November 2019

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November 2019

Dear friends in our Savior,
How do we make our ministry irresistible? What message are we communicating to people with
our ministry environment? What impressions do new visitors have of us as they drive onto our property
for the first time? Is our ministry appealing to others as something they would be a part of?
These are questions that are important for us to wrestle with. As Bible-believing Christians, we
know full well that it is only the Holy Spirit working through Word and Sacrament who creates and
strengthens faith in hearts of God’s people. Any discussion about reaching the unchurched and
dechurched and nones (those with no church affiliation) has to begin and center around the proclamation
of the Gospel to work and strengthen faith. There and there alone is our confidence. At the same time,
these other questions are important because they give us the opportunity to proclaim the Word to people.
If our environment proclaims a message that we really don’t care about visitors nor do we care enough
about our God to take care of the things he has given us, they won’t come back to give us another
opportunity to share the Gospel with them. So these questions are important for us to consider.
It is said that it only takes 7 seconds to make a first impression. 7 seconds! The first 7 seconds a
new person spends on our property solidifies in their minds a lasting impression of us and our ministry.
That doesn’t seem fair. They are forming an opinion of us before they even meet us! You’re right, it isn’t
fair…but it’s the truth. From what our condition our property is in to where they need to go for worship
to how friendly people are to them on the way in…all of these are preaching a message before the message
to our visitors. How friendly are people to me out in the parking lot? How helpful are people to me once
I find where the sanctuary is? How welcoming are people before and after worship? All of these speak
volumes to people! All of these proclaim a message to people about whether or not we really do care
about them and their spiritual welfare.
I share these thoughts with you to make you aware of how important these things are. This is one
of the reasons our building project includes upgrading and expanding the parking lot. Once this project is
complete, it will go a long way in upgrading the first impression people have of us. I hope it also makes
you more aware of how important it is to be welcoming and helpful to someone you’ve never seen before.
There is an adage that says: Time in erodes awareness of. In other words, the longer you are part of a
ministry, the less aware of it you become. It’s good for us to step back on a regular basis and ask the
question: How does this appear to a first time visitor? It might be ok for us. It might be something we
are used to. But what would this say to a first time visitor? What can we do to give them the best first
impression possible so that we can have further chances to share the Gospel of Jesus with them?
The Apostle Paul displayed the same attitude when he wrote to the Corinthians, “I have become al
things to al people so that by al possible means I might save some.” (I Corinthians 9:22). I pray that we are able to
become all things to all people, striving for excellence in all things, including the grounds and facilities we
have as well as the ministry we conduct, so that through all possible means, we might reach more people
with the Gospel of Jesus.
Pastor Vannieuwenhoven
Northdale Lutheran Church & School 1
Inside This Issue
MLT Meeting
to Note
Church Events/
Mark Your
Things to Note/
School News
November 2019
Northdale Lutheran Church & School 2
Three Year-End Questions
As you tidy up your financial affairs for this year, you will likely be thinking about your charitable giving goals and
aspirations. Here are a few questions to help you plan.
1. Am I able to make a special year-end gift to Northdale Lutheran?
As the year closes, you will likely receive mail from various charities requesting your financial assistance. During
this period, we hope you will also consider Northdale Lutheran. We are striving to conclude this year in good
financial shape so we can confidently face the opportunities and challenges of the future. Your special year-end gift
will strengthen us considerably.
A gift may be unrestricted to be used where needed most. Or it could be earmarked for a specific purpose. For
example, you could designate your gift for capital expenses, such as new construction or remodeling projects. You
could also establish an endowment fund where the gift is invested and only the growth distributed from year to year.
2. What are my tax obligations this year?
Many taxpayers consult with their accountants before the end of the year to determine tax liability. Perhaps you’ve
done this already, or maybe you simply have a good idea where you stand. In any case, we encourage you to take
advantage of the tax benefits offered by the government. The income tax charitable deduction can allow you to give
more than you might otherwise be able to give.
Are your taxes likely to be high this year? Then it may be a good time to increase your giving. You might even
consider moving forward some of next year’s giving into this year so you can utilize the tax benefits this year.
3. Do I have appreciated stock or real estate I could use to fund an income-for-life gift arrangement?
You may find yourself in a situation where you want to give more to Northdale Lutheran but cannot afford to
decrease your annual income. Consider a gift annuity through WELS Foundation. You can obtain one of these with a
gift of stock and in many cases receive more income than you are currently receiving from the stock. These annuity
payments would continue for the rest of your life.
For example, a 75-year-old person currently qualifies for a gift annuity rate of 6.5 percent. A gift of $25,000 would
“yield” annual payments of $1,625 every year for the rest of his or her life.
