Pentecost Possibilities

Pentecost is often named the “birthday of the Church” because it is the day the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples like tongues of flame and accompanied by a mighty wind, and they in turn began proclaiming the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection and countless people came to believe. From their initial and fearful waiting in the upper room, the disciples found the courage to preach, first in Jerusalem and eventually to the ends of the known world. (You can read about Pentecost in Acts 2.)

When first hearing this story, it’s easy to imagine that the Holy Spirit solved the disciples’ problems and that was the reason for their success. But if you read the story closely, a different picture emerges. After all, they still have much to fear, as those who crucified their Lord are still opposed to his disciples. Further, they will face numerous challenges in the days to come, including not only external adversity but also internal division. Indeed, much of the book of The Acts of the Apostles describes the persecution, challenges, and setbacks of the early Church. Yet they not only persevered but flourished, and two thousand years later we are the beneficiaries of their testimony and courage.

So rather than concluding the Holy Spirit solved their problems, I would suggest instead that the Holy Spirit enabled them to see possibilities everywhere, even in those places of challenge or adversity. Rather than imagine the crowds in Jerusalem as opponents, the disciples see the possibility they need to hear the Gospel. Rather than imagine that twelve people can make no difference, they see the possibility that their testimony of the risen Jesus may change the world.

Today, the Holy Spirit continues to bless the church by helping us see possibilities. Nearly 100 years ago, the founding members of Evangelical Mount Olivet Lutheran Church saw the possibility of a thriving congregation in southwest Minneapolis. Seventy years ago, Pastor Reuben Youngdahl saw the possibility for that church to grow exponentially by expanding its offerings and inviting neighbors to joyful, traditional, and disciplined worship and, a few years later, saw the possibility of engaging and helping the larger community by establishing nursing homes, a summer camp, a safe place for those with development disabilities, and more. Forty years ago, Pastor Paul Youngdahl saw the possibility of establishing a Conference & Retreat Center just south of the Twin Cities for spiritual renewal and growth and, later, seized upon the possibility to establish a second Mount Olivet campus to serve the western suburbs.

This year, Pentecost falls on Sunday, May 20, which also happens to be the last Sunday before Memorial Day and the start of our summer schedule. On this day, we will again give thanks for, and continue to seize, the possibilities the Holy Spirit blesses us to see. In particular, we will give thanks for the possibilities our high school seniors will have before them as we bless them with our prayers at our annual Baccalaureate recognition at the 9am service at both campuses. We will give thanks for expanded music and education possibilities as we host an Open House of The James Avenue Addition at the Minneapolis Campus. We will give thanks for the possibility of continued growth as we See Shovels In the Ground for the West Campus expansion. And we will offer our thanks and Appreciation for our Countless Volunteers between all the services and highlight the possibility that volunteering at Mount Olivet not only helps the church to continue its ministries – which of course it does! – but also provides opportunities for members to grow in their faith, become more connected to each other and the community, and in this way be woven more deeply into the fabric of our congregation.

So what possibilities do you see the Holy Spirit providing? Perhaps the possibility of inviting a friend to share some of what you have discovered and enjoy at Mount Olivet. Or the possibility of deepening your faith through summer midweek worship at our Conference & Retreat Center. Or the possibility of getting more engaged with Mount Olivet’s ministry by volunteering for one of our many service opportunities. You see, the Holy Spirit isn’t done yet and, indeed, the possibilities for you to grow in your faith at Mount Olivet are nearly endless. So scan the rest of the Messenger to see what’s happening, spend time in prayer, and open yourself to some of the manifold Pentecost Possibilities before you!

Pastor Lose
David J. Lose, Senior Pastor

Call Process Update

I have been grateful for the prayers of the congregation as we work to call new pastoral colleagues. Those prayers, I know, have been both for potential candidates that would serve well at Mount Olivet and for our pastors and staff who are putting in additional time to cover all the pastoral responsibilities while we move back to full strength.

As Pastor John Hogenson was fond of saying, “Mount Olivet is a church unlike any other.” In my year with you, I can testify to the truth of that statement! We are a large and complex church with multiple affiliated ministries and an incredible number of programs that serve both the congregation and the larger community. For this reason, I am committed to taking the time necessary to find exceptional candidates who will not only serve well in this kind of congregation but also add their gifts and experiences to strengthen our mission and ministry.

Thus far, we have called Pastor Anna Helgen who has been a stellar addition to our team. Currently, I am in conversation with several very promising candidates to fill the three available openings, including those pastors who will have primary pastoral responsibility for our West Campus. While I am hopeful that we can fill some of these positions by the early summer and perhaps all of the positions by the fall, I will continue to make identifying the best possible candidates for Mount Olivet paramount and the time necessary to do that. Thank you, again, for both your prayers and your trust.

Pastor Lose