Christus Victor
Lutheran Church

Apple Valley, MN

Have you ever heard this lightbulb joke, “How many Lutherans does it take to change a lightbulb? “Change?”

People often ask me, “How long have you been serving as an Interim? I’ve served as an Interim Pastor in between calls since 2008. Interim ministry has taught me that churches are always in some sort of transition, whether it be changes in staff, leadership, building projects, programs, capital campaigns, ministry initiatives, and other exciting endeavors. Interim periods have a beginning and an end. They are meant to truly be a time of discernment, wonder and dreaming about the future. At Christus Victor, I’ve served as pastor, worship leader and been responsible for Faith Formation for All which used to be called Cross Gen Ministry. After meeting with former and current members of the Cross-Gen Team, we discerned the current schedule on Sunday mornings for Faith Formation for All. It has been a full year and a half of guest speakers, festivals and trying different curriculums for small group time.

At Christus Victor, I’ve witnessed faithful leadership and anticipation of the future. The building project has propelled Christus Victor to look outside its walls to move toward a future of inviting others to participate in the ministry and mission here.

My role at Christus Victor began as part-time Interim in August 2018. Over the past six years, I have been on leave from call and have helped congregations during Interim transitions. I have had the privilege of working with all of the staff which included two Interim staff people, Pastor Katie and Cory Jones who worked with a ministry called InterServe. InterServe helps congregations in transition and their main focus is based on children, youth and family ministry. As I served at Christus Victor, we discerned there was a high need for a full-time children, youth and family staff position for someone to focus on the youth and families of this awesome church.

Recently, the search committee at Christus Victor called Josh Svenulski to become the Director of Children, Youth and Family Ministry. After meeting and interviewing different candidates, Josh was the best fit for the position and the church. I can see why the search committee picked Josh because he is a gift to the church and ministry. I’ve really enjoyed working with him and soon, Josh will be responsible for Faith Formation for All.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been on family leave from call. My time of family leave is wrapping up in 2020 and I have the opportunity to discern what is next for me as I seek a call. My last Sunday will be December 22, 2019. I will miss you and I will keep you in my prayers as I hope you will keep me in your prayers too. We still have a few months together and I will cherish our time especially because God promises each of us a future filled with hope.

In Christ, Pastor Michelle Gawienowski


Christus Victor
Lutheran Church

7510 Palomino Drive
Apple Valley, MN 55124