This year we’re putting an emphasis on stories that highlight leadership and leaders from around the ELCA. “I’m a Lutheran leader” is an online feature that highlights the many ways people are leaders in the church. Bishop Eaton’s Leadership Initiative encourages all of us to seek out and mentor people who show a gift for ministry. To learn more about the initiative, go to elca.org/leaders.
Ryan K. Hostler
Our Savior Lutheran Church, Vero Beach, Fla.
ELCA deacon and minister of music and worship
I feel called to the ministry of Word and Service because I’m able to be a leader in ministry and this church while also focusing on my passion—music and liturgical song. I’m grateful to be allowed to serve the church in so many ways in my current call, from leading the song of the church to occasionally preaching and teaching with my two rostered colleagues. Being part of a team like Our Savior’s rostered leaders, who work so well together, is my dream for all ministers of Word and Service. We are one roster with many gifts and calls, working together to spread the love and grace of Jesus Christ. Being three in one only brings strength in our work and call. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
I help equip others to be leaders in their communities by teaching the song of the church. It’s quite simple: A community that sings together is better together. The world needs to sing; our leaders need to sing; Lutherans need to sing; our church needs to sing—together.
In my work as a deacon, I have the simple but profound calling of nurturing, caring for and teaching the song of the church. This isn’t my song but the song of the assembly. This work and call is not to be taken lightly. The church has been singing since creation and when David sang the Psalms. What an awesome call to keep the church singing, together and strong.
Being part of a church community is crucial in my faith journey and my calling as a deacon. One of my greatest joys in life is not only being a leader in this community but being, along with my husband and family, an active member in the ministries of my congregation beyond my call. Our community reaches beyond our local boundaries, as many of my family and church family will join me in worship on a Sunday morning through our weekly livestream. The future of our church needs to include those outside our immediate community and boundaries. Our community is far and wide, and that makes us a stronger church.
I’m a Lutheran leader who loves this church and gives great thanks when I think of what has happened in the past 30 years and how changes and progress have opened doors to include a more diverse group of rostered leaders and, frankly, people in the assembly. I can only smile and dream of what this church will look like in 30 more years, while singing the words of one of my favorite hymn texts: “How good Lord to be here, your glory fills the sky!” It is good to be here and be a leader in the ELCA.