Ten families from Our Savior, San Antonio, Texas, make up the committed core group at a new mission in West San Antonio, which began worshiping together in March 2020 (pictured above). This home mission congregation held three in-person services at an elementary school with an average of 40 people in attendance before the pandemic hit.
“My heart goes out to our young mission churches because they lost some momentum in reaching out to people who had shown interest in learning more about their Savior,” says Rev. Wayne Uhlhorn, home mission counselor. “But our missionaries are resourceful and persistent and found ways to stay connected to them and reach out in creative ways with the gospel.”
In addition to the West San Antonio group, Hope, Houston, Texas, and Sure Foundation, Brandon, S.D., also launched services in 2020.
“Moved by the love of our Savior, Home Missions knows that the Lord hasn’t directed us to just share the gospel when life is humming along but to share the gospel of Jesus Christ in difficult times as well,” says Rev. Keith Free, administrator of WELS Board for Home Missions.
“Regardless of the circumstances in this world, God’s people know what their Lord has directed them to do—tell more people about the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. We ask the Lord to bless us to do just that.”
To learn more, visit wels.net/homemissions.
New Home Missions approved in 2020
The Board for Home Missions approved three new missions in 2020, including:
Amarillo, Texas (pictured): Located 130 miles from the nearest WELS church, a group of 15 WELS members form the core group reaching out in Amarillo, Texas. The WELS pastor from Lubbock, Texas, makes the two-hour drive to Amarillo twice a month to serve the members with God’s Word and his sacraments.
North Liberty, Iowa: North Liberty, Iowa, is a multi-site ministry with Good Shepherd in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A dedicated core group of 20 members began worshiping in July 2017 at the North Liberty Community Center. Home Missions funding will allow Good Shepherd to call a second pastor to help its outreach efforts.
West San Antonio, Texas: Ten families from Our Savior, San Antonio, Texas, make up the committed core group at this new mission, which began worshiping together in March 2020.
Strengthening faith and building relationships
WELS Campus Ministry celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2020. The WELS Campus Ministry Committee currently provides about 30 campus ministries with financial support and assists hundreds of other congregations in their campus ministry outreach. Pictured is the first campus ministry get-together of the 2020–21 school year at Purdue University coordinated by Lamb of God, Lafayette, Ind.
On Oct. 24, 2020, members from Carbon Valley, Firestone, Colo., came out to clean up their community, living out this mission congregation’s motto, “Connecting Christ . . . Creating Community.”
Twenty-five people from Cross of Christ, Boise/North Nampa, Idaho, packed and delivered almost 90 sets of groceries donated by more than a dozen other people to neighbors in their community—along with a message of care and hope. As this multi-site congregation noted, “This is one simple way to serve our community and let them know that not only do we care about them, more importantly, Jesus cares about them.”
Encouraging spiritual transformations
Sure Foundation, the new mission in Brandon, S.D., partnered with a local gym in a program called “The 21-Day Transformation.” Rev. Craig Wilke (pictured), home missionary at Sure Foundation, explains: “The gym puts people through workouts with a personal trainer and gives them diet plans to follow for 21 days. It is a well-thought-out program with accomplished leaders. Sure Foundation was added to the program as the spiritual component for the event. It was an exciting opportunity to partner with a community member and to reach people with the Word. COVID-19 changed our plans, but it didn’t stop our ability to reach people. We recorded videos and put together devotional materials to help people grow in their spiritual lives. Participants learned how to read the Bible correctly and devotionally, and participants read through an entire book of the Bible while answering questions along the way. By God’s grace, Sure Foundation was able to get 32 new people involved in this program and many of our own members too. The 21-Day Transformation didn’t result in just physical transformations but spiritual ones as well.”
Did you know?
WELS Home Missions currently supports a total of 114 mission congregations across 35 states as well as Canada and the English-speaking Caribbean.