A Message from our Pastor



 Recently I came across an article written by Carey Nieuhof, a Canadian pastor who writes about the current state of the Church (capital “C”).  In other words, he focuses on the trends facing Christian congregations; primarily in North America.   A recent article of his was entitled: 3 Ways Almost Every Church Gets Stuck.  l shared this article with our Congregation Council, and now I’d like to summarize it for you as well.    The expression “getting stuck,” whether we’re talking about an organization or an individual, usually refers to getting “mired” or “bogged down.”  In other words, it’s when things slow down or even grind to a halt, and we’re no longer moving forward or making any progress.  Here then are the three ways he feels that congregations often get stuck. 
Stuck in the Past… The first way many churches get stuck is by living in the past; especially if the congregation, back in the day, was larger or stronger or had more of a reputation and presence in the local community.  It’s all about still trying to live in the so-called good old days.  The problem, of course, is that you can’t go back to the way it was or used to be - ever.  The past is the past, and we can never recreate it no matter how hard we try.  But some congregations try anyway, and that leads to a great deal of frustration.  Moreover, it keeps the congregation from moving forward and discovering who God wants them to be in the present time.
Stuck in the Future… Believe it or not, this can happen as well.  Congregations get stuck in the future when, instead of an idealized past, they focus on an idealized future instead.  As Nieuwhof writes: “The talk is always about what could be, what should be, and what might be, but there’s zero plan to get anyone there.”  Focusing on the future, he says, become a way to avoid dealing with the present. “Which is why many leaders love to live in the future,” he says, “then they don’t have to deal with anything.”
Stuck in the Present… Finally, congregation can even get stuck in the present.  Those who do, he says, have failed to learn anything from the past and, at the same time, also lack a specific vision for the future.  Instead, week after week, month after month, the congregation keeps doing the very same things over and over again.  They’re not tying anything new.  They’re not experimenting.  And the result of doing the same things over and over again is that the congregation will begin to experience diminishing returns.  Things that worked well in the past, even the recent past, no longer seem to be as effective.  But the congregation just keeps doing them anyway.  There’s an old saying, often attributed to Albert Einstein that goes like this:  The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again, but expecting different results.   So what’s the answer?  How can congregations get past being stuck, whether it’s in the past, or the present or the future?   Nieuwhof says: Learn from the past.  Imagine a better future.  And create a plan.     Instead of idealizing the past, glean lessons from it.  Instead of just having a vague vision for the future, set some specific and measurable goals.  And finally, develop a plan to get there 
Easier said than done, of course.  But something worth considering.


Pastor Ed                

Edward Kropa  "Pastor Ed"


We couldn't be happier to WELCOME

The Rev. Dr. Edward E. Kropa home to HOPE!

The Rev. Pastor Kropa, known as Pastor Ed to his congregation, spent part of his youth raised in Freehold Township.   In 1967 when he was 11 years old, he and his family became charter members of our newly formed Hope Lutheran Church. 

“During this period, I regularly served as an acolyte and was involved in the church youth group.  In fact, it was while growing up at Hope that slowly but surely, I began to sense a call to ministry " 

"While attending college, I began to explore this possibility further.  First by taking courses like public speaking, and by coming home on weekends to teach Sunday school.  Finally, when I could no longer "talk myself out of it," I applied and was accepted to Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio. "

It was at Trinity that Pastor earned his Masters of Divinity and in 1985 returned to Hope Lutheran Church, where he was ordained.  He later went on to earn a Doctorate in Ministry at Drew University.

During his 32 years of pastoral leadership Kropa and his wife Jeanette have served 6 churches & raised 3 daughters.  He is a excited to be back in Freehold, reuniting with friends and family and embracing his new congregation.

“Not only am I coming back to my church, I am returning to my community.  Returning to HOPE is coming home.”

Pastor was "called" to service on June 11th, began his leadership role in early August, and was installed as our new Pastor at a ceremonial worship service on September 24, 2017.  

MEET Our Church Council

PRESIDENT - Bill Seifert

VICE PRESIDENT - Debbie Unger 

TREASURER - Erika Driscoll      

SECRETARY - Siggy Kuehn

Education  -  Janet Creech

Fellowship  - John Bonanno

Maintenance  -  John Fink

Outreach  -  Sharryn Papinchak

Social Ministries  -  Siggy Kuehn

Support  -  John Drager

Youth Ministry  -  Tara Zigler

Youth  -  Michael Woods

Worship  -  Carol Romba

Thank You Mark Bondo for you dedication and commitment to our council and church!  Welcome Erika Driscoll - our new Council Treasurer.