On November 11th, 300 voting members of Christ Memorial Lutheran Church called their third Senior Pastor, Rev. Jeff Cloeter. Mindful that Jesus is THE Senior Pastor of the church, I have accepted this call.
I follow a man who leaves a 37-year tenure of mission-centered pastoral leadership. Mindful this legacy, I know that I have lots of work to do. Before I embark in this role, here are ten things you should know about your next senior pastor. For readers who aren't members of my congregation, well . . . I'll let you in on this too.
10 Things You Should Know About Your Next Senior Pastor
Pastor Jeff Cloeter is:
1. A Fellow Sinner: I am in need of the same grace that I preach. Are pastors perfect? Ask our wives. They’ll tell you the truth.
2. A Husband and Father: I married my wife before I became a pastor. Next to God, my bride is the highest priority. I will sacrifice a lot for my congregation, but not my family.
3. A Younger Man: While I am older than I look, I’m relatively young for a pastor in this position. I was born on the seam between Generation X and the Millennial Generation. I have a love for all generations, a passion for bringing generations together, and a desire to raise up new generations to be the church.
4. A Man Who Will Let You Down: I am incapable of pleasing everyone in a church our size. I can’t fulfil every expectation or fit everyone’s mold. And I will mess up sometimes. I just want to prepare you.
5. An Introvert: I love people. That said, I need quiet time to reenergize. And I will never have the relational capacity of Pastor Greg. Is there anyone in St. Louis he doesn’t know?!
6. An Outsider Who has Made STL Home: When people ask me the “St. Louis question,” I confound them with the answer, “Sauk Rapids High School.” I bring non-native eyes to our community. At the same time, my family has made St. Louis home for the last 8 years and we love it. Go Cards!
7. A Pastor Who Cares About You: I love my congregation. Really.
8. A Pastor Who Will Challenge You: I will walk with you as you grow in Christ, speaking law and gospel. Sometimes that may challenge you (and you may not like me some days). I don’t want things from you. I want the best for you. All in Christ.
9. A Missionary Pastor: Honoring the missional leadership of Pastor Greg Smith, I will lead our mission with the words Loved and Sent. Get ready to be sent to more places and more people.
10. A Pastor Excited About the Future: We face many challenges and we have lots of work to do. But we have a phenomenal Christian community ready to march on. I am honored to be your pastor, and excited about what God will do with us.