The Vision to Restart

The Vision to Restart

The Sears Family (L to R): Erika, Kathryn, Kylie, YoSeb and Kyle

Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Pasadena, California took the initiative to contact Regional Pastor Stan Olsen regarding the need to restart the congregation because of decreasing attendance. Rev. Olsen took the lead in crafting a detailed five-page Memorandum of Understanding on how to accomplish this effort.

This resulted in the formation of a Transitional Leadership Team (TLT) to carry out the restart. Rev. Olsen selected a team consisting mainly of people from the three Lutheran Brethren congregations in the area.

The TLT developed a vision statement for the restart church, together with a job description for the new pastor. Rev. Olsen led the search for a pastor, which eventually led to Kyle Sears.

Rev. Olsen has known Pastor Sears for over ten years, and Pastor Sears has already planted two churches in Texas. The TLT interviewed Pastor Sears twice, and then—with approval of the Immanuel congregation—called him. Kyle accepted the call and moved to Pasadena to start his work on July 3, 2013.

Pastor Sears is working, and will continue to work, in parallel with Immanuel’s current pastor Steve Lazicki until the end of March 2014. At that time Pastor Lazicki will be retiring and Immanuel will cease operating as a church. Kyle and his family took up residence in the community that surrounds the church, because this is the target area reflected in the restart vision statement. His focus during this transition period is to make new contacts in the community and to nurture those contacts. For the time being, he is “bringing church to them” rather than “bringing them to church.” The latter will come in time.

Rev. Stan Olsen has had major involvement in recruiting a Ministry Team to support Pastor Sears. Rev. Olsen is searching for CLB members who are willing to move to Pasadena and join Pastor Sears in this restart effort. He is currently working on this in conjunction with Pastor Sears, meeting with him on a weekly basis to support and encourage his ministry.

The Pasadena Restart effort has been bathed in prayer since its inception, because we recognize that it is God who builds his house, not us (Psalm 127:1). There are currently 82 prayer warriors on the team, praying daily for this work. A key prayer item is the continuing recruitment of a Ministry Team. We invite you to join us in praying for and financially supporting this effort.

John Heie serves as the chair of the Transitional Leadership Team for the Pasadena Restart.

Join the Pasadena Prayer Team by contacting John Heie at

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