Category Archives: From Pastor Mike

Pastor Mike’s Weekly E-News Message

Hey Hope folks!

Unofficially, summer starts this weekend, along with our hope for warmer days, vacations, picnics, golf, fishing, baseball (Go, Cubs, Go!), BBQ and ice-cold lemonade. Or iced tea. Or both, if you’re an Arnold Palmer fan!

Traditionally, for no biblical reason whatsoever, lots of churches cut weekend services and discontinue children’s ministry (Sunday school) from now until September.

I’ve never understood that. Our need to connect with God on a regular basis doesn’t take the summer off.

So, please consider this your friendly reminder that Hope is very much OPEN and ready for another big summer of God-blessed ministries (Go, Hope, Go!): Vacation Bible SchoolTaste of Hope, ministries for women & men, ministries for junior & senior high studentslife groupsPage 2 on Tuesdays, Outreach Night on Thursdays, classes,eventsretreatsmission trips, summer choir … and of course weekend worship and children’s ministry.

It all starts this weekend with worship - it’s Pentecost Sunday (the birthday of the Christian church), so we’ll celebrate that and dig into Mark 7 & Acts 2 (depending on the service you attend, you’ll hear a message by Ben Mason, Mark Brandt or me).

Since it’s also the weekend before Memorial Day, we’ll remember those who died in service to our country with a prayer. And, as the school year closes, we’ll recognize our children’s and student ministry volunteers, along with all of the high school and college graduates in our church family.

We’ve got lots of great reasons to celebrate this weekend, and lots to look forward to over the next few months! See you at Hope!

Mike Housholder
Pastor. Preacher. Pentecost Partier.

Pastor Mike’s Weekly E-News Message

Good morning!

One of my favorite things about Hope is your willingness to experiment for the sake of mission, rather than getting stuck in ruts. It’s healthy for churches to explore new territory to make room for more people to know God. With that in mind, here are some of our latest experiments at Hope…

Worship this weekend will include a preaching experiment that could be highly effective and a lot of fun (or it might completely flop … and then we’ll know!). Rather than preach solo this Saturday (5:00 pm) or Sunday (8:00, 9:15 & 11:00 am), I’ve invited Jon, campus pastor at Hope Des Moines, to join me for a tag-team sermon duet! Don’t worry. Neither of us plans to sing. But, we will preach on two (thus two preachers) keys to unlock the practical and life-changing relevance of John 2:1-11 for your life! Pastor Merv (Sunday 8:30 am Chapel) and Pastor Jeremy (Sunday 5:00 pm) will preach on the same text, with no plans to call for back-up along the way!

Hope for the Hungry, our Lenten Outreach Project for 2015, starts soon! We’re hoping to fund and package 2 million meals in 40 days – from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday – for starving people in Africa, Haiti and right here in central Iowa. Everyone, regardless of age or income, in our church family can help with packaging and providing food – just $1 pays for the ingredients to package 5 meals. If you do the math, that means you (or your small group or ministry) could feed 1,000 people with a $200 donation. I’m not sure if one church has ever tried to feed 2 million hungry people in 6+ weeks, but I’m glad this church is willing to try!

Tuesday Night Worship – Page 2, a new and profoundly simple service for growing Christians and weekend travelers, begins on Tuesday, March 3 at 6:30 pm in the Chapel. I’ve noticed two significant changes in our community over the past decade: families are gone more on weekends for youth sports or getaways, and church members are hungrier than ever to know God better through the Bible. This new service is designed for both, and inspired by Acts 2:42-47: one song (relaxed campfire vibe), Bible reading (same as prior Sunday), offering, teaching (picking up where we left off on Sunday and going further with the biblical text – I’ll teach half, Pastor Richard will teach half), sacraments (weekly Lord’s Supper and baptisms by request), prayer, followed by post-worship hang-time for friendly conversations over coffee. Simple. Meaningful. Biblical. Warm. Holy. I can’t wait!

Thanks for being a church that loves to try new things to spread the Word!

Mike Housholder

P.S. – Ash Wednesday Services, kicking off the season of Lent at Hope, are just a few days away: February 18 at noon, 5:15 & 7:00 pm.

Pastor Mike’s Weekly E-News Message

Good morning, Hope Folks!

This church continually amazes me …

Even though heavy snowfall and strong winds this past weekend kept most Iowans from venturing outside, still a few thousand people from our church family showed up for worship – amazing! It was a memorable weekend. The smiles were contagious. The singing was robust. The church was warm (temperature and mood). It’s a good reminder that the number of people who attend, or the weather outside, is not nearly as important as the Spirit of joy that meets us here whenever we gather in Jesus’ name!

