Thursday, January 7, 2010

Dreams for a new ELCA congregation in Kingston, Washington

Dreaming has a way of pulling people out of dwelling on what appears to be the dead ends of their lives. Mission and vision plugs the people of God into what is possible with God. Dreaming and vision is a way of filling up our eyes with light (Matthew 5:22-23).

Today I met with some ELCA congregational leaders in Kitsap County to talk about the possibility of a new congregation in Kingston, Washington. We are putting together a "Dream Team" of ELCA Lutherans from around Kitsap County to pray, discern and put together a mission profile in preparation for a mission developer to serve with others to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ in Kingston. First Lutheran Community Church may not have financial resources to give at this time to a new congregation, but we have many leadership resources available. One of the things I have learned in my four months here is that FLCC has had some interest in offering its mission ideas and leadership resources to other congregations, but those resources have not been shared for one reason or another. Maybe the platform was not right. A new congregation is a great opportunity for the leadership and mission resources of FLCC to be shared in a meaningful and concrete way. The end result is a new congregation.

What does this new church opportunity mean for readers of this blog and First Lutheran Community Church? What can you do?

1. Pray. Pray for the people in Kitsap County and the Southwestern Washington Synod who are involved in discernment and planning for this project in Kingston.

2. Discern. Is there a way you can be an asset or resource for this project? If you are in Kitsap County, do you have:

+ Ideas
+ Abilties--do you have task-oriented gifts, or are you gifted for visionary thinking?
+ Access to a building or land
+ Knowledgeable about or connection with the Kingston community
+ Passion for evangelism

If you live outside of the area as a reader of this blog can you share experience regarding planting churches? Your prayers for a new congregation are also appreciated.

3. Pray more.

4. Volunteer. I am looking for 1-2 people to work with other church folks in Kitsap County to put together a "Dream Team" for prayer, discernment and planning for a new ELCA congregation in Kingston. Please let me know if you are interested (leave a comment on this blog or call the office at 360-876-3901. We are targeting a group to get together toward the middle/end of February, to meet 1-2 times per month, with the end result being calling a mission developer.

The ELCA no longer uses a strategy of parachuting in a church planter to a particular area. The ELCA now relies on the gifts and resources of the surrounding congregations to help build up a new community, while also empowering people in congregations to grow in evangelism. Financial support still comes from the ELCA, but new congregations represent a broader community effort.

I am thankful to offer my gifts and passions toward this project of starting a new Christian community. This is my second opportunity to support this kind of venture. It's an exciting blessing to see an empowered people of God. Thank you for your prayers.


  1. when ELCA starts a new church with leadership persons from other congregations - do those people set up their 'membership' at that new congregation? Are they expected (hoped) that they'd stay? how does that seed of membership work for ELCA?

  2. Hey RevBug--

    Thanks for reading and commenting. The model has changed a little bit to my knowledge. People don't necessarily shift membership who are "seed families." They may end up changing membership. Families/people are identified who can share resources, but the goal is not to shift Lutherans--rather to do evangelism. We've had a bit of history with mere Lutheran shuffling--but the focus is more on evangelism from the outset. That sounds like a "duh," but the ELCA has had that (possibly) unintended consequence from its mission strategy. Though the new methodology is not perfect, I think we're going in a better direction for church planting.

  3. Hello there! I saw you left a comment on my Blog a few months ago, and I just wanted to say hello. I hope your dream of a new congregation will be realized, and I appreciate your interest in my research. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, or I can be of any assistance. Take care!