Two years ago, our Lord Jesus gave us an amazing opportunity. WELS was permitted by the government of Vietnam to build a school in Hanoi to provide Lutheran theological training to hundreds of pastors of the Hmong Fellowship Church. The COVID pandemic delayed construction, but we are now back on track to get started.
When that opportunity arose, WELS members responded. Individuals and congregations made special gifts totaling more than $2 million. Motivated by the gospel, God’s people gave generously to share the saving message of Jesus with lost souls.
At our synod’s recent convention, delegates heard—and overwhelmingly endorsed—another amazing opportunity to expand our efforts to share the gospel. In the September Forward in Christ, Pastor Mark Gabb, chairman of WELS Board for Home Missions, described the opportunity by going back into WELS history to the 1965 synod convention:
It was an aggressive plan. To some it seemed unachievable. WELS was small—only 800 congregations, mostly in the Midwest. We were still fresh on our own, having split with the Missouri Synod just four years earlier. Now “Every State by ’78!” Could our small synod do this? Did we have manpower, money, and ministry resources?
Lots of questions, lots of challenges. Yet the delegates rallied behind the plan, and though it didn’t happen by ’78, it did happen by 1983. God blessed the efforts of those who went before us!
WELS Board for Home Missions’ plan is similarly ambitious. Large areas of the United States are still not served by a WELS congregation. Why not plan big and determine, under God, to open 100 new home missions in the next ten years starting in 2023?
There will, of course, be challenges—the same challenges faced by the synod in 1965. But the board is confident that the members of our synod will respond once again. More importantly, the board knows that the same God who blessed our earlier efforts is the one who promises to bless the planting and watering of his saving gospel.
WELS Home Missions typically plants five to six new congregations each year. We need your help to continue this work even as we plan to increase the number of home missions we open each year. The cost of a new home mission, from the time it is established until the time it becomes self-supporting, ranges from $800,000 to $1,000,000. It’s anticipated that Home Missions will receive additional support from the synod’s budget and other sources, but this will also require generous support from individuals.
Please prayerfully consider a gift to WELS Home Missions to sustain current efforts while they also plan for the “100 Missions in 10 Years” goal. Together we will plant and water while trusting God to make the seed of the gospel grow.
Yours in Christ,
WELS President Mark Schroeder