Over two years ago, Pastor Jon Brohn and the worship committee at Salem Lutheran Church began conversations about livestreaming their services to the St. Croix River Valley area and beyond. The research and vision to move the church in this direction served the congregation well when COVID necessitated online services for fragile members in early 2020. “Sometimes you forget that God says He will provide. He is providing in miraculous ways,” says Brohn. The technological provision allows Salem Lutheran Church to support their members and community with multiple livestream services each week. They offer daily devotions, the weekly chapel service from their school, and the Saturday evening church service. In-person services are held on Sunday mornings at 8:00 AM and 10:30 AM.
Pastor Brohn and his wife of 28 years, Kay, moved to Stillwater, Minnesota, 18 years ago, with their young children. All five members of the Brohn family are either pastors or teachers. Although Brohn is vocationally a pastor, he considers himself a teacher. He often uses pictures to illustrate his sermons and to help his parishioners understand Biblical truths. In the early years of his ministry, Brohn used an overhead projector as a teaching tool during his sermons. Now, his tools are more advanced, but his heart to teach God’s Word remains strong. Brohn serves as one of the catechism teachers for Salem Lutheran School. He enjoys preparing older students to become active members of their churches as adults. The school has classes for children from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade. Because of recent transitions to virtual learning, enrollment for in-person classes at the school increased by 44 students, so the school hired more teachers.
“Communicating how good God is and how that goodness is a treasure is one of the most fulfilling parts of what I do,” explains Brohn. He also takes delight in visiting hospitals and nursing facilities. Although Pastor Brohn preaches at the services, he’s also very involved in the music. He coordinates the efforts of the musicians for the church’s three services. The Saturday evening service provides strong Biblical preaching with a modern worship style. The two Sunday morning services have the same commitment to Biblical preaching and offer a blended worship style. Brohn, a flutist, cherishes his opportunities to worship with others through music. Recently he attended the Getty Music Worship Conference. Meeting with other pastors and ministers through conferences and monthly meetings encourages his faith to grow and his commitment to deepen.
Technological needs produced many changes at Salem Lutheran. Before COVID, Brohn says he might have agreed to the mild importance of using technology in the church. “But, now I realize how much of a gift it is to the church. We will never go back to not livestreaming,” he comments. Livestreaming devotions and services caused a significant shift in the church. New audio and visual equipment provides the foundation for these changes. The church also started using Google Meet for their small group Bible studies. Growth groups are a new endeavor for his congregants, but they’re responding with enthusiasm. New relationships form and the church becomes stronger. The Salem Lutheran website shows pictures of all the growth group leaders as well as an opportunity to suggest and start a new growth group. Members also benefit from the newly installed hearing loop system in the church’s sanctuary. The hearing loops provide high-quality audio to anyone wearing a Bluetooth-capable hearing aid.
After recently winning a Bose Church giveaway, Pastor Brohn chose the S1 Pro Bluetooth speaker as his prize and was excited to receive it. “It is truly a gift from God!” he exclaims. The church had another portable speaker that needed replacing. After the audio and visual upgrades to the church, Brohn wondered how he could then replace one more piece of equipment. To Pastor Brohn, winning the sweepstakes was further proof of God’s provision for his church. He plans to use the speaker at the school for plays and sporting events. And for the church, Brohn looks to utilize the S1 Pro during Vacation Bible School.