Those who came brought an enormously generous offering of food for Hope’s annual Souper Bowl to feed the hungry in central Iowa. Close to 25% of our normal amount of attenders donated more than 50% of our normal amount of food – amazing! If you missed out, please keep in mind that you can drop off food offerings at the church 365 days per year – collection carts are in the entryways – and we distribute the food to our neighbors in need bi-weekly.

If you’re new to Hope, maybe you wondered why our church’s name was not (and never will be) on the list of cancelled Sunday services. Please understand – I don’t want you to come to church if it’s unsafe for you. Stay home. Join us for the live webcast of Hope’s Sunday 11:00 am service. Guilt-free. At the same time, just because it’s unsafe for some doesn’t mean it’s unsafe for all … and we trust you to make that decision.

So, even if just two or three people (Matthew 18:20) can walk safely to church – or activate the all-wheel drive option, or cross country ski, or snowmobile – we’ll be open, because worship matters. Every service. Every weekend. Lives change. Love spreads. God’s eternal Kingdom grows.

We’ve got another important weekend of services coming tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday. Pastor Jeremy and I are preaching on Luke 5:1-11. It’s a really good story that has the power to change your life. Hope to see you at Hope! Regardless of the weather, we’ll be open …

Mike Housholder

Pastor Mike’s Weekly E-News Message

Hi, Hopesters!

While there hasn’t been a compelling reason to tune in to the Super Bowl since 2007, or a righteous outcome since 1986, still most Americans – even semi-deflated Bears fans – will watch the “big game” on Sunday.

It’s a “big weekend” for us at Hope, too – the annual all-church Souper Bowl Food Drive - and hungry Iowans need you to get into this game, rather than just watch!

Our goal is simple: to fully stock every food pantry in central Iowa for the rest of the winter! To accomplish this really big goal, we really do need our entire church family to participate! This weekend, when you come to worship, please bring at least a few bags of groceries (the good stuff, on the most needed list). We’ll also collect aspecial offering of money (100% goes directly to the food pantries). Most food pantries in central Iowa are small and prefer food donations. A few local pantries, however, prefer gifts of money since they’re big enough to hire staff to purchase the food themselves.

Either way, food or money, your donations make a big difference! Local food pantries struggle to keep up with demand this time of year. Generous giving levels that accompany the holidays tend to fade significantly as winter rolls on. Food pantries are left with too many empty shelves, leaving too many Iowans with empty stomachs.

We’re a big church. We can change that. And since we can, according to Jesus, we must. (Luke 12:48) Thanks in advance for being the kind of Christians who show up in a big way for big games (rather than just watch)! See you at the Souper Bowl!

Mike Housholder

P.S.- Worship this weekend at Hope should be, well… super! We’ll focus on one of my all-time favorite stories (high drama) in Luke’s Gospel (4:16-22) with a sermon called “The Carpenter’s Kid Goes Public!” I’ll preach at all of the services on Saturday night and Sunday morning, and Pastor Jeremy will do the same on Sunday night. Live music. Free bread and wine, too. Come and see!

Pastor Mike’s Weekly E-news Message

Good morning, Hope folks!

Every once in a while, in ways that we can’t predict, plan or control, God does something extraordinary at Hope.

This past weekend, more than 400 people answered the Holy Spirit’s call to be baptized at Hope - over 100 of those had never been baptized, and the rest came forward to affirm their baptisms as a public declaration of their renewed faith in Jesus Christ. Another 100 or so were baptized at our other campuses in Johnston-GrimesDes MoinesWaukee and Ankeny.

It’s rare for a Lutheran church to witness 100 or more adult baptisms in one year, much less oneweekend. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not boasting about what we did at Hope, but about what the Lord did at Hope … a biblical thing to do (2 Corinthians 10:17) …  and worthy of our recognition and celebration!

Many who came forward had stories to tell. Stories of repentance (Mark 1: 415) and radical transformation that point to a God who is active and alive in our world … stories of God’s grace and mercy experienced … stories of newly discovered peace and hope. Smiles and tears of joy were the norm, and God’s presence was strong.

Praise God!

Basking in the glow of what God has already done, we look forward to whatever happens next, led by God’s Spirit, as we continue our year-long journey through the Gospels. This weekend at Hope, our Meet Jesus sermon series moves onward to the Gospel of Luke. Pastor Jeremy and I will draw your attention to the fascinating story of Jesus as a 12-year old boy teaching in the Jerusalem Temple (Luke 2:41-52). It’s going to be another great weekend at Hope … bring a Bible and a few friends who don’t have a church home!

