Dear Friends of Divine Savior,
It’s hard to believe we are already more than halfway through the first quarter. So much goes into getting ready for the new year, and we are grateful for the hard work of our staff, congregational members, and parent volunteers who always manage to bring it all together. We give thanks for the many families that returned for another year of ministry together. We value their partnership and look forward to serving them again this year.
On September 19th our Governing Board met to discuss our path moving forward. Together we reviewed strategic plans, budgets, and future personnel needs. It was great to see, share, and express our united vision for ministry.
At this meeting, we welcomed a new member to our Board, Mr. Michael Kadow. Join me in thanking God for his willingness, and the willingness of all our governors, to serve our ministry in this way. Please continue to keep this group in your prayers.
(Our Governing Board and Officers: Michael Kadow, Pastor Ben Kuerth, Robert Timmerman, Tim Biesterfeld, Brian Cottrell, Sam Londono, Dana Kirchoff, Pastor Charles Westra, Shawna Mehlberg, Ileana Ortiz, Pastor Carlos Leyrer. Not pictured: Pastor David Bivens and David Faber).
What follows is a summary of our meeting and reports. We hope you find it beneficial as we continue to do more ministry together.
In His Service,
Pastor Carlos Leyrer
President - Divine Savior Ministries
We currently have 990 students enrolled. To God be the glory!
ECE (PreK-3 through 1st grade): 158 students
Elementary (2nd - 5th grade): 256 students
Middle School (6th - 8th grade): 226 students
High School (9th - 12th grade): 350 students
19 new teachers joined the DSA-Doral Team this summer. Join us in giving thanks for them!
A new and exciting venture on our Doral campus is our DSA Family Days. These are held on the first Wednesday of each month and are an opportunity for our entire staff (teachers, administrators, and every support position) to gather for an afternoon of spiritual and professional development.
Another exciting new venture is the Personal Growth Plan. Each member of the Doral staff will be creating a personal growth plan this year with the support of their leader. We hope that this plan will be a blessing for all members of the Divine Savior Team as we look to find ways to serve with our unique gifts and talents.
Updates from Divine Savior Church-Doral:
We began offering a Saturday evening English worship service at 5:00pm this month.
We launched a campus-wide Spiritual Growth Plan Program. Eleven different Bible studies, classes, or connect groups are being offered in English, along with five in Spanish.
We recently completed year two of our Spiritual Life Surveys in the Academy. Approximately 20 students mentioned that they are interested in learning more about being baptized. We will be using this information to lead into a Baptism Sunday on November 24. 75% of parents surveyed said they would be interested in learning more about having devotions at home and praying with their children. We are excited to learn more about how to serve the needs of our families!
Delray Beach Campus
The campus in Delray Beach opened their doors for the new school year on August 13 with 18 students. Teacher Jennifer Chojnacki was installed as the 1st and 2nd grade teacher.
Enrollment continues to receive a great deal of time, attention, and energy. We are in the process of hiring a full-time admissions coordinator for this campus. His or her priority will be connecting with the community and actively working to bring families onto our campus through events and tours, while also leading them through the enrollment process.
The campus is blessed to have Songs for Seeds renting our space for this school year. This is an organization that caters to the families of young children. We are hoping that this traffic on our campus will translate into many of them enrolling in our school. Katie Faber is leading a group of movement classes for young children that will serve the same purpose of bringing more families onto the campus.
The staff is working tirelessly to connect with families and to develop relationships in hope to grow the Delray campus. We are thankful to God for their service and are trusting that He will bless their efforts.
God continues to bless Divine Savior Church in Delray Beach:
Two years ago, we had 33 communicants and 49 souls.
Today we have 70 communicants and 97 souls.
We are now a self-supporting congregation!
This summer we held a Soccer Camp for outreach with 45 kids and their families on our campus for a week. It garnered interest and went very well.
Sienna Plantation Campus
Our campus in Sienna Plantation has 103 students enrolled. We are encouraged by continued interest and the fact that our preschool program grew from last year to this year.
The staff in Sienna Plantation welcomed two new teachers: Ben and Elizabeth Melott. Ben is teaching 7th grade, while Elizabeth has 1st/2nd grade in a combined classroom.
This summer saw the addition of four portable classrooms for our middle school students and will accommodate the programs that are being planned for the 2020-2021 school year. Other campus improvements included an extensive upgrade to our IT system.
A Parent-Teacher-Organization (PTO) was formed this year, and there has been a strong interest in participation on the part of our families.
Principal Patrick Cortright is in the process of setting up individual meetings during the first quarter with the parents of each new student. The hope is for a relationship to be formed and to show these families that we value their partnership in education.
Our faculty discussions have reflected a renewed emphasis on a "harvest strategy" to connect with new families. A new DSC Starting Point class will begin with new DSA families. We are grateful for the collaborative work between DSA and DSC!
Santa Rita Ranch Campus
Construction is moving at full speed. We have picked up some time against the original schedule and anticipate significant completion by the end of April.
Currently, we have a list of 150 families that have requested information about the school. On September 16th we opened enrollment for the 2020-2021 school year. We are grateful for the 15 requests for application we received on the first day!
