Senior Pastor – Winnebago Reformed Church – Winnebago Indian Reservation, Winnebago, NE
A Job Description for the Winnebago Reformed Church.
The Winnebago Reformed Church strives to live out its purpose, vision, and mission:
Our Purpose is to be the means by which God reaches out and gathers His people into the Body of Christ. Therefore… We en-Vision the Winnebago Reformed Church as people of all ages, coming together to worship, equip, encourage, and enable one another so that we might be the hands, feet, and voice of Jesus, every day, to the people we meet. In order to realize this vision, we understand… Our Mission is to provide opportunity, facility, education, leadership, example, and encouragement to the people of the church, the community, and beyond.
A Brief History and summary of the ministry of the Winnebago Reformed Church:
Any church history is of necessity incomplete and one of our expectations is for the candidate to spend time learning the history and culture of the Winnebago people and the Winnebago Reformed Church, both of which will be critical for a successful ministry.
The Winnebago Reformed Church was founded in 1907 by the Reformed Church in America to serve the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. Its earliest ministry was presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ through worship, Christian Education, and community health nurse ministries. Our church also served as a community center. Other ministries included residential child care, schooling, and trying to meet various needs of the people. We began a community day care, but this, like many of our other ministries, were replaced by the community in recent years as the tribe prospered.
Today, we provide an opportunity for other church’s mission teams to do ministry, such as providing several Daily Vacation Bible Schools a year, participating in an ecumenical group through the Eastern Thurston County Ministerial Association; the local men’s and women’s homeless shelters. We provide space for A.A. programs, Motherhood is Sacred (a Native women’s program on parenting). We also helped start ATLAS (Attaining Truth, Love, and Self-Control) a community resources clearing house and food pantry program where we provide space and pay its utilities. We have weekly worship and regularly have Sunday school for children. We enjoy all-church meals and often provide space for family gatherings, funerals and other occasions.
It is the hope and prayer of Winnebago Reformed Church to become a congregation of maturing Christians with a heart for the spiritual and physical needs of this area. To this end we are looking for pastoral leadership. The leader need not be an ordained pastor, but certainly someone with both the heart and the training to lead a group of believers who continue to be Christ’s ambassadors to the Winnebago Tribe.
The day-to-day duties of this position will be varied as the ministry envisioned is one to the community as much as it is to the members of the church. There will be considerable administration and hands on ministry. As well as responsibilities for leading worship each Sunday. Beyond this, there are opportunities to develop other ministries, as one’s personal gifts allow, to build Christ’s church in Winnebago. Pastoral supervision will be carried out by the Consistory (Board) of this church.
Specific needs for pastoral leadership in the Winnebago Reformed Church:
1. A person who has a heart for youth ministry, both teen and pre-teen.
2. A person who has a love for preaching and ideally who is able to lead the music.
3. A person able to become an integral member of the community and whose love for Christ and Christ’s church is apparent to everyone.
4. A person able to recruit allies both inside and outside the community.
5. A person able to recruit, organize, and supervise work teams from other churches.
6. A person able to promote the ministry of the Winnebago Reformed Church to both supporting and potentially supporting churches, organizations, and individuals.
7. Above all, a person who has an unquestionable commitment to Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Unusual Challenges of this ministry.
1. This is a cross cultural ministry and previous experience with cross cultural ministry is a bonus.
2. This will be more like a missionary position than a traditional pastoral position.
3. Our denomination (the Reformed Church in America) is undergoing seismic shifts and our relationship to the denomination and our supporting churches is unclear at this point.
What kind of a community is Winnebago, Nebraska?
Winnebago is the headquarters of the Winnebago Tribal Reservation. In some ways it is a typical small rural town where everyone pretty much knows, or is related to everyone else. Like most small towns the shopping and entertainment is limited, but it is also very different than most as it is majority Native American, predominately Winnebago. The population of Winnebago is very young with a median age as of 2019 of 23.2 years old.
Winnebago is fairly close to major attractions and shopping, being 30 miles south of Sioux City, Iowa and 85 miles north of Omaha, Nebraska. It is home to an improving public school, a Lutheran pre-school, a Roman Catholic K-12 school and to Little Priest Tribal College. There is a tribally run Edu-Care program providing Head Start, Day Care, and early childhood development.
Like all reservations, it does have its share of social problems. It may be said the Winnebago community has many of the issues of an inner city with the social dynamics of a small town.
Among the benefits of living and working in Winnebago is that it is considered one of the most beautiful Indian reservations. Also, Winnebago is majority Native American, predominately Winnebago (Ho-Chungra) and has more than its share of traditional events. The Winnebago Pow Wow is one of the longest running, founded in 1863, and in 2021 celebrated its 155th. Winnebago has been on the rise economically over the past twenty years as it runs the successful WinnaVegas Casino, which plows back part of its proceeds into the Winnebago community. It is also home to Ho-Chunk Inc. the award-winning economic development corporation owned by the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. Established in 1994 with one employee, Ho-Chunk Inc. has grown to over 1000 employees.
The church is not currently able to pay what would normally be considered a pastor’s full salary so is looking for someone whose life situation can accept a lower salary and benefits. The position includes housing, utilities, and the use of the church vehicle. We are willing to accept a part-time contract, a “tent-making” ministry, a shared ministry, or perhaps some other kind of arrangement.
For more information contact:
Nancy Gillis, 712-259-7675 (cell) 402-846-5907 (home)
Kenny Mallory 402-878-4278 (home)