Clear focus … ambitious priorities

Dear Members and Friends of Rejoice!

Where are we …. where are we going?

clear focus

Because Rejoice is a place where God is Experienced, Community is Shared and Lives are Changed we want to honor our mission with a clear focus and ambitious priorities!

Our desire is to take the initiative and get Rejoice to the next level of service and impact!

We have so much love, energy, and talent here. How can we take the gifts God has given Rejoice and make the most of them to bring blessing to our congregation and the neighborhoods around us?

Finding the answer to that question was the motivation behind our engagement with Intentional Impact. Over the summer council, staff and members of Rejoice have met with this outstanding team. In our meetings, we have come to a clear focus and keen unity on what we would like to see happen here at Rejoice in the next 18 months!

Seasonal Priorities

We are calling the next 18 months of our focused ministry our seasonal priorities.  In these months we believe God is calling us to do three things well:

  1. grow in our relationships with God,
  2. grow in our relationships with each other,
  3. grow the relationships with people who are not yet part of this community of faith.

At these meetings, it became clear that we will need to enhance the capacity of staff to organize, lead, teach, train and work with small groups, outreach, and leadership development. Simply put the needs to move forward will need a leader to focus and take us to that level. We are now in the process of creating a job description of what that position will look like.

This will be a fruitful and vital opportunity for Rejoice and I’m very eager to see this happen now. I feel deeply this is the right thing for us at the right time.

Gathering Ground

In the meantime, I’m so glad Rejoice is having coffee after each service at our Gathering Ground! Stay, share and take the initiative to welcome others during this time! Also, we want to do our best to do two things that will be helpful to us, start services on time (!!!)
and relegate our announcements to our bulletin and not after worship!


Neil and Cindy are here to help you get your announcements ready for the weekly bulletin and help you to drive the traffic to our website.  If you have an anything that you would like to be announced by us you can submit the details online here.

Let’s be frank … .this will be a cultural shift for us but in the long run, it is the way to go!

We have a lot to look forward to and together we will show up with love and take our mission to the next level!

God bless you and thank you for your partnership in ministry!

With much love,
Pastor Lou

Leadership Lab 2018

Developing future leaders with Leadership Lab

Leadership LabLeadership Lab takes place July 23rd – 28th, 2018.  Mike Willis encourages everyone to attend this transformative experience!

Leadership Lab is designed to assist youth in acquiring skills that will be useful in congregational, synodical and national youth ministry settings and in their local communities and the world.

Each level of Lab is structured to help participants progress in their ability to be responsible youth ministry leaders. It helps them grow their relationships with God, self, and others.

Register for the Lab 2018 now.

Leadership Lab is an intense week of study, worship, and building relationships. The participants spend from 8:30 am – 11:00 pm each day in small and large group gatherings. They work on planning, learning, praying and discovering where they are in their faith journey.

While very spiritually rewarding, the week can be stressful and hard work. As a participant need prepare yourself for this type of an experience.

We will be staying in the dorms of Augustana in Rock Island, IL and the cost is $390 per student which includes boarding, food, and programming.

If you have any questions or would like more information contact Mike Willis, or visit the Leadership Lab website.

Register for the Lab 2018 now.

Journey to love God

youth travelers

Heading to the Mountains

Our youth team is heading to the mountains of Colorado for a rustic week-long adventure camp with Journey Quest.

They will talk about trust in God as they rock climb a vertical face and rappel down it afterword. They will discuss faith in Jesus to calm storms and sustain them in trouble as they white water raft down the Arkansas river. They will talk about Jesus’ love for them as they hike into the mountains to pray.

The second part of the greatest commandment asks us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength”.

That is this year’s Journey.

Gathering Ground

gathering ground at rejoiceSummer at Rejoice means more time for connecting with each other after service on Sunday morning at the Gathering Ground.

Why not plan to stay for a few extra minutes after worship, enjoy a hot cup of coffee and a cookie or two, and get to know someone new at Rejoice at the Gathering Ground.

What’s New at the Gathering Ground?

Have you noticed a different brew at the Gathering Ground this year? Rejoice has begun brewing delicious coffee with freshly roasted coffee beans from Koawood Coffee, small-batch roasting by our very own Marco Saporito. And beginning this week, you can purchase these delicious coffee beans to take home and enjoy.  A portion of the proceeds will benefit Rejoice.

Printed order forms are available at the church, fill one out and leave your cash/check payment in the envelope provided.  Alternatively, you can place and pay for your order below.

Submit your order by Thursday so that you can pick up your freshly roasted coffee the following Sunday.  Orders received after Thursday will be delivered on the next Sunday.

Your information

Your Order for July 2018

Choose a grind.

A medium roast coffee available for delivery during July 2018. Choose a grind, $13 for 12oz. Yirgacheffe, located within the larger Sidama region in southern Ethiopia, is considered the birthplace of coffee. Once you try a cup, you’ll quickly understand why it’s so highly revered among coffee enthusiasts. If you’re ready to broaden your coffee horizons, this is the ticket!

