"There can be no resurrection without a death."
This quote from H. George Anderson, former presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), speaks to the makeover approach to ministry that evolved during the course of more than nine years at a small, struggling congregation in Janesville, Iowa called Messiah Lutheran Church.
When Pastor Beth Olson arrived, members told her they weren't sure from week to week if they would see each other in worship or if the church would even be open the following Sunday.
How did that same congregation, then, end up building the first new church and education unit in the Northwest Iowa Synod? How did it come to host an ELCA Division for Outreach regional workshop on ministry in action? How did this congregation, which had looked death in the eye, experience a resurrection few might have expected?
The answers are in Becoming a Makeover Congregation, a story that shows how things as diverse as glow sticks for Christmas Eve worship, jumper cables as an image for transformational ministry and a makeover scene from the Disney movie The Princess Diaries can bring about resurrection and renewal. Pastor Olson's story will equip you to assemble your own makeover for mission and ministry toolkit so you too can celebrate the power of resurrection in your church.
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Pastor Beth Olson is the pastor of St. Timothy Lutheran Church, where she has served since 2011. She earned her M.Div. in theology/theological studies from Wartburg Theological Seminary in 1992. She has published articles about including children in worship in the Augsburg Fortress worship resource book Sundays and Seasons 2009, and written prayers for Bread for the Day 2007, 2008 and 2009, a daily devotional book also published by Augsburg Fortress. Her poetry was published in the 64th edition of Lyrical Iowa (2009). She and her family live in Waverly, Iowa.