Mike Housholder
Preacher with a Still Semi-Soaked Baptizing Hand

P.S.- Don’t forget about some of the great upcoming big events at Hope (click for more info): Fulfill Your Ministry women’s conference,Daddy-Daughter DanceSouper Bowl Food DriveBig Daddy Weave concert! Plus, in addition to all of the other classes at Hope that will enhance your faith, I encourage you to check out Group Launch, and the weekly Pastor’s Bible Study, most often led by “Professor” Richard, on Tuesdays at 6:00 pm.

Pastor Mike’s Weekly E-news Message

Dear Hope Family,

On the morning of December 24, I posted this on my Facebook wall before we started our run of six Christmas Eve Candlelight services, and I share it with you again today in a humble effort to bring some perspective to what just happened at Hope…

Look closer at the crowds on Christmas Eve, and you’ll discover God at work – using a song, a word, a light – to awaken one sleeper, to find one wanderer, to comfort one mourner, to stir one soul, to fill one heart … God is certainly not dead, nor is his church. Come and see!

Well, they came and saw (because you invited them – thank you)! Our Christmas (Eve & Day) celebrations at Hope were glorious! The Spirit was strong, the music and movement of the service was beautiful, and God’s house was full. Over 29,000 people attended at our West Des Moines campus, and counting all of Hope’s satellites, that number goes even higher. Several hundred joy-filled volunteers helped in so many essential ways – thank you, again!

The world around us longs for the light. We have received this light, and our all-out effort to let it shine through us to as many people as possible is a worthy endeavor. It’s no accident that God has brought us together to be church together in this particular time and place. As we wrap up this year of Roots & Renewal and look forward to a new year of getting Back to Basics (know Jesus & know one another), I’m more committed and enthused than ever to carry out our mission … it’s good to be the church!

This weekend, our Light the Night theme from Christmas Eve carries on. A trio of gifted preachers who’ve been preparing diligently for several weeks – Perry Ross, Dave Johnson and Ben Mason – will help us take a closer look at the shining star the Magi (more commonly referred to as wise men) followed on their way to worship the newborn King of all kings, Jesus Christ (Matthew 2:1-12). It would be wise for us to attend (couldn’t resist the pun)!

Merry Christmas!
Mike Housholder

Pastor Mike’s Weekly E-news

Good morning, Hope!

It’s almost time …

On Saturday and Sunday nights, our talented and dedicated Praise! and Adoration Choirs, along with the Hope Orchestra, will present a Christmas Cantata: We’re Glad You Came - Saturday at 5:00 & 7:00 pm (added service this weekend only) and Sunday at 5:00 pm. All three services will feature a musical version of the Christmas story, along with an accompanying message by Pastor Pat Quaid.

Our regular format Sunday Services (Advent 4) will be led by Pastor Nicole Woodley in the Chapel at 8:00 & 9:15 am, and guest preacher, Pastor Michael Hurst, in the Worship Center at 8:00, 9:15 & 11:00 am.

The next day, it will be time for Hope’s Christmas Eve Candlelight Services:

  • Monday the 22nd at 5:00 pm
  • Tuesday the 23rd at 5:00 & 7:00 pm
  • Wednesday the 24th at 1:00, 3:00, 5:00, 7:00, 9:00 & 11:00 pm

These are some of the most inspiring services of the year at Hope, featuring music by John Cheatem (and an amazing line-up of musicians), live painting by Bill Butler (or another gifted Hope artist), classic Christmas carols (including Silent Night by candlelight), and some beautifulsurprises! Pastor Jeremy and I will be preaching onLuke 2:1-14 with a sermon called Light the Night!

Unapologetically, we pull out all the stops at Hope on Christmas Eve, and for good reason. We want to introduce people to Jesus, and strengthen the faith of people who already know him. We want to glorify God as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. We want to offer Christmas services that show people how the light of God’s love changes everything for us and for our world …  forever!

Come and see for yourself. And invite your friends. It’s almost time …

Mike Housholder

PS1- A few tips for my faithful readers … some of our best singers will offer pre-service music starting about 15-20 minutes before each service, so arrive early; consider parking in the shuttle lots, with buses that will drop you off and pick you up at our front doors; the least crowded services tend to be early (22nd & 23rd) and late (24th at 7:00, 9:00 & 11:00 pm).

PS2- Hope’s Christmas Day Communion Service takes place Thursday at 10:00 am. Pastor Eric Voelker’s sermon is called “Go Tell It On the Mountain!” based on Matthew 1:18-25.

PS3- Our humble little video invitation to Hope’s Christmas Eve Services has now been viewed by over 500,000 people – feel free to share it with your friends on social media!

