Immanuel’s mission is to “Equip Saints to Make Disciples.” In this portion of our Messenger, we highlight two of our “saints,” Bob and Sally Denkert, who are living out their Christian calling, successfully integrating faith into their everyday lives.
Since the Denkert family transferred to Immanuel in 1996, they have made Immanuel their spiritual home. Bob and Sally’s children, Matt and Sarah, have also attended Immanuel Lutheran School.
“Immanuel is our family, where family and friends are… [it’s] the center of everything we do,” Sally explains.
Personally and professionally, Sally and Bob have found ways to use their gifts to serve others. Bob has used his gift of administration in a variety of capacities. Bob has served as a member of the Mission and Ministry Council, as Immanuel’s Executive Director, and as Chair of the Opening Doors Campaign. Currently he is Delegate to the South Wisconsin District Convention, Delegate to the Lutheran High School Association, Immanuel’s Treasurer, and a Worship Elder.
Sally has a passion for children and has been very involved in school activities: she has been President of the Parent Teacher League, Basketball Tournament Coordinator, a cheerleading coach, and a girls’ softball coach. She is also currently a room parent.
Sally’s career combines her love for children with another passion: music. Sally teaches Immanuel’s School Choir and is also a high school music teacher at Lake Country Lutheran High School. Sally says that getting to know people at Immanuel paved the way for her teaching position and eventually her work to become rostered as a Commissioned Minister of Religion. She says that teaching in a parochial school environment has been meaningful because she is not only teaching music daily, but the Gospel, too.
Sally’s love for sharing the Word of God through music is one she and Bob have in common. Bob and Sally are both in the Worship and Festival Choirs (Sally shares direction of these choirs and also the Ladies Choir with Barb Oppermann). Sally also serves as a substitute organist for worship services. “Music is such an important part of our lives and part of who we are and having Christ dwell in us,” says Bob. One Bible verse he loves that echoes his sentiment is Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.”
Bob and Sally not only sing together, they also serve and grow spiritually together through leading a ChristCare group (for the past several years, their group’s missional service project has been the administration of the Operation Christmas Child ministry). They also attend Sunday morning Adult Bible classes. Some of their favorite classes have been the overviews of the Old and New Testaments.
One joint venture Sally and Bob are busy with at the moment is the coordination of the Immanuel Auction, taking place Saturday, March 14th. The Auction is a project that allows each of their strengths to shine. Sally uses her creativity to arrange the floor layout and the auction items on the tables in an eye-catching way so that auction-goers have a breathtaking experience when the doors to the event are opened. Bob uses his administrative ability to organize people and resources in a productive manner.
Planning the Auction is year-round process. Bob says it’s important to keep the Auction in people’s minds throughout the year to keep them thinking of things to donate and ways they could be involved. He mentions that one Immanuel member makes it a point to look for items for the Auction when she vacations up north each summer.
The Denkerts became involved with the Auction about five years ago, when Kris Meinecke asked Sally to help on Auction night. Bob sat in on Auction Committee meetings because he was Executive Director at the time. Later he was asked to be Auction Chairman, a position he now shares with Sally.
Bob and Sally say the Auction Committee is fortunate to be composed of ten people who are willing to help and are blessed with various gifts. They add that their numbers are growing – one effective idea to expand their ministry has been contacting room parents to help with classroom gifts and the coordination of classroom baskets. Personal invitation and using relationships to network has helped the Auction Committee find new faces. Now, more families whose children attend Immanuel Lutheran School are assisting with the Auction.
Sally adds that as more people get involved, there is less work for individuals. As the old adage goes, “Many hands make light work.” The Committee begins planning for the next auction for an hour or two in September. In January preparations pick up speed as donations are gathered and the Committee meets to discuss ideas for food and decorations. The Denkerts say the time commitment involved during this period is between two and ten hours a week, depending on an individual’s responsibilities.
Bob adds that people who are interested in helping (with the Auction or any ministry) needn’t wait to be asked. “Step forward and use your gifts,” he says. “People don’t always know to ask or may not know you have those gifts. [Your] gifts will be appreciated by those in the ministry.”
For those seeking a way to become more involved in ministry, Bob suggests, “Start out small. Join and see if you enjoy it, then volunteer more. [For instance,] come to the Auction and see how much fun it is. Attending gives you ideas of the role you’d like to do, such as supervising a table.” People also get donation ideas or realize they know someone to invite who would enjoy the event.
This year’s Auction theme is traveling to a Magical Kingdom. The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. Prices for advanced tickets are $10 a person or $75 for a table of eight. Tickets may be purchased at the door for $12 a person. Babysitting is provided. Proceeds from the seventh-annual Auction support Immanuel’s youth programs, improve the facilities, and provide financial resources. Bob says that close to $80,000 has been raised over the last six years for the school and congregation. These funds have been used to build the playground, give financial aid to students, and support the Youth of Jesus and Jr. Youth of Jesus ministries.
“It’s an event for the whole congregation,” Bob says. “It’s a good night of fellowship.”
Clearly, the stewardship of their gifts has led Sally and Bob Denkert along various avenues. With their many roles and responsibilities, one might wonder how Bob and Sally sustain their energy and passion for service. In the midst of a busy life, Sally says she finds solace in Psalm 46:10, which helps her center on what’s really important: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Meet this energetic couple at the 8:00 service. Questions about the Immanuel Auction? Contact the Denkerts for more info.