Updated: Nov 27, 2019
Our Governing Board met via tele-conference on Thursday, November 21. What follows is a summary of the meeting, news from around our campuses, and a Happy Thanksgiving greeting from Pastor Carlos Leyrer, President of Divine Savior Ministries.
Dear Friends of our Divine Savior,
On Thursday, our nation will stop to give thanks. Feasts will be prepared in households across the country as a reminder of how much we have been blessed. Thanksgiving is a great tradition, but it is not reserved for just one day a year.
It takes a lot to move our ministry forward, and we are so thankful for all those that work together across our campuses and the country to move our mission of sharing Christ's love forward. Whatever your role may be, give thanks that hearts and minds are being changed by the love of Christ. Every week we hear from our families across our campuses the impact your dedication is having in their family. Thank you for your partnership in ministry. We truly do more ministry together!
On Thursday, November 21, the Governing Board of Divine Savior Ministries met to review reports and address the opportunities and challenges facing our ministry. What follows is a brief review from each campus.
Most recently two events were held, Coffee with the Family and High Schooler for a Day, to reach both our current and prospective families. These events were well attended, but will continue to be tweaked based on feedback received.
Our administration, marketing, public relations, business , and admissions departments have begun meeting monthly to discuss ways to improve and grow our campus. These meetings have been very fruitful as they bring together perspectives and input from all areas of our ministry.
The new procurement system, Procurify, has been implemented and is working well. We give thanks to all involved and the willingness of our staff to embrace this new system.
On Sunday, November 24, Divine Savior Church celebrated Baptism Sunday, a bilingual service bringing both our language groups together. The service was well attended, edifying, and five more children were brought into God’s family through baptism.
Bible Studies and Connect Groups continue to be offered in English and Spanish. We have approximately 160 total people engaged in Bible study or Connect Groups during any given week!
Leadership from DSC and DSM recently met with Architect and DSM Governor Mike Kadow to explore alternatives to building the $9 million Worship and Arts Center, including a renovation / expansion of the current multi-purpose café-torium. The results of these meetings will be shared with the Doral congregation at our next congregational meeting.
Cheryl Moffett joined our Delray team as our Director of Admissions and Community Relations in Delray Beach. She has been working to make connections in our community with various organizations, as well as individual families. She has been living in the area for 19 years and knows the community well. We have already seen an increase in tours, as well as interest in the school. Please keep her work in your prayers as admissions is receiving a great deal of attention on this campus.
Delray Beach continues to have a monthly Strategic Growth Plan Meeting after developing a Strategic Growth Plan early this fall. Administration, admissions, marketing, PR, and business personnel meet once a month to address key issues related to the growth and development of the campus, as well as tangible ways to solve these issues.
A new Bible Information Class began in September with 8 people in it! One of the families was from our first ever Soccer Camp. They are excited to become part of our church.
A new ministry called We Care is taking shape in Delray. This ministry organizes a number of teams of volunteers from our congregation to visit shut-ins, people in hospitals, give devotions, have friendly visits, run errands, take to doctor visits, help around the house, bring food, mail cards, or just pray for people who need prayers.
In October three new Connect Groups launched. The number of people involved doubled to about 30 each week!
The Admissions Department has been working to meet with local private school leaders to gather information regarding programs to consider adding next year. In addition, meetings with local preschools are being held to look for ways in which we can partner together.
Similar to Delray, Sienna has also developed a Strategic Growth Plan and meets monthly to discuss and move initiatives forward.
A high school feasibility study is underway for the Sienna campus. Currently, the Academy in Sienna runs through eighth grade. This study will evaluate the possibility of offering grades 9-12, the resources needed, as well as the implications for this campus and our ministry as a whole. The findings of this study will be shared with the Governing Board in our next meeting. From there, the Board will decide if or when this campus will proceed with adding the high school grades.
It is worth noting that the community of Sienna Plantation has officially shortened their name to Sienna. We are working to make the necessary changes on our end to reflect this new name.
In mid-September, Divine Savior Church kicked off a new Starting Point class that was advertised specifically to new DSA Pre-K and Kindergarten families this year. The class has gone very well. Several families have come to at least one of the sessions and four or five families will likely be confirmed in early December.
We recently hosted the joint Reformation service and activities for our area. It was fun to see how the staff and congregation worked together to host a presentation, service, and meal. Perhaps just as important, this was the first time that many from other congregations in our circuit had a chance to visit our campus since partnering with Divine Savior. The feedback about our campus and ministry was very positive and it was good to answer questions about why we partnered with DSA and the opportunities for gospel outreach through the Church and Academy that are evident.
