My “10:02 Prayers” this week have been for the Holy Spirit to stir up surprises in new mission initiatives among our congregations. In fact, I’m challenging all of us to use the month of February to pray daily at 10:02 (mindful Jesus’ call to prayer in Luke 10:02) for new beginnings and new starts in missions.
Who’s Starting New?
There was a brief time in our history where “new starts” were considered by many the work of our districts. Yet, historically, new starts—whether church-plants or new ministries—were birthed by congregations. As a District Mission advocate, I have the privilege of seeing new starts popping up all over our state through congregations.
What’s a New Start?
Sometimes we limit our thinking on this topic. I believe a new start is every new step a congregation takes into a community to reach unchurched people. The Plus One Initiative is now 111 congregations engaging in “new starts,” reaching out to their communities. Many Plus One projects are new ministries serving communities from an existing church. Some Plus One projects have led to larger steps of adding new worshiping communities, planting new churches and even re-planting or re-visioning existing churches.
I’ve included with this post, a video story of Ebenezer Lutheran Church in the Baden neighborhood of St. Louis. Their Plus One process led not only to a new step in their community, but a larger mission focus of re-visioning their ministry.
Mission Grants for New Starts
Every year the congregations all over the District submit major mission proposals for engaging new people and communities with the Gospel. This week opens that application process (January 25- March 4). As we begin a new season of partnering with congregations, pray for our congregations and leaders to be bold in taking new steps.
The Mission Grant process is not just about distributing grants, it’s dreaming, planning and praying about Kingdom work. If your congregation is even thinking about a bold new step, I urge you to download the mission grant application to learn more. Our process has changed year. It’s highly focused on building relationships with congregations throughout the process rather than just an approval or referral letter. So don’t just look at the application deadlines, start the conversation with me. Most importantly, join me in praying at 10:02 for a lot of February surprises!
Examples of New Starts
Missouri District partners with LCMS congregations who are undertaking major initiatives which are externally focused on blessing their communities as faithful witnesses of the gospel. Examples include starting new churches and satellites, multi-ethnic ministries, refugee and immigrant ministries, outreach to a college campus or military base. Other initiatives may be urban or rural strategic partnerships and re-planting. Creativity is encouraged. Four criteria are at the intersection of a District mission grant and an applicant.
- Community Engagement
An intentional Gospel focus on building external relationships in the community with unchurched people.
Identifying, equipping and mobilizing people to demonstrate ownership and live as faithful witnesses of Christ in the ministry context.
- Partnership and Sustainability
Stewarding God’s gifts by working collaboratively (for example) with LCMS churches, workers, mission societies and RSOs, as well as appropriate foundations, community organizations and leaders to achieve outcomes and sustainability.
- Mutual Accountability
Grant proposals identify specific strategies and goals that are mutually communicated, reviewed, and supported with prayer at regular intervals as determined by the District and the mission.
Thanks for making the granting process featured in this article possible! Many loving and forward-thinking individuals and congregations give generously so the Gospel of Jesus Christ can be shared throughout the Missouri District.
If you’re excited about these plans and want to get involved through financial gifts or prayer, please contact Leah at 314-590-6211 or firstname.lastname@example.org.