When I accepted the call to be a church planter in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, I learned that the Coeur d’Alene area is one of the fastest growing areas in the Pacific Northwest. That’s what prompted St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Spokane, WA to want to plant a second site there.
There was no core group of WELS members that lived there.
That’s when I realized that if we were ever going to get this new church plant started, we would have to spend a lot of time building relationships with the unchurched people in our community. But where would I start?
Do a major door-to-door canvass?
Offer a big outreach event?
Send out direct mail postcards to thousands of homes?
God had something else in mind – something unexpected – and it was all a result of building relationships.
Shortly after moving to Coeur d’Alene, I met a lady at a local hotel who was making the arrangements for our church to have a meeting there. During our conversation, she mentioned to me that her dad died a few days prior and she was feeling kind of down and depressed as a result. I listened to her talk about her dad for a little while and how she was hurting inside, and then I shared with her some words of comfort from God’s Word. A few days later, I followed up by sending her a sympathy card in the mail just to show her that I cared. She called me to say thank you for thinking of her and for sharing words of comfort and encouragement with her.
About a week after that, she called me again and started asking me questions about our new mission church and what “kind” of church is it going to be. I shared with her information about The Vine and asked if I could stay in contact, so that she would know what we’re doing at The Vine and I could invite her to be a part of it. She said,
“I would love that. Thank you for caring.”
That’s just a sample of what we’re trying to do at The Vine in Coeur d’Alene: building relationships with unchurched people and sharing the gospel with them. And God is using our efforts to build His church here – one relationship at a time.
There are so many people in Coeur d’Alene who need Jesus. This lady from the hotel is one of them. Please pray for our home mission congregation, that the Lord will continue to bless our outreach efforts!
Written by: Pastor Kevin Schultz, The Vine Lutheran Church – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Learn about the ministry work of WELS Missions.
Support the ministry work of WELS Missions.