Pictured above: Foundation, Folsom, Calif. Clark Woods was in the right place at the perfect time to hear the message of free grace, forgiveness, and peace in Jesus when he most desperately needed it. Watch a video to learn more about Clark and how God used Foundation, Folsom, Calif., a home mission congregation, to deliver that message. Visit wels100in10.net to watch God’s plan unfold for Clark (pictured here with David Koelpin, pastor at Foundation).
In 2022, the Board for Home Missions approved 12 new home mission starts and enhancements.
- Windsor, Colo.: WELS congregations in Ft. Collins, Loveland, and Greeley are supporting this new mission start in a rapidly expanding area in northern Colorado. Currently 20 WELS families are located in the target area, which has no Lutheran churches. Stephen Koelpin has accepted the call to serve this new mission.
- Wichita, Kan.: Messiah is looking to start a second site on the east side of the city to better serve the 650,000 people in the greater metropolitan area. The area population is expected to grow by 10 percent over the next 10 years. Jacob Jenswold has accepted the call to start this new mission.
- Canton, Ga.: Members and leadership from Beautiful Savior, Marietta, Ga., have identified Canton, a quickly growing suburb of Metro-Atlanta, as a prime location to plant a new mission church. Population has doubled in the past twenty years, and that growth is expected to continue. Cale Mead has accepted the call to start this new mission.
- Conroe, Texas: Conroe, the northernmost suburb of Houston, is the fifth fastest-growing city in the United States. Abiding Word in Houston, Texas, is helping this new mission get off the ground. Jeremy Mattek has accepted the call to start this new mission.
- Lodi, Wis. (unsubsidized): Zion, Leeds, Wis., is establishing a second site in Lodi. They leased a ministry center where the 17-person ministry team helped launch worship on Oct. 16, 2022.
- St. John, St. Paul, Minn.
- Cross of Glory, Baton Rouge, La.
- Divine Savior, Delray Beach, Fla.
- Abiding Savior, Killeen, Texas
- Our Savior, Burlington, Iowa
Unsubsidized mission status
- Mt. Calvary, Redding/Anderson, Calif.
- Living Faith, Midlothian, Texas
What does it mean to be an unsubsidized mission?
Home Missions provides assistance to unsubsidized mission congregations through its district mission boards, mission counselors, synodical support staff, and special project funds, but does not provide direct financial support.
Did you know?
In 2022, Home Missions supported 134 congregations.
Carbon Valley, Firestone, Colo.
Jesse Jensen had recently moved to Firestone with his folks. He had just graduated from nursing school and was working full-time, but he knew something was missing. He grew up “Christian” in the sense that he knew of Christ and knew of church, but he had never actively practiced or been a member anywhere. What he did have was a grandfather who was a believer and had an interest in knowing more, so he picked up a phone and called me.
I told Jesse, “We aren’t actually worshiping in person, and we don’t actually have a building . . . but I’ll buy you a coffee.” He said yes, and his journey to Christ and Carbon Valley began.
Over the next year and a half, we systematically walked through the Bible. Jesse couldn’t get enough, which meant our classes went long and we added about four or five “bonus” lessons. It was incredible to talk through the Ten Commandments with someone who had never read them before.
Jesse stuck with us. He learned what worship looks like, built relationships, and watched how our members treated one another and modeled Christian living. But most of all, he heard about his Savior over and over again, and that Savior worked in his heart. So much so that when Jesse’s grandfather died, his family asked Jesse to say something and lead the memorial. I gave him some prayers and thoughts, and he took them and led his family to give thanks for his grandfather’s life but also to see Jesus. And after all that, Jesse was the first adult baptism and new member in our new building.
Tim Spiegelberg, home missionary at Carbon Valley Lutheran Church, Firestone, Colo.
Campus ministry in Reno, Nev.
When Light of the Valleys, Reno, Nev., discovered it was going to have a vicar for the first time in 2021, it decided to embark on a new ministry opportunity—a campus ministry. The congregation—along with its two sister congregations in the Reno area—gathered resources from WELS Campus Ministry and started putting together a core group of students to determine how to minister to and reach college-age adults.
Enter Sam Schulz. Sam, a student at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wis., was assigned as a vicar to Light of the Valleys in May 2021. When he and his wife, Maddie, arrived a few months later, the campus ministry was just getting started. Sam and Maddie got to work making contacts and planning events.
Besides studying the Bible, the group always did some sort of activity—things like playing games, bowling, rock painting. “We were solidifying friendships first, so they were comfortable talking about uncomfortable things,” says Sam. The group started small but grew to about a dozen who regularly attended the twice-monthly gatherings. Members of the group started bringing their friends and even began getting together socially outside of the scheduled meetings.
But the group wasn’t only about fun and games. “Members were so dedicated and so excited to get into God’s Word,” says Sam. “They really wanted to study it and they really cared about each other too.”
April (pictured on her confirmation day) is a prime example of the students that are being reached through the group. April’s parents already had joined Light of the Valleys, but she only had been attending sporadically. The campus ministry group made her feel more comfortable, so she started attending Bible information classes and worship and was then baptized and confirmed.
Visit wels.net/college to learn more about WELS Campus Ministry.