Summer Appeal

Summer, 2024

Every morning at staff devotions, we pray for four Michigan District church workers. It’s a privilege that helps us to know and support each of them by name.

As we near the celebration of Church Worker Appreciation month in October, let’s explore the paths and passions of four servants in the Michigan District:

Brian Horning, Director of Family Life Ministry at Zion, Petoskey
Brian’s family attended Zion, Auburn, where his calling to Lutheran education became apparent through youth group participation, teaching Sunday School, and involvement in church and school music programs. When he learned about the Family Life program at Concordia University Ann Arbor (CUAA), he knew he had found his church work vocation. In the last 15 years, he has served four congregations and stayed active with Concordia Center for the Family as a volunteer leader and trainer.

He counts his participation on the program staff at Camp Arcadia, attendance at the Best Practices Conferences in Frankenmuth and the Men’s Retreat at Camp Arcadia, as well as his close ties and mentorships through CUAA as his most impactful experiences in the Michigan District.

Advice to those considering church work: “Be in the Word! It is how He leads and gives direction. It is also how He comforts us and drives out the voice of the devil that is trying so hard to lead you away from God’s way or say that you aren’t ‘good’ enough.”

Shannon Johnson, Director of Family and Student Ministries at Lakeshore Lutheran Fellowship, Spring Lake
Watching her faithful parents and grandparents serve in the church choir, coffee hour, Bible study leadership, and church council had a significant influence on her decision to work in ministry. Her pastor and youth group cemented her desire to work with youth.

When Shannon and her husband joined Lakeshore Lutheran Fellowship in 2012, Pastor Chris Boehnke encouraged her to continue to volunteer and eventually brought her into a staff role. He mentored her by giving her books to read, answering questions, and praying with her. Her role allows her to meet families and youth where they are—games, choir concerts, plays, swim meets, and anywhere else, from the church nursery to meeting with a family in their home.

She appreciates the District conferences and cluster meetings, where she can learn and exchange valuable experiences and advice with others in similar roles.

Advice to those considering church work: “When you are leading and serving God’s people, it is important to remember why you are doing this and who you are serving! Jesus takes us as we are and, as we abide in Him, He multiplies it, so we are enough and have enough. Also, read your Bible, anchor your identity in Christ, and be an image bearer of the One True King!”

Laura Kitzman, First Grade Teacher at St. Michael, Wayne
Laura says, “I was raised Lutheran and my family was always involved in our church. We prayed at home and we attended and helped with VBS, Sunday school, youth group, and many other church events. I planned to go into either nursing or education, but after not being accepted into my first-choice college, I decided to attend CUAA. That was such a work of the Holy Spirit! Going to Concordia and experiencing life with friends who were going into the teaching ministry cemented that this was something I felt called to do.”

Laura has taught preschool, Kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and several split grade classes. In addition, she has served as a preschool director at two schools and as a music director, librarian, and art teacher.

She is thankful for opportunities to learn from pastors, principals, and fellow teachers who serve alongside her in the District, and especially appreciates the Early Childhood Conference and the Professional Church Worker Conference.

Advice to those considering church work: “Shadow church workers, ask questions, learn from them. Pray, and ask others to pray for you as you decide. It is a very rewarding calling with the opportunities to allow the Holy Spirit to use you in ways you might never have imagined.”

Rev. Dr. Trevor Sutton, Senior Pastor at St. Luke, Haslett/Lansing
St. Matthew, Walled Lake played a vital role in Pastor Sutton’s formative years. God used his parents and other influential adults, worship, Sunday school, Confirmation class, and the National Youth Gathering to capture his imagination for what it might look like to serve the Church. He enrolled at CUAA with a soccer scholarship in hand to be a special education teacher, but soon altered his path towards the seminary.

Twelve years later, he’s still serving at St. Luke, his first call. Pastor Sutton has also been blessed with the opportunity to write books and articles for the Church at large, as well as teach at various Concordia Universities and LCMS sister seminaries around the world.

He is thankful for the financial support of the District—and the donors—that made it possible for him to attend seminary. He also appreciates the programs that the District offers for new pastors, as well as the regular pastor and church worker conferences.

Advice for those considering church work: “Do it! I can think of no better or more fulfilling life than serving God’s people through church work. So many people struggle through work that is unfulfilling or lacking in meaning. Not in church work! Serving God’s people in the Church is among the most fulfilling and meaningful tasks that we can do!”

Will you join us in thanking God for our faithful servants in the Michigan District?

We are committed to providing resources and assistance to over 3,100 District church workers. Each one has a unique story and perspective of his or her journey into ministry and the blessings of serving God’s people. Under the Healthy Workers critical target, our goal is to help them to be professionally and personally healthy. Your gift helps us attain that goal.

Please use the note cards (linked below) to send a note of thanks and encouragement to our church workers. You can send them directly to church workers you know or to us at the district and we will send them to schools and churches throughout the District and may publish some of them in our social media channels in October. Your financial gift, in addition to a shared note, will be a blessing to Michigan District church workers.

May God’s Kingdom increase through our faithful church workers!

…eyes on Jesus…

Rev. David A. Davis, President
Michigan District, LCMS

Download Printable Summer Appeal Letter

Remittance Form

Heart Notes (print back to back (flip on long side) trim in thirds, fold along dotted line)