Assist your new called worker with the transition

Matt Kock is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, Minocqua, Wis.

Our church and school recently welcomed three called workers and their families. We wanted to help them with the transition and on-boarding process, which would provide a good test for our new Care Committee for Called Workers (CCCW).

We streamlined communication as much as possible, with one main point of contact from our congregation and school. We also tried to consolidate information into a single message vs. sending multiple notes. We recognized how busy their lives would be and wanted to simplify things as much as possible. By starting the process well in advance of their arrival dates, they wouldn’t feel rushed.

Pastor Stephen Luchterhand notes: “This cross-country move (Arizona to Wisconsin) was a challenging one for our family, especially because our children are older (late high school to college age). The evident care and concern, attention to detail and intentional communication, and enthusiastic search for solutions by Trinity’s CCCW lessened our anxiety considerably and removed considerable barriers during the process.”

It’s important to keep the called worker’s family in mind during this process. We placed pictures of the new called workers and their families in the fellowship hall shortly after the calls had been accepted. Not only did this allow our members to put a face with the name, but it reminded the congregation to keep the families in their prayers.

We also asked about the family’s areas of interest. For those seeking employment we came up with a list of businesses and contacts for them to consider, as well as congregation members who could be used as references. Our tuition fund application was shared with students attending Luther Prep School.

Teachers Mike and MeLissa Wieting were appreciative. “It was so nice to be referred to members of the community who could help us with buying a home and moving to the area. They had names of a realtor, mortgage company, an insurance contact, and a moving company that led us through the intimidating process. We had never had to purchase our own home before so we had lots of questions. Our care committee even stepped in to preview homes on our behalf before we made a special trip to the area to see a property. Being a few hours away, an overwhelming process was made easier due to our CCCW.”

While the Call cover letter shared a summary of compensation and benefits, there were many details that needed to be addressed during the transition, such as: the timing and frequency of payroll; local banking options; tax withholding elections (yes, Social Security can be withheld on line 6 of Form W-4 for ministers of the gospel); and contributions to the Health Savings Account and 403b plan. There are nuances between the different health insurance plans offered through WELS. Understanding these differences, and/or coordinating a call with a benefit specialist to review together, would be productive.

Now that the called workers are here, we have stayed in touch. From helping to find a chiropractor and contractor, to directing them to a good beach for a family swim, there was much to share as they settled in. Most important, we “pray continually” for our called workers (1 Thessalonians 5:17). This encouragement has become a regular part of our CCCW report to the congregation.

Interested in starting a Care Committee at your congregation? Find resources and a how-to video at csm.welsrc.net/download-csm/called-worker-care.