Synod church planters look to ‘where we aren’t’ in America

Comments (13)
  1. Alan Turley says:

    It is going to take the Holy Spirit and a cultural change in LCMS leaders and members.

    1. Carl Vehse says:

      If one is going to mention a cultural change in the LCMS, one also must mention a cultural change in many of those places ‘where we aren’t.’

      No one can serve two (cultural) masters…

      1. Jeff Ford says:

        I hope not. I left the ELCA because of “cultural change”. Carl is right. Makes me think of John 15:19 and James 4:4.

  2. Klinkenberg says:

    How are you engaging congregations? Properly understood synod consists of thousands of local congregations. We have more assets than those found in St Louis think tanks? What are your thoughts about rooting church planting in congregations and not Synod Inc

    1. Steve Schave says:

      Thanks for the words of encouragement and suggestions regarding church planting. The roundtable had an intentional cross section of congregations, districts, and synod representatives. This fits well with the overall initiative for mother congregations (or such groups) to plant churches in and with new communities, working with their districts, as the synod walks alongside to support. The discussion was held to ensure that the catalyst, tools, and resources are there for a nationwide initiative to encourage churches and congregation members to engage in church planting to establish Word and Sacrament ministries where there are none, and to reach the lost.

      1. Klinkenberg says:

        I have heard nothing if of this and currently serve on a district presidium that has lots of urban areas. Congregational ministry is where the front line is, how will you coalesce and set congregations of scale and resource. Congregations like the one I serve seem only important in paying convention dues.

        1. Steve Schave says:

          While this initiative has been widely publicized for a few months now, the purpose of the roundtable was to help set the foundation to get it off the ground. The initiative was also recently presented to the council of district presidents to help them to share this within their districts. Each district will choose to participate differently working with their congregations. After an email was sent in February from the Office of National Mission to every congregation to encourage them to get involved (, some congregations chose to contact their district office to participate, which is how the pilot projects came to be. Great to hear of your desire for missions in urban areas… here’s a picture of what we hope for MissionField:USA in the city, to brighten your day…

  3. Robert Brownrigg says:

    The planting of new churches is greatly needed. However, attention and support needs to be given to failing congregations that are already there with the necessary church buildings, closed schools, and church halls. Mission work in these areas is needed to bring the gospel to the population who live in those areas.

    1. Steve Schave says:

      Absolutely, this is a key component of MissionField:USA, the work of Urban & Inner City Mission, Rural & Small Town Mission, and the new revitalization program Re:Vitality.

  4. David Zierke says:

    After natural disasters and our members do volunteer work and send contributions to the synod to show mercy, Is there any evidence that those we have tried to help become members? I know we don’t help just as a way to get members but to be the hands and feet of Christ and to make his love known and show compassion but does it result in a significant increase in the number of new, practicing communicant members say 5 years after the event?

  5. Pastor Philip Spomer says:

    Is the act of planting new churches more doable that increasing the membership of existing churches? I’m not sure how one would answer that. I would be interested in learning about any empirical data on the subject.

  6. James "Stormy" Greer says:

    We need to change our dialogue! “Church Planting” is not the goal, bringing people to Jesus should be the headline and main point of this discussion. The Denver NW Circuit of the Rocky Mountain District started a group of a few years ago under the “Gospel Gaps” initiative to look at where we could “church plant”. What we discovered was our greatest opportunity was and is where we were already.
    For instance, Arvada, CO already has 3 LCMS churches but if you took the total membership of all churches in Arvada into the total population, it would be less than 30%. Part of the solution was to call a local pastor as a full time “urban missionary”. His efforts include missional communities, preaching and most of all, bringing people to Christ.
    Some of our existing churches need to re-task, but have no idea how to do it. We have struggling churches in our circuit, we are reaching out to try to help them. Maybe the best solution is one presented by Pastor Dave Ahlman of Peace Lutheran, Arvada: “One”, just bring one person who doesn’t know Jesus to Him.

    1. Steve Schave says:

      Indeed, the Rocky Mountain District has two pilot mission projects through MissionField: USA. LCMS Urban & Inner City Mission assists in facilitating the types of partnerships that you are discussing to support existing congregations in the urban core. And Re:Vitality seeks to help with revitalization and evangelism efforts for struggling inner city congregations as well. There are a variety of ways to support our national mission work.