On Wednesday, March 30, we welcomed The Rev. Anna-Kari Johnson, who serves in our ELCA Congregational Vitality Team as Programs Manager.

Over 500 new churches have been born and joined the ELCA since our founding in 1988. What can we learn from creative church planting that applies to our new church frontiers now? God called John the Baptist from the desert to go preach and baptize where the people were gathering for water. What are the gathering places in your church’s ministries and wider neighborhood where our home church congregation members can reach out to offer prayer, Bible Study, public worship celebrations, and more expressions of Christ Jesus’ love? Please join us to hear about innovative worship outreach and to let your own Spirit-inspired dreams and visions unfurl for your church to meet new people in new places!

Pastor Anna-Kari Johnson takes joy in our ELCA’s “neo-natal” unit of church planting with 380 new starts, including 82 born during the pandemic so far. Anna-Kari is also passionate about renewing existing congregations together, equipping leaders, and helping congregations branch out in mission. She works closely with ELCA Strategic Ministries and Holy Innovation projects across all 65 ELCA synods with all our Directors for Evangelical Mission. Anna-Kari is married to Pastor Kristian Johnson and a mother to three children. In her free time, Anna-Kari volunteers at Pilgrim Lutheran Church and School in Chicago, Illinois; with a Saturday outdoor hot meal worship service; and with the Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants at the Chicago Greyhound Bus Station with hospitality and prayer. Her deepest prayer is for everyone to know the unstoppable love of Christ.

We are mixing things up in 2022 as we continue to experiment and learn. You are invited to join us WEEKLY on Wednesdays at 1pm Central to hear from various leaders across the Church. We will continue with our theme of COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP. We have invited various ministries to host these gatherings through this year, so it will be different each week. There will usually be time for small groups in breakout rooms so that leaders across the church can continue to learn from each other and leave each gathering with at least one action step.

We are inviting you to bring a spirit of curiosity to these gatherings and to all aspects of your life. What are you noticing? Where is Spirit moving? How are you being invited to participate?