Transition Information

Transition Task Force

Check out these photos of what makes Bethany such a great place to worship!

Please contact any of the Task Force Members below if you have questions or comments. We want to hear from you. Tell us what your vision for Bethany is.

  • Ted Hakala -
  • Kevin Jacobson -
  • Jodi Babineau -
  • Pam Crouse -
  • Bill Evans -
  • Jan Wilking -
  • Kayelon Campbell Murphy -
  • Pastor Peter Muschinske -

Transition Task Force Report:

Full Congregation Report

Appendix A (CAT Report)

Appendix B-G

Appendix H-P

Appendix N (Church Size Dynamics)

 January 28: Did you know, that a top priority among all age groups at Bethany is that we need to make necessary changes to attract families with children and youth to our church?
Post Script: Share with the Transition Task Force how you think we can continue to “grow young!”

Past DYK

January 21: Did you know, the top three areas for additional Bethany efforts as stated in the CAT survey are: 1) Develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to reach new people and incorporate them into the life of the church. 2) Make necessary changes to attract families with children and youth to our church. 3) Develop ministries that work toward healing those broken by life circumstances.

January 14: All this information demonstrates we are a responsive, adaptable, but cautious church. Let’s explore, let’s educate, let’s communicate, let’s move forward faith, connection and service!

January 7: The congregation assessment tool was completed by 225 people or 79% of the average worship attendance. There are primary benefits from this figure: 1) People were intent upon leadership’s invitation to provide input and 2) There is strong confidence in the validity of the data with this level of response.

December 30: Our congregation has a much higher percent than average of members that believe that their faith is central to their lives. This group also reports a higher than average engagement in life-long learning that prepares for service in the world. Are you looking for a way to learn and study alone or with a group? Do you need to fit it into a very busy life? We have something for you.

December 24: There are four types of churches according to how many members/active members there are. They are: a) The Family Church- fewer than 50 members; b)The Pastoral Church- 50-150 members; c)The Program Church- 150-350 (Bethany) and d) The Corporate Church-350 + members.
With these different sizes and dynamics, it is very important that we find the Pastor that fits our needs as a Program Church.

December 17: That ‘social issues’, followed by ‘family’ and ‘relationships’ were the top three priorities of Bethany’s 35 years or younger age group? Despite living with technology and social media, this age group is seeking personal connections through our church.

December 10: About Rice Lake (2019-2020) - Population is 8,308; Median age is 39; Race and Ethnicity is 95.3% White, 1.4% Asian, 0.9% Native American and 1.4% Hispanic; Median household income is $42,500; However, 18.4% live in poverty

December 3: The two priorities for all age groups at Bethany were: 1) Make necessary changes to attract families with children and youth to our church, and 2) Develop ministries that work toward healing those broken by life circumstances.

November 25: That 80% of those who responded to the CAT survey were 55 years or older. Only 18% in the 35-54 age group responded to the survey. In the years to come, Bethany’s pool of leaders will shrink, unless a younger age demographic is engaged in the life of the congregation.

Bethany Lutheran Age Demographics

Age 0-18 = 275 =  22%
Age 19-40 = 272 =  21%
Age 41-64 = 321 = 25%
Age 65+ = 394 = 31%
Total membership = 1262

November 19: That the CAT told us that of those that responded to the survey, our congregation has a much higher percent than average of members that believe that their faith is central to their lives?

November 12: Did you know that the CAT survey confirmed that our church is not in a “bad spot.” It shows areas that we can improve on and grow even stronger and better. Great News!

November 5: Did you know that if you are feeling uncomfortable or confused with the transition process Bethany is going through, you are not alone? Based on the post-vital signs presentation following the CAT survey, many of Bethany’s members are experiencing feelings of loss at different levels during this time. If you are feeling this way or would like more information, please do not hesitate to reach out to any of the members of the Transition Task Force. All discussion with the Transition Task Force remains confidential.

October 29: Did You Know the following about Barron County (2019)?