Construction of the Santa Rita campus continues. We are on schedule, on budget, and excited for a May 2, 2020 Grand Opening event!
Santa Rita Ranch has officially opened enrollment for the 2020-2021 school year. We have more than 20 students in our application process right now and nine students have already been accepted as students at Divine Savior Academy - Santa Rita Ranch. Join us in thanking God for this very strong start!
Lisa Thomas, our Director of Admissions, is actively working to connect with families from our subscriber list. We have already had two successful admissions events: Lunch and Learn (October) and Sweets with DSA (November). The plan is to have at least one major admissions event each month, the next one being our mid-point construction event on December 7. Our church, community, and families will get together to sign the steel beams of our auditorium and leave their handprints on our foundation.
On November 3rd, Divine Savior Church, began our "Welcome Home" series. It was an unbelievable day. We had 64 people in worship which is our highest attended Sunday service. We welcomed 12 people into membership (nine adults) and enjoyed a potluck meal afterwards. Over the past six weeks we have averaged 50 in worship. Praise God!
On November 3rd Matt Vogt, visited our congregation. We met in the evening and talked about planning ministry for the future. It excited many of our members and there are several people now getting plugged into ministry.
West Palm Beach
Divine Savior Church’s annual Harvest Fest held on the last Saturday of October was a smashing success. Not only was our campus filled with members, friends, and first time visitors who enjoyed an afternoon of games, chili contest, cake walk, bingo, trunk or treat, and much, much more, but the outreach event has brought both first time and return visitors to our congregation in subsequent weeks.
In the past two months, the Lord has blessed our congregation with four infant baptisms and seven adults joining our congregation through confirmation. As one Starting Point class concludes the end of November, plans are already underway to begin another session the beginning of December with new people eager to study our God's precious Word.
Our DS Seniors again this year led the congregation in a drive to collect supplies and make cards for the 80 veterans who call the West Palm Beach VA Hospital home. The care packages- which include greetings from our Divine Savior Church - will be hand delivered by our seniors' group on Thursday, November 14.
The Divine Savior School (TDSS)
After a two-month delay due to permitting issues, we were notified that The Divine Savior School is back under construction (we are not constructing this building, rather leasing it from a partner group. They will present us with a recovery schedule to ensure the viability of a Fall 2020 start).
Dr. John Althoff continues to network with the special needs community and learn ways to effectively carry out this ministry. He has met with ten families who have all expressed interest in joining TDSS. As we learn more from this community it will help us determine exactly what needs we will be able to meet in year one.
This has been a learning experience in every aspect. What is clear is that this community presents a viable mission field that will touch every aspect of our ministry.
Divine Savior Ministries
Led by District President Westra, the Governing Board of Divine Savior Ministries issued calls to Pastor Carlos Leyrer (President), Tim Biesterfeld (Head of Schools), Shawna Mehlberg (Head of Early Childhood), and Dana Kirchoff (Vice President of Marketing and Growth). These calls reflect the structure of our multi-site ministry, but, practically-speaking, the work of these individuals will continue in the same fashion.
We are excited to roll out a new campaign called “Founding Families” on our new campuses during the second semester. A Founding Family is one that joins the DSA Family during the first three years of operation. This designation is a recognition of the trust our first families have placed in us and our new school campus. This designation also comes with the hope that these special families will become a proud part of the Divine Savior Family, an active voice in our campus development, and an enthusiastic ambassador to the community. This campaign connects all of our departments: marketing, PR, admissions, and administration with a focused strategy and common language for growth in our first years.
The new core values initiatives that were rolled out this summer have been blessings: DSA Family Day, staff growth plans, and intentional leaders and groups.
Morgan Prost, our new HR Coordinator, started last month. He has already been a blessing! On the core values/personnel side, he has begun revamping our on-boarding system from the time a call is extended through the first 90 days on campus. He is also processing payroll and managing benefits across our campuses. We appreciate his deep knowledge of ministry needs, as well as his professionalism and desire to standardize procedures and processes.
Finally, call season has opened across our synod. We ask that you continue to keep in your prayers all those who are holding or have deliberated calls. Pray that our Lord lead them to peace in their decision as to where they can best serve Him.
As always, there is much to be thankful for at Divine Savior. It is amazing how much God is doing through your work. May God bless your Thanksgiving celebrations!
Serving with You,
Pastor Carlos Leyrer
President - Divine Savior Ministries