We welcomed our new Director of Admissions, Lisa Thomas, to begin following up with families, networking in the community, and hosting enrollment-focused events.
On October 15th, we will begin calling an administrator and teachers to serve this new campus.
At Divine Savior Church, we praise God because this past month we averaged 47 in Sunday worship. This is our highest attended month to date. Praise God!
West Palm Beach Campus
The Lord has blessed us over the summer with 5 baptisms, as we're going through a baby boom in WPB. What a blessing this is for the little ones whom God welcomes into his family, a celebration for their families, and a reminder for our congregation of the power of God's Word combined with the Water which truly does bring new life, forgiveness, and salvation.
Connect Opportunities continue to grow as we transition from this summer's "Divine Savior Nights" congregation wide mid-week study to our Connect Group format.
Our children's growth opportunities are being utilized well as we continue to expand our DS Kids program and the new 4th - 6th grade DS 'Tweens class on Sunday morning. We have 8 students in our 7th - 8th grade confirmation class.
Bridges Christian Learning Center is up and running on our campus. It is a school for families who for different reasons do not wish to attend the public school system. This replacement of The Academic Link is spearheaded by two of our members, and ministry opportunities have presented themselves as Pastor Boggs hosts the entire school, faculty, and any interested parents for a Thursday morning chapel service in our sanctuary.
The Divine Savior School
Construction is underway. We are told the facility will be complete in May of 2020.
We recently submitted a grant to the Drexel Fund. It was an extensive process that forced us to ask many questions of our program. This is what we learned:
Our school and its programs will serve students with severe and profound needs. These students require a 1:1 ratio and give us a capacity of about 30 students.
We will also be able to serve students from the community not enrolled at TDSS with services provided by our TDSS therapists. This would happen in the two hours following the school day. This means that while our student body may only be 30, our reach can increase to more than 50 students / families.
We continued to be excited about this new ministry because:
These students need Christ-centered education.
This will be unique in the WELS and could become a model for others to follow. Martin Luther College is starting to train teachers in this specific area.
This could be a valuable outreach arm for our churches and provide our existing students with service opportunities.
This could be a model we replicate within Divine Savior Ministries.
Divine Savior Ministries Staffing Update
DSM is planning to hire a Human Resources Coordinator. This new position will be responsible for compliance, payroll, benefits, handbooks and policies, on/off boarding, implementation of our core values, and seek opportunities to improve our culture within the context of ministry. The HR Coordinator will work for all campuses, and will be the point of contact for all employees in regards to the above-mentioned areas.
We welcomed a new Director of Art and Design to our Marketing Team, Gretel Delgado. We are currently interviewing for a new part-time graphic designer.
We have decided to put the search for a Director of Marketing on hold. We have been interviewing for this position over the last few months. During this time, it became evident that Delray Beach has a great need for a Director of Admissions in order to increase student count.
Strategic Growth Plans
Strategic Growth Plans were presented for both the Delray Beach and Sienna Plantation campuses. The plans were created collaboratively between campus leadership and DSM leadership, as well as presented to school councils.
Moving forward these plans will be created each spring in anticipation of the new school year, before budgets are finalized and the important summer enrollment season begins. Heading into summer, we will have the goals of the new year ahead of us to plan, prepare, and prioritize.
Core Values Project
We have servants' hearts. We thrive through cooperation. We have a growth-mindset.
A group of DSC pastors and members of the DSA-Doral Theology Department created our first organizational Statement of Faith. This document will be shared in communications, with prospective families during the admissions process, and during the hiring process with new team members. It is a foundational document.
The Core Values Book, “More Ministry Together,” was created and printed. We are excited to have our Statement of Faith, mission statements, history, core values, and culture-building initiatives all in one place.
The Core Values Rollout Presentation was held this August in Doral for members of our Doral and Delray Beach teams. We are grateful that District President Westra could be there to take part in the presentation. This month Head of Schools Tim Biesterfeld presented the book to Sienna’s team. It was also presented to Pastor Stephen Apt and Director of Admissions Lisa Thomas in Santa Rita Ranch.
We continue to look for ways to build each other up through this project!
Divine Savior Church
This summer our DSC pastors and wives got together in Jensen Beach, Florida. Over the course of two days we fleshed out a worship plan for next year that includes thematic message series with outlines and texts. Along with this we will produce graphics, videos, connect group materials, series theme songs, and some theme-specific prayers and responsive readings.
We have begun using social media more to invite people, build engagement with our local community, and share helpful gospel content. We now have a DSC social media guidebook that each campus has now begun to use.
MyDSC (Church Community Builder) continues to be the tool we are using more and more for managing member info, church communications, organizing connect groups, processes, scheduling volunteers, tracking attendance, needs requests and forms, as well as online giving.
One thing to note is that this year our pool of shared association resources has grown. Dawn Schulz has been able to secure a multi-site license for many helpful things from a CCLI copyright license to a Shift Worship subscription (a worship media site). Along with our shared website, each campus has access to necessary and helpful resources that would cost any one of us a lot more money to secure if we were on our own.
We continue to give thanks for the gifts God has given to DSC. We are excited to worship, connect, and serve our community at each campus.
To God be the glory!