Faith is a living, bold trust in God's grace, so certain of God's favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it. Such confidence and knowledge of God's grace makes you happy, joyful and bold in your relationship to God and all creatures. The Holy Spirit makes this happen through faith. Because of it, you freely, willingly and joyfully do good to everyone, serve everyone, suffer all kinds of things, love and praise the God who has shown you such grace. - Martin Luther

Friday, April 7, 2017

Concert Tonight

A FREE concert will be held at CtK tonight, 7:00pm, with music from several young musicians. A free will offering will be received in support of CtK Youth Ministries.
It promises to be a great time!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity and Culture - Adult Forum 2/19/17

This Sunday, February 19th, CtK's Adult Forum will continue conversation around our calling to confront racism and celebrate diversity in culture and ethnicity. So far the conversations have been engaging and thought-provoking.
If  you're planning to participate, here are a few links which will help you get ready:

The 1993 ELCA Social Statement, Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity and Culture.

Reflection on the social statement from Montana Synod Bishop, the Rev. Jessica Crist.

Bishop Crist's reflection on repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery, "Actually, Columbus Didn't Discover America."

See you on Sunday at 9:00am in the social hall!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

"We're a Welcoming Church"

A Sabbatical Reflection
By Pastor Grant Barnett Christenson

We took the opportunity during our summer sabbatical to worship at different houses of worship, not only in Bozeman but also in Minnesota, Washington, and Wyoming.
Many churches went out of their way to make us feel welcomed. One Bozeman church not only followed up with a bag full of information and visitor bread, but with notes. Lots of notes. We thanked them and notified them that we were local clergy. They seemed eager for the return of "Barnett and Linda Christenson."
Another local congregation made connections with us during worship and afterward at the fellowship hour. It was good to see Megan Makeever, our former choir director, and to meet some retired Montana teachers who knew retired teachers from Christ the King.
A congregation in Washington was very informal, but they were gracious in their welcome and invited us to stay for brunch on their patio after worship. Breaking bread in the rare summer sunshine of western Washington was a great way to feel included in a gathering of Christians.
While we were in Minnesota, I was so excited to worship at the church where my parents were married 59 years ago. We were clearly visitors because of our ages and because of our wiggly children. My father felt sad that he and his family were not recognized and acknowledged. My father loves and cares for the body of Christ, and he grieves when it does not carry out the important ministry of hospitality. It was hard for me to talk to the senior pastor, who was also a seminary classmate, to let him know that our welcome was less than warm and friendly. The senior pastor and the associate pastor both acknowledged it was a problem for their congregation and they were trying to address it.
Visiting other churches this summer gave us an opportunity to experience welcoming congregations, and in some cases, not.
Les Stroh, our consultant during the strategic planning meetings in mid-October, lifted up an example of welcoming and not welcoming visitors that helped me understand hospitality in a new light.
Les told a story of how a visitor felt put off by the groups that sat at full tables during fellowship following worship. As groups were chatting with their friends, they were silently communicating "we visit with folks we know." Not a very welcoming environment, even if the church members consider themselves "welcoming".
Then Les told us about a church where members are keenly aware that there are visitors in their midst. They go out of their way to make visitors feel welcomed, even to the point of not sitting with their friends after worship during the fellowship hour, but keeping seats at their tables open for any visitors who may be looking for a place to sit.
Visiting other churches and observing how they do hospitality ministry can be eye opening, or painful to experience.
Would you be willing to greet the stranger in your midst, even though you want to talk to your friend who you haven't seen in a week?
Would you be willing to leave a seat open at your table during fellowship, even though you want to talk about the Cubs' big win on Wednesday night with your friends?
Sabbatical was a wonderful time to experience the vast array of congregations that make up the Body of Christ. But it was also a time to learn what makes for a warm welcome, as opposed to a cold shoulder and an air of indifference.
Food for thought, as we anticipate many visitors in our midst over the next couple of months.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

On Leave-taking

Tomorrow is our last day in the office until September. Yes, it feels really weird. No, I'm not "ready." I'm not sure what "ready" even means or would look like (though it would likely involve fewer post-it notes stuck to my computer monitor and less laundry waiting).

At the same time, I am ready: ready to take a big enough step back to get a wider view of things than I usually do. I'm ready not to have a deadline hanging over my head every day when I wake up. I'm ready to be outside more often, and to play more, pray more, read more, be creative more. And all because of the great gift of Sabbath - a rest, a ceasing, enjoying that who I am is a greater gift than what I can do, because God's grace says so.

So - farewell for now.

