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“God can do immeasurably more”

On March 24, WELS Board for Home Missions approved the first new missions and enhancements for the synodwide “100 missions in 10 years” initiative.

“Our God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,” says Mark Gabb, chairman of WELS Board for Home Missions. “So how does it look to live like we believe this? That’s the question that the Board for Home Missions considered as we reviewed the many new start requests. We knew that there were questions about money and pastors, yet with sanctified common sense we made our decisions based on our trust that God can do immeasurably more.”

The nine approved new mission starts include:

  • Bentonville, Ark.: The 12-person core group has been active in this community, which is home to Walmart’s headquarters and is projected to see 35 percent population growth in the next three years.
  • Boston, Mass.: The closest WELS church to Boston’s urban center is a 90-minute drive. This urban mission has potential for college and cross-cultural ministry.
  • Cincinnati, Ohio: Beautiful Savior, Cincinnati, Ohio, is starting a second site in the Oakley and Hyde Park neighborhoods with a core group of 20 members.
  • Idaho Falls, Idaho: With the nearest WELS church three hours away, the 11-person core group has been meeting for weekly Bible studies with a pastor via Zoom.
  • Kalispell, Mont.: Kalispell, Mont., is considered the fastest-growing micropolitan city (population of 10,000-50,000) in the United States. The core group has been worshiping together twice a month for more than 10 years and participating in regular Bible studies for more than eight years.
  • Kronenwetter, Wis.: Five WELS churches in the greater Wausau, Wis., area are supporting this mission, which will worship at Northland Lutheran High School. The 22-member core group has been meeting monthly since December 2021 for Bible study and mission planning.
  • Marquette, Mich.: Marquette serves as the hub of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and 52 percent of the people in and around Marquette do not have a home church or attend a church.
  • Panama City Beach, Fla.: Amazing Grace, Panama City, Fla., is expanding west and starting a second site in the greater Panama City Beach area.
  • North Collin County, Texas: A core group of 15 members from Atonement, Plano, Texas, are part of this new mission in a northern suburb of Dallas. Divine Savior Ministries, a WELS-affiliated organization with four church/school campuses, has partnered with the mission and plans to build a Divine Savior Academy by year five of the mission start.
community outreach Texas
In North Collin County, Texas, WELS members who form the core group of the new mission there have been meeting every other week since 2021 for planning meetings and Bible studies. They have also participated in community outreach opportunities, including volunteering at a food pantry (pictured), cleaning up litter, and attending community events.

“We are so humbled and excited to have been chosen for mission status in this first year of WELS’ 100 in 10 mission initiative,” says Brad Johnston, the core group leader of Divine Savior, North Collin County. “We have learned so much about our community and the needs of our neighbors and friends over the past two years of active outreach efforts. They have no greater need than to hear the message of peace that comes from knowing their Savior Jesus. Receiving home mission status will make it possible for us to establish deep roots in our community using all of the resources provided by our district mission board, the Board for Home Missions, and WELS. Our next formal, very exciting step will be calling a missionary to spiritually lead us as we move forward with our mission effort.”

The Board for Home Missions is also financially supporting ministry enhancements for Beautiful Savior, West Des Moines, Iowa; Fairview, Milwaukee, Wis.; Christ the King, Port Charlotte, Fla.; and Divine Savior, Sienna, Texas. It is providing unsubsidized support to Our Redeemer, Ladysmith, Wis., and Good Shepherd, Midland, Texas.

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Author: Forward in Christ
Volume: 110, Number 05
Issue: May 2023

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