In south central Missouri, lies Faith Lutheran Church in St. Robert. Faith is located very close to army base Fort Leonard Wood, and whether a member at Faith is a civilian or military personnel, service to the military is a top mission. “It’s literally written in the DNA of the church,” says Faith’s senior pastor Rev. John Perling. This strong military culture serves as a huge blessing and resource to those at Fort Leonard Wood or in the St. Robert community.
Over his years of service at Faith, Pastor Perling has built relationships with those on the base at Fort Leonard Wood. Like when he was asked to lead some seminars on the 500th anniversary of the reformation. He notes a key aspect to working on base that it’s all about becoming a part of their standard operating procedure; building a relationship without compromising doctrine,
Pastor Perling has also started a podcast, which has served as a great way to stay connected with the community at Faith. Local members listen while jogging around base and international members have an avenue to hear a familiar voice while away. The current subject is the book of Romans, which you can find by searching “Romans Perling” on your podcast listening services.
There is a wide age range of military personnel that are connected with Faith, from new enlistees to high ranking officers. Pastor Perling notes that “when we think about young people, [the military is] probably a population that we don’t think about right away. So often our focus is on high school and college experiences, but these are 18 and 19 year olds that are away from home for the first time.” Opposite to young people starting their careers, Pastor Perling has found a special aspect to the ministry: recruiting retiring military members to become pastors. “You can have fully retired military members at 38, the prime of their life” says Perling, “So what we encourage them to consider is to serve under a different mantle, building off of their experience and know-how. And leverage all that for the sake of the Gospel, not the Law.”