to recommend a member of Immanuel to serve on the call committee, please send your recommendation to Rose Brewer, our Congregation Council secretary, at  Please make your recommendation by Wednesday, September 9, 2020. 

We all know that the selection of our next senior pastor will take time and prayerful discernment.  In the meantime, our congregation is blessed to have several pastors that can step in and help out for the interim period. 

Although he is the associate pastor, Pastor Fields does not automatically become our senior pastor.  It is up to the call committee to determine whom they will recommend to the Voters Assembly.  At this time, Pastor Fields will expand his role while we search for our next senior pastor.  We ask you to pray for him and his family as they go through this period of transition.   

Now, more than ever, your Council leaders request your prayers, input, and patience during this period of great change and growth.   

Keep the faith!  God’s blessings to all!

Andy Crosmer, Congregation Council President

We're glad you're here!

At Immanuel, we believe that you can be transformed by experiencing life with God in Christ. Our mission is to equip people for this kind of transformation by connecting people with Christ in a life of worship, learning, and service, whether you are exploring Christianity for the first time or grew up attending church.