This blog will lie fallow this summer. We'll rev it back up when we return in September.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Sabbatical: Q&A

Dear Friends in Christ,                                                                                                              
Back in September 2015, the church council approved a Sabbatical leave for Grant and me, for three months, beginning on June 6, 2016.
What is a Sabbatical?
A Sabbatical calls for an extended time of Sabbath-keeping, of stepping away from usual duties and responsibilities. It calls for rest of the body, though also rest of the spirit. For a work-loving person, this will be a challenge, though perhaps all the more necessary. Jewish scholar Abraham Joshua Heschel reminds us, a Sabbatical will be a good grounding in humility that the church will survive (even thrive!) without our help.
How long will we be gone?
We will begin our Sabbatical on June 6, 2016, following the conclusion of the Montana Synod Assembly in Billings. Our last day in the office will be June 3rd. We will return to the office September 6, 2016.
What will we do?
We look forward to continuing education classes, rest, reading, increased time for devotions, and enjoying creation. As a family, we will travel to Minnesota and Washington, to learn and to spend time with extended family and friends. You can read more details about the classes we’ll take online, at:
All of our activities (and time for rest and renewal) focus around the theme: Pray, Play, Partner.
Where will we worship?
As it would be difficult for us to step out of the role of co-pastors here at Christ the King, our family will worship elsewhere during Sabbatical. Though we will miss being in worship here with you dearly, we hope to share ideas from other congregations upon our return.
Who will cover our responsibilities during our absence?
Pastor Mark Ramseth, member of CtK, is coordinating Sunday morning worship. A schedule of wonderful guest preachers, including some members of CtK, has been put together. Sunday services have already been mostly planned.
The Church Council will have a “council host” each Sunday, to answer questions and make announcements.
Pastors Mark and Carol Ramseth, and LPA John Sheppard will provide pastoral care in emergency situations. The Congregational Care Team has been trained and deployed to offer ongoing pastoral care to members of the congregation. If you are in need of a visit or pastoral care, please call the Church Office, 587-4131.
Kristin Harney is coordinating WoW (Worship on Wednesdays).
Jen Erickson is coordinating WoW dinners.
Josh Keehr is heading up the construction of the prayer labyrinth.
Dawn Byrd and Courtney Yovich will oversee church communications.
The Sabbatical Team is planning special summer events (Spring Clean-Up Day, Madison River Float Trip, Worship at Hyalite, etc.)
Lucy Peterson remains our faithful Family Promise Coordinator.
The Family & Youth Team will coordinate the Middle School Service Plunge and the High School Mission Trip through FLBC.
Amy Yovich and Renee Schon will head up Vacation Bible School.
Know that you all will continue to be in our prayers during this absence.
How is the Sabbatical funded?
The congregation voted at the Annual Meeting to increase the usual “pulpit supply” line item by $1300, to cover the cost of guest preachers for the Sundays of the Sabbatical. Also included in the spending plan is $1500 for continuing education (an annual part of our compensation). Costs above the $1500 will either be funded through our crowdfunding campaign, or paid for by us pastors.
Please see the May 13, 2016 post on the CtK blog ( for more detailed information on the Sabbatical budget.
Will we be in contact with CtK during Sabbatical?
An important part of a Sabbatical is to make a complete break from things. Dawn Byrd will notify us of any major events in the life of the congregation, and we will continue to receive the weekly email newsletter while on Sabbatical. We will not be checking our CtK email accounts. Please contact the Church Office during the Sabbatical, at 587-4131, or
How will we evaluate the Sabbatical upon our return?
We will submit reports to the Church Council upon our return, and will meet with the Sabbatical Team, the Mutual Ministry Team, the church staff to share experiences of the Sabbatical (both ours and CtK’s). I expect that all of our ministries will continue to flourish while we are away and new ones will arise. A Sabbatical is really a two-way process, with both the staff persons and the congregation reflecting upon prior ministry, being renewed, and seeing new patterns emerge as we discern God’s will for us.
We are excited for this time of renewal and pray it will be a blessing for Christ the King as well.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us, before June 3rd, with any questions or concerns.

In Christ’s Service,
Pastor Lindean

Friday, May 13, 2016

Pray, Play, Partner - Sabbatical 2016 - Finances

It's T minus 3 weeks until our last day in the office before our Sabbatical begins. Our last Sunday of worship at CtK will be May 29th, as the first weekend of June we'll be with CtK's Synod Assembly voting members, John and Tina Sheppard, at the Synod Assembly in Billings. Our Sabbatical officially begins on Monday, June 6th.

If you have any questions about the Sabbatical, or what it will entail for us as pastors, or for the congregation, please don't be shy about asking. Any member of the Sabbatical Team (Dawn Byrd, Joby Dynneson, Kristin Harney, Mark Ramseth, Mariann Witthar), Pastor Grant, and I, would be very glad to answer them!