Start Now
Perhaps the most important thing about year-end giving is to start early, especially if you are planning to use stock or
real estate. Life-income gift arrangements and consultations with your professional advisor(s) also take time. The
sooner you begin the process, the less hurried you will feel.
For assistance, please call 800-827-5482 to speak with your local WELS Christian giving counselor. He can talk with
you about different options for maximizing your gift. There is no cost or obligation for working with a counselor.
November 2019
Northdale Lutheran Church & School 3
The following are highlights from the Ministry Leadership Team meeting on October 25, 201:
• The meeting began with a devotion by Pastor Vann
• The following Membership Actions taken at this meeting:
• Transfer Out –Deanna Witte to Christ the King Lutheran Church, Palm Coast, FL
• Wedding— Dillon and Mallory Rannow 10.19.19
• Our Total Membership is 246 with Communicant membership at 182.
• Pastor will be leaving on Wednesday, November 6 for Wisconsin for Campus ministry meetings. They asked Pastor to come as an
advisor. Pastor will be returning on Saturday, November 9.
• Nick Koren reported that we K-8 enrollment is at 56, and VPK enrollment is at 9—all with full-time care. The marketing team
had their first meeting this month. The team is working to move forward on new projects, and the meeting ended with 3 action
items: (1) research vendors to build out website; (2) equip and engage families in the school to write online reviews; and (3) input
from people for potential name change of the school. A survey went out to families this week to solicit input for changes to the
school’s name.
• MLT briefly discussed potential concerns with a name change i.e., financial concerns with the need to change the sign, and
potential legal aspects. The marketing team generally thought a name change would be beneficial. The Marketing team thought
it would be beneficial to fix the website first. Marketing team also discussed how to search for vendors for website builders, and
advised that one of the estimates we received was for $7,400. We have an offer to match up to half of the money that we need for
the first year to set up the website.
• The benefits for Chris Haring, Amy Vann, Joan Mattes, and Bethany Schwartz were revised to include long-term disability.
Addition of long-term disability for all 5 teachers together is $668 for WELS VEBA, which is cheaper than Pastor by himself
currently. Motion to change long-term disability insurance to WELS VEBA for every teacher made by Mike Laurin, seconded by
Jeff; motion carried.
• Steve Ward reported that Fall Festival is this Saturday. We are starting to get ready for Christmas mailings. We participated in
Trunk or Treat in Northdale Park, and we received a lot of positive responses at the event. Many people heard of the Fall
Festival, and were genuinely excited about the Fall Festival this weekend. One individual spoke with Joan about the preschool
• Elders meetings was last week, in which the Elders focused on going through a list Pastor created to identify members who
haven’t come to worship for many weeks and who the Elders could reach out to. The Elders group is going to start making phone
calls to absent members, send them letters inviting them out to welcome home Sunday. A Member requested financial assistance,
which led about $150 in gift card donations
• Pastor Vann reported that Chris Driesbach called asking to come and help out with a worship service in February. Chris is a
WELS singing who will sing during service and present his shorten concert during bible study. Chris does not charge the church;
instead, he simply takes donations and door offerings. MLT discussed whether we should accept his invitation, and MLT
approved Chris performing in February.
• Pastor spoke with Percy to set up the books for July through October. Percy should have things set up within the next few
weeks. Offerings have been up since the 10 for 10. Pastor needs to fix the microphone for church.
• SWFWMDD said we needed to have the retention pond inspected, and they are supposed to come on Monday. The landscaping
crew is going to start trimming the trees and make sure the weeds are sprayed. Dane noted that the air filters on the new
equipment needs to be replaced.
• Jeff spoke with Brian Bush about it serving on the Building Committee, and Brian was going to think about it and get back to
Jeff. Jeff also spoke to Dave Hartwig. Dave was gracious and said he was there if he needed help, but he did express concerns
about time. Jeff is not opposed to having both of them, but wants one to serve as a lead. Jeff is going reach out to Rory to
confirm that we closed on the loan on Friday, October 25. The Architect sent us documents to have notarized for the permit,
which we will send in tomorrow. We had to put $16K to close on the loan, and the WELS Extension Fund allowed us to use the
insurance money towards the down payment. Pastor suggested that we schedule a groundbreaking ceremony after we have a
firmer timeline concerning the start date of the project. MLT agreed.
• (Continued on next page)
November 2019
Northdale Lutheran Church & School 4
Northdale Lutheran’s Second Annual Fall Festival!
