Iowa is where I am from, and finally, Iowa is where I am. Even our DMV officials are friendly and helpful!
Right where I belong. That is a great feeling. That describes my heart as I walk through Audubon City Park, enjoy a meal with new friends downtown, and especially as I gather with you to worship as Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church.
Right where I belong. That is how I want you to feel with Our Saviour’s. If we are honest, people come to church for very different reasons. Some of us simply find joy in coming together in the presence of Christ. I aim to keep that going for you. Some of us come to church because we feel like we have to–for social, business or family reasons. I hope to see that change; I want you to begin experiencing Sunday worship as the highlight of your week. Talk to me about it. Some of us come to church now and then, hoping God exists and church is not a fraud. I pray that God will blow on that ember of yearning so that you will experience life as you have only dreamed it could be. I long for you to tell me, “Finally, I am right where I belong.”
You may have asked yourself: What is an interim pastor? For the next 12-18 months I have the tremendous privilege of serving as the bridge to the next long-term pastor. As an intentional interim minister, I see my role as twofold—Conservationist and Catalyst. As Conservationist, I am here to encourage and preserve ministry. I did not come to Our Saviour’s to remake it in my mold. I am with you to strengthen what is good, to keep what is best.
As Catalyst, I open the door for a congregation to consider, plan and implement change. I invite you to tell me about our strengths and weaknesses, our achievements and our conflicts. Tell me about your dreams for the future of our church. I ask lots of questions, such as: When people visit for the first time, what are their challenges? Or, does this policy help us fulfill our mission?
I am here to affirm Our Saviour’s in cultivating and strengthening our best practices. I am here to empower you to discuss and reconsider whatever is not helping us fulfill our mission. I am here to prepare Our Saviour’s to welcome and to thrive with its new long-term pastor.
Blessed to be with you,
Dear friends in Christ,
It is a difficult task to say goodbye to the Our Saviour’s Lutheran faith family after serving with you in ministry and mission since August of 2010. Julie and I want to express our heartfelt appreciation for all you have done with us and for us. Your prayers, your presence, your friendship have all been truly amazing and a blessing beyond measure.
As our time together comes to a close there are numerous people to thank and a multitude of highlights that I believe give us reason for rejoicing. Throughout our time together God has provided me the privilege of being your servant-leader, to partner in ministry and mission with a talented and committed staff, a hard-working, faithful and delightful team of congregational leaders, and a wonderful family of believers I have come to love and appreciate.
Yes, throughout the years there have been challenges we have faced as a congregation, but let me say that, for me, the joys of our time together far outweigh the difficulties we have experienced. I want to encourage everyone not to lose sight of what God has in mind for each new day he blesses us with. Be diligent in discerning the Lord’s will for your life, for your family, and for your faith family. Live your life for the Lord, giving sacrificially in response to what our gracious God has first given you!
God bless all of you and the investment of your precious time, talents and treasures in your future ministry and mission together. In closing I leave you with these words from our Lord, the Apostle Paul writing to the Christian community in Colossae: “For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” Colossians 1:9-12
In His Service,
Pastor Doug Opp