One thing that's come up in recent conversations, is a desire for better understanding of the funding for the Sabbatical, and how it will affect CtK. The financial implications of the 2016 Sabbatical for the congregation are fairly straightforward:
- Pastors Grant and Lindean continue to receive regular salary and benefits, per CtK's  Sabbatical Policy.
- The congregation will offer the standard Montana Synod “pulpit supply” honorarium of  $100/Sunday to guest pastors/preachers. The sabbatical is 13 weeks long (June 6-September 6), so an additional $1300 was added to the 2016 spending plan, and approved at the Annual Meeting of the congregation.
- The congregation included $1500 for continuing education for pastors in the 2016 Spending Plan,  (an annual part of our compensation) which can be used to cover sabbatical expenses.

All the rest of the funds necessary to cover sabbatical activities (tuition, room/board, transportation, books) must either be raised - hence the We Raise campaign - or supplied by the pastors.

Sabbatical Costs

Grant – Center for Loss and Life Transition (Week 1): $775 Tuition,  $700 Room/Board, ?? for Transportation; The Daring Way: $250 Tuition, ?? Room/Board, ?? Transportation; Center for Loss and Life Transition (Week 2): $775 Tuition, $700 Room/Board, ?? for Transportation
Lindean – "Mini MBA for Pastors:" $1600 Tuition/Room, $200 Meals, $550 Transportation; Grunewald Guild: $885 Tuition/Room/Board, ?? Transportation; Monastery of St. Gertrude: $450 Retreat Fee/Room & Board, $150 Spiritual Direction, ?? Transportation
Lindean & Grant: Gottman Institute - The Art & Science of Love: $750 Tuition, $750 Room/Board
Total of Known Costs for Pastors: $8535 (which doesn’t include several variable costs, like driving/transportation - all the ??s, above)

Costs for CtK: The biggest "Sabbatical Project" will be the construction of a prayer labyrinth on CtK's grounds. Costs have not been precisely determined yet, but early estimates are in the $1500-$2500 range. This money may be raised through the We Raise crowdfunding site (if we get to the second "stretch goal") or will be raised by the congregation separately. The rest of CtK's summer ministries and projects will be funded through the general offering received, according to the Spending Plan adopted at the Annual Meeting, with oversight of the Church Council.

Again, if you've got questions, please ask them!

And, if you're inclined to support Pray, Play, Partner, with a financial contribution, thanks very much! Either way, Pastor Grant and I covet your prayers, for us, for our family, for CtK, and for all the opportunities God gives us to grow in faith, as we worship, learn, and serve.

Pastor Lindean

Friday, April 29, 2016

Guest Post: Reflections on Pray, Play, Partner - Sabbatical 2016

By Joby Dynneson, CtK Council President and Sabbatical Team member

Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! Let the earth and all living things join in. Let the rivers clap their hands in glee! Let the hills sing out their songs of joy before the Lord. Psalm 98:7-9a (New Living Translation)
I have been asked, ”What gain do you get from mountain biking?” The answer is often tailored to the audience at hand. My answers will alternate between the health benefits, the thrill of mastering a tricky crux on the trail, and periods of quiet and solitude. Occasionally I will utter to someone what is often closest to the real truth: it is on the trail that I talk to God, it is a day in the woods that is my Sabbath.  The author of Psalm 98 expresses the feeling that I get out on the trail. The mountains, the deserts, and other wild places are where I am most able to hear the voice of the Lord. It is on the mountain tops and hill tops where I see the expanse of his majesty. I have found the most joyful church experience on Wednesdays, during WOW , singing a song,  looking out between those two trees, seeing beyond the stuff of humanity and taking in the awesomeness that is the Bridger Range; I appreciate the power of God.

This summer, we at CtK, will have many opportunities to commune with God, outside, together.  Each Wednesday we will be continuing with WOW (Worship on Wednesday) with food, fellowship, and worship. One Sunday at the end of July, July we will have a service of worship in Hyalite Canyon, at the pavilion beside the lake. Each month during the summer, everyone will be invited to join in outdoor activities and/or service projects. We will also have an exciting project happening, the building of an outdoor Labyrinth (prayer path) on the property, for the enjoyment and spiritual growth of the entire community.
The Sabbatical team and our pastors have come up with a theme for this summer’s sabbatical period: Pray, Play and Partner.  Please join us and the rest of the congregation as we grow together in faith and take in the beauty of God’s creation.  Stay tuned: the newsletter, website, and bulletins will have more information, dates, and locations.

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. John Muir