Finding a replacement for Pastor Bernd was difficult, however, in just six months, Rev. M. J. Kuehner was elected as Jordan’s pastor with 110 votes being cast. The church’s total cash balance at that time was $36.38, yet the congregation had such confidence in their new pastor and the anticipated growth through his leadership that the Council approved an annual salary of $525.00. That same year, the church installed a chain pump in the barn, erected fencing around some of the property and built a wagon shed to house the Pastor’s wagon. The following year, the available cash had risen to an impressive $146.36. The Pastor then challenged his congregation to be benevolent and the church donated an impressive bounty of goods to be delivered to the Germantown Home. On June 9th and 10th, 1894, 160 years after the first recorded baptism, an energized Jordan hosted what was described as a weekend of ‘outstanding services’, attended by many respected leaders of our community, including a college president, professors and teachers, superintendent of the Topton Home and many pastors. In one of the many sermons that were provided over the two days, an historical accounting of the Jordan Lutheran Church, lasting 90 minutes was shared, and is allegedly the first time this comprehensive data had ever been presented to the public. What a glorious celebration this must have been! One can only imagine the impact this celebration had upon our community and Jordan. It was recorded that 800 participants attended one of the afternoon sermons, requiring all church doors and windows be opened in order that the multitude on the lawns surrounding our church building could hear the pastor’s message.
The following year, Pastor Kuehner left the Parish. Without a leader, the Council viewed the parsonage as a rental income opportunity. In need of a custodian, the recommendation was to hire a janitor with the understanding he would live in the parsonage and pay a rental fee to the church. For decades, this was the arrangement for the custodians who were employed by Jordan. The search for a pastor took a year and a half and during that time the once dynamic Jordan Lutheran was experiencing financial issues. Undaunted, the Council voted that the new pastor should receive a salary of $600. Pastor Semmel initiated the campaign to ‘spruce up the church building’ by painting the exterior. In 1901, the interior of the church became the target of a major renovation including repairing the interior walls, restoring the woodwork, painting and installing carpet. From start to finish, the church renovation took 8 years! Indeed a massive undertaking for a congregation of 302. One can only surmise that the parishioners contributed much of their time, talent and financial resources to support this remodeling campaign.
In 1917, a war that seemed so far away was affecting our nation and eventually the Jordan community. The women of Jordan rallied together to knit sweaters, made bandages, wrote letters and became active advocates encouraging all to buy Liberty Bonds. Our congregation witnessed 14 courageous young members leave the comfort of the Jordan Valley in support of the war efforts. Up to this point in time, men controlled the business of the nation and our church. Entrepreneurial women were diligent in demonstrating to our nation that they had worth and should enjoy equal rights. In spite of the Old German influence at Jordan, Council resisted tradition and in the mid-1918’s, our Church Council recognized that women should have voting rights. This action preceded the submission of the Nineteenth Amendment by six months. The war efforts were fueled by an awareness of people’s needs around the world and the Lutheran World Service was established. Benevolence was encouraged and Jordan demonstrated a generous financial support to help those in need worldwide.
In the 1920’s, several notable developments evolved including the need for a Cemetery Association, the introduction of English services (‘The Council was ready to give up traditional ways in order that God’s Word might more effectively be promulgated.’ or shared) and the church and sexton’s home was electrified. The post-war boom brought new life to Jordan and their new pastor, Reverend Wesley Wenner, supported the erection of a new and large Sunday School annex to be added to the northern end of the church building. It was the Ladies Aid that initially proposed the addition which was supported by an enthusiastic congregation. This well-designed addition proved to be a fine asset for Jordan and catered to the congregation’s needs for additional Sunday School classrooms, gave organizations within the church a place to meet, provided a large multi-purpose social room, offered storage areas and at long last included the luxury of indoor rest rooms. Jordan Lutheran Church had achieved a new vitality!
All this came to a crashing halt in 1930 when the encroaching effects of The Great Depression were felt at Jordan. After several years of prosperity, Jordan was faced with significant financial woes. Council developed an aggressive stewardship campaign encouraging all members to renew their financial commitment; however few could step up to the plate. The salary of the pastor and organist was reduced by 10% and the churches lights were illuminated only during evening services. In the mid-1930’s, Jordan was in debt and through an orchestrated effort of Jordan’s organizations, funds were raised to barely maintain the church while addressing the debt the church had accumulated. In 1944, a jubilant Jordan celebrated as they were solvent again. These difficult times brought the congregation together to solve a crisis through successful fundraising campaigns from the varied organizations within Jordan. However, as a result, it also encouraged many congregants to take a rather passive approach to their own individual giving.