The Board for Home Missions has granted close to $150,000 since August 2015 to help support special projects in WELS mission churches.
“With our mission congregations diligently working to reduce their subsidy, sometimes it stretches a congregation financially,” says Keith Free, administrator of Home Missions. “When there’s a special gift, it can really lift the spirits of a congregation because they are able to do something extra to enhance their outreach ministry, which they wouldn’t have been able to do without that gift.”
These special project funds, largely supported through gifts from the Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society (LWMS), provide money for various types of projects common to mission congregations including first public worship services, tools for outreach, children’s ministry, and facility or music equipment.
Peace, Aiken, S.C., a mission congregation that held its first worship service in December 2014, received a $3,000 grant to help the 50-member congregation promote the grand opening of its new worship location in downtown Aiken. “Peace’s biggest opportunity and challenge is simply to let our city and community know not only that we exist but also that we have an incredible gospel to share,” says Jonathan Bourman, pastor at Peace. “We are going to use this grant to get out that message as powerfully as we can in our community. In the past, mailers have proven to be an effective way to reach folks.”
Bourman says having those extra dollars really means the world to congregations like his. “They’re investments. They help churches like ours get rooted and established so that we can grow and prosper. Then with God’s help we can become not only a financially independent church, but also one which quickly and powerfully joins the party other established churches get to have when they support churches like ours.”
Good News, Mount Horeb, Wis., asked for help in starting a Morning with Mommies program in fall 2015 to reach out in its community of young families. The program, developed by a pastor’s wife from Knoxville, Tenn., offers themed educational playdates for parents and their children. “It’s a great way for neighborhood families to get to meet us, to get to know some of our families, and to see our facilities,” says Jonathan Bauer, pastor at Good News. He says it also provides him with face-to-face time not only with the kids but also the parents.
While the congregation already had plans to start the program before it received the grant, the extra money helped members buy the materials they needed to start the ministry, freeing up congregation funds for promotion. Most of the 20 people who attend the program are from nonmember families; one family has since attended the church.
Other congregations have used the grants for buying chairs for worship services, providing welcome packets for visitors, and starting up a preschool program.
Special project grants are given throughout the year to requesting congregations, but Home Missions was able to provide even more funding after receiving more than $140,000 in 2015 from LWMS through their fall and spring rallies, their national convention offering, and through the organization’s kids C.A.R.E. program. “Home Missions is blessed with many active partners who help to support the proclamation of the gospel,” says Free. “We say thanks ever so much to LWMS for the generous and continued support of WELS Missions.”
Do you have a manuscript, idea, or story from your own life you’d like to share for use in Forward in Christ or on wels.net? Use our online form to share it to our editorial office for consideration.
Get inspirational stories, spiritual help, and synod news from Forward in Christ every month. Print and digital subscriptions are available from Northwestern Publishing House.
Volume 103, Number 01
Issue: January 2016
Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2021
Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us