Population is 45,252; Median age is 44; Race and Ethnicity is 95.3% White, 1.6% Black or African American, 1.1% Native American, 0.7% Asian and 2.6% Hispanic; Median household income is $50,903; However, 12.3% live in poverty.

October 22: The Congregational Assessment Tool (CAT) showed that, while not everyone agrees with some of the current restrictions, most recognize leadership for their creativity and efforts to keep the congregation connected through the use of multiple technology platforms.

October 15: That Spiritual Vitality is alive and well at Bethany. The CAT survey indicates that most members understand the centrality of faith in their lives. Our congregation has benefited from the ministries at Bethany to help them be spiritually alive people. Whatever we are doing, we need to keep doing it.

October 8: That the CAT told us that even though those that responded may have been a more motivated and engaged group, on the hospitality score, our rankings average or below compared to 2000 other churches? Yet, we hear often that we are already a welcoming church? What do you think is happening here? Do you think we can do better? How?

October 1: That as a whole congregation, we would all like to see more families join our church?

November 2020 Good NewsBreak Article

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” --Jeremiah 29:11

Times of change and uncertainty can cause anxiety. This same change is also an opportunity for growth and improvement. As the passage above states, God has plans for us and I think that we can all take comfort that those plans give us hope and confidence for the future of Bethany.

The Transition Task Force (TTF) began its work at the beginning of September with the goal of conducting an assessment of the various systems at Bethany, including policy and procedure, communications, personnel, spiritual health, and organization just to mention a few.

The Task Force is comprised of eight members with Pastor Peter as our Interim Pastor and consultant in the process. Our goal is to conduct a thorough assessment of Bethany and the congregation resulting in written recommendations that will assist the Call Committee in calling our next Lead Pastor. Our team is divided into three sub-groups:

Mission and Vision: Pam Crouse and Jan Wilking

This group works ensure that the congregation has a clear understanding of its existing vision for mission and to challenge it to embrace the most compelling shared vision for mission for the next 3-5 years. This vision work enables the staffing study team to craft a staffing configuration appropriate to the vision for mission going forward.

Self-Study: Jodi Babineau, Bill Evans and Kayelon Campbell-Murphy

This team studies the vital signs of spiritual life in the congregation. The Congregation Assessment Tool (CAT) that was conducted in August is an important source of information as this team measures the health and wellbeing of the congregation. Insights from this team, combined with Mission & Vision and Staffing provide direction and recommendations regarding the health of Bethany.

Staffing: Kevin Jacobson and Ted Hakala

The role of this team is to review existing needs of present staff members, full and part-time, paid, volunteers, clergy, and lay members. Along with Mission & Vision and Self-Study team insight, this team formulates and recommends a staffing design that will meet the needs of the congregation into the future.

The Transition Team wants to be as transparent as possible. We welcome your feedback and insights at any time. Watch for weekly information in the Bethany 411 communication. A “Transition Information” tab has been added to the Bethany website where communications from this team will be posted on a regular basis. Part of the transition process is telling the Bethany story, past, present and forecasting the future. Send us photos with the theme of, “What Makes Bethany A Great Place to Worship.” A celebration, youth gathering, worship at the park, etc. Get creative. Tell the Bethany story in photos. Send your photos to Leah in the office and we will post them on the Bethany web site.

Lastly, the Transition Team works on behalf of you. This review process will take as long as necessary to get a good understanding of the culture at Bethany. However, we do hope to have a preliminary report to Council by the end of this year. Along this journey, we may ask for your insights and we are confident that members of Bethany will step up when asked. If you see something you like, let us know. If you see something you do not like or have a question, let us know. This team represents you, the Bethany congregation. Don’t wait to be asked. Pick up the phone or send an email or text to a team member tomorrow.  Tell us what you think, what you love about Bethany, what can be improved, what we are doing right and where to improve. We want to make sure that we represent you well. Stay tuned.

Resources and Information

September 20 Minutes from Coffee with the Transition Task Force

October 4 Minutes from Coffee with the Transition Task Force

Congregational Report of CAT Survey Results

What makes Bethany a great place to worship?