Pastor Mike’s Weekly E-news

Good morning, Hope folks!

As most of you already know, Hope is a multisite church with five locations around the Des Moines area. Last weekend, I took advantage of a preaching break to worship at three of them – West Des Moines on Saturday, and then Waukee and Johnston-Grimes on Sunday.

I’m happy to report that the Holy Spirit was on full display at each location. Worship was lively. God’s love, and plenty of Lutheran coffee, flowed freely. Smiles came easily. And, all five campuses are growing rapidly …

Over 500 people worshiped at Hope Waukee (they’re only one month old!) last weekend, and close to 600 (new record!) did the same at Hope Johnston-Grimes. Hope Ankeny topped 1,000 (way up!), and more than 400 attended Hope Des Moines (also way up, and moving into a new church building this Sunday!). In case you’re wondering, attendance at our main campus in West Des Moines is also up significantly this year, with more than 8,000 people attending services on an average weekend.

The best part about those numbers is they count real people, many of whom didn’t know Jesus prior to attending Hope. The way God continues to build and grow his Kingdom through you is exciting – and it happens because you haven’t lost your passion for mission. Thanks for caring enough to lead people to a place where their lives can be changed … forever!


Mike Housholder

P.S.- This weekend, Pastor Richard and I will preach on Revelation 19 – a biblical vision of a final battle (that inspired a famous “Battle Hymn”) between good and evil …  and it has everything to do with you! Bring a Bible, and keep bringing your friends who don’t have a church home, too!

Pastor Mike’s Friday E-News

Good morning!

I hope you enjoyed your celebration of Thanksgiving yesterday, either with friends and family members, or with your church family here at Hope.

Sally and I were thrilled to sit around a table with my mom and our three kids, all of whom were able to come “home” for the weekend, despite some tricky weather and airport delays. With our kids living all over the country, it’s a rare and cherished thing for us to be able to share a meal together.

There’s just something deep and meaningful about family (home or church). We know each other better than anyone, easily recognizing strengths and weaknesses. Yet, we still choose love. We hold each other accountable. We work, serve, cook, eat, clean up, listen, pray, worship, talk, laugh, cry and do life … together. We remind each other of our true identity, challenge, encourage, comfort, empower, strengthen, forgive and extend grace.

At our best, the church (in small and medium sized groups and teams) functions as that kind of family for one another. It’s not a poor substitute for a “real” family … it’s the family of God. We’re designed for it … to be in relationship with others as we grow in relationship with God.

… And it’s really good to be the church together with you!

As we move through the Season of Advent (starting this weekend at all of Hope’s services), prepare for our celebration of Christmas, and look ahead to next year, I want to encourage you to get to know your family at Hope better. Find a group. Get involved in a ministry. Love one another. Because our relationship with God is always stronger when we’re in healthy, Christ-centered church family relationships with one another!

Mike Housholder
Pastor. Preacher. Turkey Stuffer … feeling sort of like a Stuffed Turkey today.

P.S.- In response to the news coming out of Ferguson this past week, I posted just a few thoughts on my Facebook page (140 character max on Twitter just doesn’t work sometimes). If you’re interested, please click this link.

Pastor Mike’s Friday E-newsletter

Happy Thanksgiving, Hopesters!

In the spirit of this upcoming holiday, I want you to know how thankful I am for you, the members and ministers of Hope. You are a pastor’s dream as a church who seeks to live, work and serve in sync with God’s own heart (Acts 13:22).

Throughout this year of Roots & Renewal, you’ve grown stronger in faith, because you consistently choose the road less traveled (as the poet, Robert Frost, famously calls it) over the much more common, and less productive, religious routes taken by spiritual consumers.

You generously and courageously reach out to people in need. You love and care for each other as sisters and brothers in Christ. You go all in on the spiritual disciplines of weekly worship and daily devotions (prayer & Bible study). You serve with grace and humility, yet God makes a massive positive impact through you on the world around us.

Of course, as a church, we’re far from a perfect family. Still, like a parent reflecting on his children who’ve grown up to be rather mature and faithful young adults, I look at you with joy and thanksgiving for letting God shape and form you into the church you are – thank you, Hope!

Mike Housholder
Pastor. Preacher. Grateful Parent.

P.S.- The Jesus Tour reaches the holy city of Jerusalem this weekend – our final, and most important, destination. This is where so many key biblical events happened. This is where history intersects with the future. This is where Jesus ultimately ascends to his throne as the (unexpected and shocking) King of all kings. Pastor Jeremy and I can’t wait to serve as yourweekend services tour guides for this one … come and see!