Submit the Order

When you press submit your order will be sent.  You will then be transferred to PayPal where you can make immediate payment.

Dear Friends and Members of Rejoice!

Last week staff, council and other servant-leaders of Rejoice had a great day of retreat and reflection. This was led by Intentional Impact, a coaching team recommended to us by our synod!

seasonal priorityThe project of the day was to reflect on what we value most as a congregation, and from that think about what our ministry-energy and service might look like in the next year to 18 months!

It is always powerful to be able to stop and think about what we value most in life, both personally, and what our church values most!  For me it was moving to hear the various ways Rejoice has been a blessing in the lives of people both in our community and beyond!

At the core of it all – we determined that what we value most is the primacy of relationships … relationships between ourselves and God, and the relationships we have (or want to have!) with each other!

With this clarity we have a focus for ministry in the next year to 18 months.  This is what we call our Seasonal Priority:

  • We will cultivate relationships that connect us to Christ and each other,
  • We will work on relationships that will empower us in our growth as servant leaders here at Rejoice, and
  • We will work on relationships that include people who are not yet part of our community!

Focusing on these relationship dynamics will be at the core of our thinking on priorities.

For me one of the blessings of this event was to see how it harmonized authentically and organically with our essential DNA … that Rejoice is a place where God is Experienced, Community is shared and Lives are Changed.

Our seasonal priority is clear: We will honor these relational values with focus and with love!!!!!

The purpose of this note is simply to give you a vibe on what we achieved and how we felt the Spirit bless us on this day of reflection.

Thank you for your prayers for this event and your ongoing partnership in ministry.

With much love, Pastor Lou

Pastor Lou


Geneva Beautification 2018

beautificationVolunteers are needed to beautify the little garden located in front of the Geneva Post Office.

Our little ‘knuckle’ is located on the corner that has the Winnie the Pooh hydrant. Plants and trash bags are provided by the Geneva Beautification Committee.

Kudos to Amy Frazer who planted the flowers and Debbie Matthiesen who weeded and fed them.

We could use your help to keep the garden in tip/top shape. Weekly watering and weeding help would be appreciated. Our next community workday is August 25, 2018 at 8 am. On that day we will be putting some fall plants in the garden.

Thank you for keeping Geneva a beautiful place.   Volunteer here!

Habitat Faith Build

Faith Build 2018

Rejoice volunteers will again join the local faith community in partnership with Fox Valley Habitat for the Fernandez family.  Rejoice was part of the Faith Build groundbreaking ceremony for Carmen and her two daughters on October 21, 2017.   Hear Carmen’s story below, and here are some pictures from the most recent build team.

Our scheduled work dates for this year are June 16 and September 15, 2018.  Volunteer now!

Habitat for Humanity Topgolf Fundraiser

A Topgolf Fundraiser is being sponsored by Rejoice to benefit Fox Valley Habitat,  It will be held on Sunday, July 22, 2018, 1-4 pm.  THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED.  The event begins in Topgolf’s Signature Room and features three hours of golf competition.

Share in an All-American lunch buffet that will include unlimited fountain soda, iced tea, coffee, water and a cash bar.  There’ll be a 50/50 raffle along with other raffle items.  Non-golfers can join in the fun, too!  Learn more and register now!

Questions: contact Debbie Matthiesen at 630-370-6785 or at [email protected].

mata dedicationFaith Build 2017

Our Habitat for Humanity Faith Build family for 2017 moved into their new home.  Welcome home Mata family! Rubi and her daughters had their dedication ceremony in December 2017, and Rejoice presented them with a Bible.  They have since been settling into their beautiful new home.

Serve with Habitat in Slidell, LA

Mark your calendar for the week of October 21-27, 2018 when we will base ourselves in Slidell, Louisiana.  This will be the 10th year our teams will serve our family around the Gulf Coast.  We look forward to continuing to build our relationships with the folks at East St. Tammany Habitat for Humanity and at Loaves and Fishes in Biloxi.  For more information contact Neil Edmondson.

A Vision For Our Future

There is a great opportunity ahead for Rejoice!  At the end of the month, some of Rejoice council, members, and staff will be meeting for a retreat with Intentional Impact.

Intentional Impact is a consulting firm that has worked with many churches in our synod and has been recommended to us by Pastor Sarah Stumme, the associate to the ELCA Bishop.  Rejoice has carried out these focus retreats in 7-year intervals so they are helpful ways to examine where we are now and how we can best use our gifts in service to Christ and his Kingdom!

The purpose of the retreat is three-fold:

  1. to name our vision and communicate it clearly!
  2. to focus on that vision with the love, talent and energy of Rejoice.
  3. to develop the organizational structures that will best serve us in carrying out our vision.

This is a great time for Rejoice to pause, ponder and pray about what it means for us to be faithful. My ask is for you who read this to pause and pray for our May 29th retreat.

We look forward to sharing with you what comes out of the retreat … and seeing what God has in store for us as we look to the future!

God bless you!

With much love,