Last year’s FIRST Annual Northdale Lutheran Fall Festival was a huge success. We are hoping to build upon that
success with our Second Annual Fall Festival. Please come and join us for fun, games, and prizes for ALL ages from
10am-2pm on Saturday, November 2 here on the Northdale Lutheran campus, in conjunction with the local
Northdale Pumpkin Run put on by the local YMCA.
Thanksgiving Eve Worship
God has truly blessed us with all that he has given to us. While every day we have the
opportunity to say thank you to him for these great blessings, Thanksgiving gives us a
special opportunity to count our blessings and bring our thanks before God. We will
offer a special Thanksgiving Worship service for us to gather with our church family to
say thanks to God on Wednesday, November 27 at 6:30pm. Please set aside time to
join us to say thanks to God for all that he has given to us.
Thanksgiving Food Drive
Every November, we gather food to give to Metropolitan Ministries to help people who don’t have the
means to provide fully for themselves or their families. We will be gathering food throughout the month of
November until December 2. Please bring nonperishable food items and place them on the tables
provided either in the church or the school building. We’d love to have everyone participate to be able to
show our love to those less fortunate than us. It is a great way to say thanks to God for the blessings he has
given us.
MLT Minutes Continued…
• Old Business—Amy Vann’s Housing Allowance—Jeff called the WELS HR person, and is waiting to hear back concerning
WELS’ input on the ability to forgive the loan and the impact it would have if Pastor accepted a call sometime in the future.
Jeff also spoke to his personal CPA who manages his business regarding the loan forgiveness and monies owed to Amy. Jeff’s
CPA said that we are legally able to gift $10K per person per year. In order to not create tax implications we need to add
interest from the original day, and the CPA said to use a 5% interest rate, which will bring the total amount of the loan to
about $40-45K over the course of the next 4 years. Jeff also spoke to a mortgage broker regarding who gave a brief history of
mortgage down payment assistance in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties. MLT also discussed the idea about creating an
updated promissory note. Jeff’s CPA said the employee/employer relationship did not matter as it relates to loan forgiveness.
Steve recognized that we need a congregational vote on the potential forgiveness. The MLT agreed that a congregational
meeting is required.
• Next Leadership Team meeting scheduled for November 25, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.
November 2019
Northdale Lutheran Church & School 5
Pastor Vann Declined Call
Pastor Vann has returned his call to serve as pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Beaver Dam, WI and will
continue serving as our pastor here at Northdale Lutheran. We praise God that he led Pastor Vann to a decision he
can be confident in. We pray for God’s continued blessings on our pastor as he serves us here in Tampa. Pastor
appreciated all of your thoughts and prayers as he deliberated this call.
Ministry Teams
In an effort to better serve God’s people here at Northdale and involve more people in the ministry, we offer several ministry
teams. We ask each member of Northdale Lutheran to consider what gifts, abilities and interests God has granted to you to see if
there is a place where you could serve.
Please see where you might consider serving and see the meeting schedule for this month below:
Pastor Vann Gone to Campus Ministry
Pastor Vann will be traveling to Milwaukee, WI for the fall Campus Ministry Committee meeting November 6-9.
While Pastor’s final term on this committee has ended, he is still working on project for them. They also asked him to
come as an advisory member to help in the transition to a new chairman. Pastor thanks you for the opportunity to
serve our church body in this way. If you have any need for pastoral help while he is gone, you can reach Pastor on his
cell phone.
Date 6:30pm 7:30pm
November 11 School Ministry Board
14 School Marketing Team
18 Evangelism Team Financial Advice Team
25 Ministry Leadership Team
Youth Group Movie Night
November 15th will be a S’mores/Campfire/Movie night at church. We’d love to have you join us for this fun
fellowship event. Please contact Amy Vann if you would like to contribute to this event. Also, Youth Bible Study will
be studying from the Creation to the Flood. If anyone is interested in helping lead this course in a rotation once a
month or every other month, please contact Chris Haring or Amy Vann.
Preschool Update
In honor of fall, we’ve been learning a lot about pumpkins this month. We’ve learned how they grow, felt the slimy
insides, and tasted the seeds. We even used them for math. We also had some cute visitors in our classroom- two little
chicks! The kids loved to hold them and learn about how chicks grow. We enjoyed Muffins with Mom this month. It
was nice to spend time with our moms and let them know how special they are. We also sang in church for the first
time. It was wonderful to hear the children’s voices praising their Savior. We are very thankful that our preschool
program has grown this month. We welcomed one new full time student as well as Kallie Mendez as a part time
afternoon aide. We look forward to seeing what November will bring!
November 2019
Northdale Lutheran Church & School 6
Electronic Giving Option Update!
