Dear Concordia Faith Family:
After an extensive 10-month, prayer-driven search, our Concordia Call Committee and Church Council unanimously believe that our good and gracious Lord clearly has led us to recommend the congregation extend a Call to Rev. Stephen Bongard to serve as the Senior Pastor for Concordia Lutheran Church.
During his during his visit July 16-19, the following are words were used to describe Pastor Bongard:
visionary and collaborative leader; excellent listener; striving and steady; patient and calming; caring; forward thinking; humble; equipper & mentor; intelligent and thoughtful; compassionate; prepared; shepherd.
We feel Pastor Steve’s gifts will complement the current staff extremely well. The entire staff and Church Council was very encouraged by his visit as was the congregation based on the feedback received. After going through the interview process, the Call Committee felt strongly that Pastor Bongard was the only Pastor that fit our Senior Pastor profile, developed directly from the input the congregation gave to our survey last fall. The Call Committee strongly believes this is the man God has chosen to lead Concordia at this time.
Over the weekend of August 1st and 2nd, each member in our congregation will have a chance to vote on whether we will officially extend a Call for Pastor Bongard to serve as Concordia’s next Senior Pastor.
For those who do not have email addresses or may share them with another family member, a call-in vote will also be an option. More information on voting and virtual Assembly will be published next week.
If you have not already had the opportunity, we encourage you to listen to the recording of the Zoom Town Hall at: https://vimeo.com/440002031 using the password: ck#bongard2020!
to get to know more about Pastor Bongard. In addition, we welcome any feedback emailed to:
Pastor Bongard currently serves as Senior Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Valparaiso, Indiana where he has been in ministry for 26 years, 16 as their Senior Pastor. He has a BA from Valparaiso University in Theology, Greek and Psychology and his M. Div from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
Thank you to the entire congregation for your prayers and support during this process and we look forward to our next steps.
The Call Committee
Keith Fatzinger (Chair)
Dr. John Eckrich
Rev. Ken Krueger
This weekend, Rev. Stephen Bongard will be visiting
Concordia as a candidate for Senior Pastor.
- To get to know Pastor Bongard better and to answer any questions the congregation may have,
we will be holding a Town Hall on Saturday, July 18th at 10am in the Concordia Center. (The guidelines put into place
for worship services will also apply to this event, so attendance will be limited and masks and registration will be required.)
- We will also be offering a live Zoom call with Pastor Bongard answering those same questions at 11:30 also on the 18th.
The Zoom call is limited to 100 households and will be first come first serve.
- Additionally, we will be providing a recorded version of the Town Hall for all members
of the congregation who are unable to join us during those times.
To register for the in-person Town Hall being held at Concordia,
please click the button below:
To submit a question for Pastor Bongard, click the button below.
be answering questions submitted ahead of time via this form.
If you would like to attend the Zoom Town Hall at 11:30am on Saturday, July 18th,
click the button below to join the Zoom call when the time comes.
Please remember it is first come first serve and the meeting will cap at 100 screens/households.
Dear Concordia Faith Family:
Since September of 2019, eleven representatives of our congregation appointed by our Church Council have prayerfully, diligently and meticulously sought the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help discern God’s Will for a senior shepherd for Concordia. This journey began with an extensive survey of the needs and desires for the mission and ministry of our faith family now and into the future. Over half of our active participants responded to that questionnaire. From that foundation, our committee developed a pastoral profile encompassing what you expressed as the most important personal and pastoral qualifications essential in this leader. Subsequently, we asked for your nominations of pastors who might possess those characteristics.
Early this year, 51 nominations from the congregation were received and submitted to our LCMS District leadership for vetting. As is customary, the Synodical leadership performed due diligence activities which resulted in the further evaluation of 31 pastors. Our Call Committee then proceeded carefully and prayerfully through all available evaluation tools to narrow our search to those who most clearly were aligned with our congregational survey and pastoral profile; 14 pastors emerged. All 14 were contacted, but only five of those pastors allowed their names to continue in the process for consideration. In the past month, all five candidates were interviewed by the entire Call Committee through two rounds of video conferencing.
At the conclusion of this extensive, prayer-driven search, our Concordia Call Committee unanimously believes that our good and gracious Lord clearly has led us to bring one individual to consider together as a faith family to be His shepherd for our Concordia flock: Rev. Stephen Bongard. Pastor Bongard currently is serving as Senior Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Valparaiso, Indiana where he has been in ministry for 26 years, 16 as their Senior Pastor. He has a BA from Valparaiso University in Theology, Greek and Psychology and his M.Div from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
The following are words from our committee and Pastor Bongard’s current congregation that best describe him: visionary and supportive leader; listener; striving and steady; patient and gentle; forward thinking; humble; equipper; intelligent and thoughtful; compassionate; prepared. However, one word seemed to summarize the core of Pastor Bongard and was shared unanimously among the Call Committee—shepherd.
For a more in depth view of Pastor Bongard, we invite you to visit his congregations website at https://immanuelvalpo.org/
We welcome each of you to examine the committee’s process in more depth through the communication and timeline listed at the bottom of the page.
Furthermore, we are excited to share with you that Pastor Bongard and his wife Becky will be with us on the Concordia campus July 16-19, 2020, to meet face-to-face with our leadership, staff and congregants. Sometime during this visit we will provide an opportunity members to meet him in the Concordia Center or virtually through a Zoom meeting. Further details will be sent in the next week.
As your Call Committee, we are most thankful for God’s presence and your patience throughout this journey. Also, we are most grateful for the steady and caring hands of our Associate pastors and staff for guiding us so faithfully, especially in these trying times. We joyfully anticipate with you our opportunity to hear the heart of Pastor Bongard for God’s people, especially in this place.
Just as our amazing staff and Pastors have superbly managed Concordia’s continued ministry to the congregation and the community during the pandemic, the Call Committee has been diligently at work the past few months advancing the call process as we look to find our next Sr. Pastor. I would like to highlight the activities that have taken place as well as what is planned over the summer time period.
What has taken place:
- February: List of candidates provided by the congregation submitted to the Missouri District President.
- Mid-March: District President returned a list of candidates who can be considered after performing due diligence activities. In addition to the names put forth by the congregation, the District also submitted several candidates they felt are aligned to Concordia’s Pastor Profile.
- April: Call Committee reviewed documentation on all candidates which included a detailed set of questions that outlines their beliefs, teachings, confessions and practices within their congregation.
- May: Call Committee met multiple times and narrowed the list down to candidates who the Committee unanimously agreed upon and felt met the Concordia Pastor Profile and desired characteristics of our next Sr. Pastor
- June: First round video interviews conducted
- Committee to meet and further narrow down the list of candidates and schedule a follow up video interview.
- After the second interview, Call Committee will meet and select a final candidate(s) to bring onsite to Concordia for a visit and continued discussions.
- Final recommendation is made to the Congregational Assembly followed by a formal voting process.