New Starts and Enhancements: 2021
Every spring, the Board for Home Missions (BHM) and the BHM Executive Committee prioritize requests for new missions and ministry enhancements. In 2021, 13 requests were received. The Board for Home Missions met on April 15-16, 2021, and approved financial support for home mission churches in seven new locations.
New home mission plants include:
- Waco, Tex. – The Heart of Texas mission core group has been meeting regularly since March 2020. They are active in the community and participate in family-friendly activities around town while representing their new church plant. This mission is being supported by Trinity in nearby Temple, Tex.
- Durham, N.C. – Gethsemane, the WELS congregation in Raleigh, N.C., is launching a second site in nearby Durham. The three universities in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill are creating jobs and drawing a diverse group of young professionals and families to the area. The gospel is especially needed in this area, as studies show that 75% of people in the area do not know their Savior.
- Parrish, Fla. – This new mission plant in Parrish is being started and supported by Risen Savior in Lakewood Ranch, a previous home mission church that recently became self-supporting. Ascension Lutheran in Sarasota is also supporting this new mission site. 20,000-30,000 homes are expected to be built in Parrish in the next 10 years, and this new mission will be reaching out with the gospel to a community that is 85% unchurched.
- Dickinson, N.D. – A committed core group has been meeting regularly for livestreamed worship and monthly gatherings since 2012, served by pastors from WELS churches in Mandan and Bismarck. Those two congregations as well as a church in Circle, Montana, will be supporting this new mission start named Amazing Grace. Dickinson, the hub of the area, has seen recent economic growth alongside the oil industry that is drawing new young families to the community.
Home Missions is also providing financial support to three existing ministries:
- Willoughby, Ohio – King of Kings in the suburbs of Cleveland is one of only two WELS churches in northeast Ohio, where 2.8 million people reside. They will be calling a new pastor to help reach out into the large community around their church that serves young professionals and families that have moved from downtown Cleveland to the suburbs.
- Hutto, Tex. – Christ the Rock is located north of Austin and has been an unsubsidized mission since 2016. They have recently started worshiping in a new facility and are aggressively serving their community. Financial support will assist with ministry expenses.
- Summerlin, Nev. – Summerlin Lutheran Church owns a large facility in a growing master-planned community on the west side of Las Vegas. Three years of Home Missions financial support will allow them to call a pastor and partner in outreach with nearby home mission congregation Shepherd of the Hills, whose pastor has been serving as their vacancy pastor.
Home Missions also approved unsubsidized mission status for Redeemer in Fallbrook, Calif., and St. John’s Hillside in Milwaukee, Wis. 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.