Every spring and fall, the Board for Home Missions (BHM) and the BHM Executive Committee prioritize requests for new home missions and ministry enhancements. So far in 2022, the Board for Home Missions has approved 12 new home mission starts and enhancements.
New home mission starts
- Windsor, Colo.: WELS congregations in Ft. Collins, Loveland, and Greeley are supporting this new mission start in a rapidly expanding area in northern Colorado. There are currently 20 WELS families located in the target area that has no Lutheran churches.
- 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% over the next 10 years.
- Canton, Ga. (pictured above): Members and leadership from Beautiful Savior in 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.
- Conroe, Tex.: Conroe, the northernmost suburb of Houston, is fifth fastest growing city in the United States. Abiding Word in Houston, Tex., is helping this new mission get off the ground and running.
- Lodi, Wis. (Unsubsidized): Zion in Leeds, Wis., is establishing a second site in Lodi. They have already leased a ministry center where the 17-person ministry team hopes to launch worship this year. This mission is financially supported by Zion, but Home Missions status will give them access to support from their District Mission Board, Mission Counselors, and special grants.
- St. John – St. Paul, Minn.: St. John has called a bi-lingual pastor to serve the sizable Hispanic population in the area. The church is located right next to the Mexican Consulate, a portion of their facility is being rented by a Latino service organization, and there is already a Spanish women’s Bible study being led by a pastor’s wife who also works for a pregnancy resource center that’s housed there.
- Cross of Glory – Baton Rouge, La.: Cross of Glory will receive short-term financial support as they continue to build on the outreach momentum that began when their new pastor arrived in 2017. They’re currently the only WELS church that’s able to reach the 750,000 people living in the parishes in and around Baton Rouge.
- Divine Savior – Delray Beach, Fla.: Divine Savior plans to call a full-time Staff Minister to assist in school outreach, discipleship training, and connecting new members with various volunteer opportunities. 120 students are enrolled in their school that started in 2018, with 230 expected next school year. That school growth is leading to church growth, and they expect to add around 50 members in the next few months or so based on current Bible Information Class attendance.
- Abiding Savior – Killeen, Tex.: Abiding Savior is located near Fort Hood, one of the nation’s largest military bases. The church got a new pastor in 2019, added 13 new members in 2021, and are excited to continue growing with Home Missions support in the years to come.
- Our Savior – Burlington, Iowa: Our Savior has been without a full-time shepherd for 12 years. They are currently being served by pastors from two other WELS churches, with elders leading services when pastors are unavailable. The 17-member core group is committed to outreach with support from a new home missionary.
Home Missions provides assistance to unsubsidized mission congregations through its district missions boards, mission counselors, synodical support staff, and special project funds, but does not provide direct financial support. They also have access to loans and grants from WELS Church Extension Fund and the Board for Home Missions.
- Mt. Calvary – Redding/Anderson, Calif.: Mt. Calvary in Redding and Faith in Anderson are in the midst of combining their mission efforts to be a multi-site ministry. They are looking forward to the expertise, guidance, and ministry support that Home Missions can provide.
- Living Faith – Midlothian, Tex.: In 2018, St. Mark in Duncanville, Tex., decided to sell their property and move their outreach efforts to the growing area of Midlothian under a new name, Living Faith. They began worship in a rented facility and purchased land with the proceeds from the sale. Unsubsidized mission status will give them access to a Mission Counselor, district mission board resources, and special grants.
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