Remember that we and an option for online giving! Online giving is now set up and available through our new
membership software entitled Breeze. The neat thing about this option is that it automatically connects your
contribution to your account for recording purposes.
You can give securely through Breeze two ways – setting up one-time gifts or recurring donations:
1) You can give by texting the word GIVE to (813) 652-0408
2) You can give online at
This new option will also save the congregation $150/month that we currently pay for PushPay. We will be phasing out
PushPay soon. We encourage everyone who is currently using PushPay to make the switch to Breeze before that time.
Please ask if you have any questions.
Fellowship Sunday – Singing, and Craft & Bake Sale!
We have a big day planned for Sunday, November 10. We will be celebrating this as “Fellowship Sunday”, starting with the
children from our Northdale Lutheran School singing in the 10:30am worship service. Our annual Craft and Bake Sale
will be held that day following this worship service. This is an opportunity for all of our members to participate by bringing
some delicious baked goods or craft projects to sell after worship. See details below on how you can help! All the proceeds
from this event go to our Women of Northdale team, who provide all of the altar and sanctuary furnishings for our church
throughout the church year. It’s a fun (and delicious!) time and we’d love for everyone to participate. You won’t want to miss
this awesome day to come together with our Northdale family!
Information about Craft & Bake Sale
Who can participate?
• Anyone who is crafty or who bakes (male, female, child, etc…)
• Anyone who thinks they are crafty or can bake!
What do I make?
• Anything you’d like!
• Crafty items of the past: paintings, hand stamped cards, aprons, ornaments, dolls, doll clothes, purses, pillows, etc.
• Baked goods in the past: pies, cakes, cupcakes, brownies, lemon squares, canned pickles, candy bark, hot cocoa mixes,
cookies, bars, etc.
• Check Pinterest for some cute ideas!
How do I price my items?
• Any price you’d like (it is a fundraiser, but you really can’t go wrong!)
How do I package my items?
• Ideally on a disposable plate or dollar store pan, so no one takes off with your kitchenware. Saran Wrap works well, as
do little holiday treat baggies that you can get from the party stores in town.
When do I bring my items?
• Sunday morning of November 11
Where do I bring my items?
• Northdale Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall
What if I don’t bake and I’m not crafty?
• Bring your wallet!
November 2019
Northdale Lutheran Church & School 7
to your school.
to your teachers.
to your youth.
Mufns with Mom
October 9 NLS invited all the moms and their students to enjoy a light breakfast including muffins in our
fellowship hall. It was a great time to thank our moms for all they do and build the partnership our school has
with the home. Mr. Mattes also took a few minutes to give an update on upcoming school events and preview
ministry plans for the coming year. The event ended with our parents listening to the school children sing the
song Seek Ye First, which they sang for worship the following Sunday. It was a blessing to connect with our
families through this event. Mark your calendars: there will be a similar event, Donuts with Dad, on March 11.
Spiritual Growth Conference
October 16-18 school was closed so our pastor and teachers could attend the South Atlantic District Teachers’
Conference in Doral, FL. Here our staff were able to sit at the feet of highly qualified and experienced presenters
to learn more about gospel ministry strategies as well as classroom techniques. The conference keynote session
focused on how we can pursue excellence in educational ministry by growing professionally and building
relationships with people so they can be touched with the gospel. We left refreshed and well equipped with some
new tools which we can make use of in this ministry setting. Our faculty will be using content from the
conference to enhance our professional development plans and improve our instructional techniques.
Notes from the NLS Marketing Team
The newly formed Marketing Team met for the first time in October. We are blessed to have current and former
business owners/managers, graphic designers, parents from our school, and members of our church on this team.
The team works under a single vision of increasing school enrollment so that more may benefit from our school’s
mission: Northdale Lutheran School assists families by providing an excellent education in a safe, Christian
environment. The first meeting resulted in three key action items: 1) Research website designers in order to
rebuild our current website and better differentiate between the church and school. 2) Engage our church and
school families in posting online reviews or recommendations via Nextdoor, Google, Facebook, etc. 3) Consider a
name change that is reflective of our Christ-centered purpose and accurately conveys our desire to serve the
community with Christian education, preschool through 8th grade.
We need your help with all of these items. A family has stepped forward in offering a challenge grant to match
$3,600 of $7,200 we expect a new website would cost. If you’d like to make a contribution, please mark your
donation for website. We need your help in posting those online reviews. Think how valuable these reviews are
when someone is researching specific services. We also want your feedback on the name change idea. You are
welcome to share your thoughts with Pastor or Mr. Mattes. You can also go online and complete a very short
survey to share your ideas: