Mountain View Church Plant
Mountain View is a small town located right along highway 60. Pastor John Perling of Faith in St. Robert notes that many living in the south central area of Missouri are raised in a religious environment of “fire and brimstone”. It’s very law-heavy and people are hungry for the Gospel. There’s just one problem, Mountain View is miles and miles from the closest LCMS church. Enter Kim Bradford, who moved to Mountain View with the intention of sharing the grace of Jesus Christ. Kim became a Christian in college, but within a different church body. She started her journey to Lutheranism by listening to KFUO. And now she wants to share God’s grace to all of her neighbors, with some help from Faith in St. Robert.
In 2019, the Missouri District hosted a “Churches Planting Churches” event. Kim had attended Faith in St. Robert (traveling almost 2 hours one way every Sunday!) And together from this event, St. Robert mapped out a plan for planting a church in Mountain View. Kim works as a homesteader and a letter carrier, and she uses these roles as a way to build relationships with people in the town while Pastor Perling meets with the group and helps to lead the Bible Study. Right now, those that gather in Mountain View may be small in number, but they are growing in God’s Word. One group of ladies decided that they should all read the Bible together. They love learning and digging deeper into the Bible and learning about this God full of grace.
While it’s an intentional process, it’s also very organic. Kim not only meets people on her mail route, but also when the town gathers for the local farmer’s market or at an apple orchard. Any moment can turn into an opportunity to connect. Over time, Kim realized that the group is better served by meeting in a room at the local library. This is a more central location for those spaced all around Mountain View. They’ve also found it to be a nice, easy location for those less familiar with the group to gather. Their Bible Study is held midday since many people have morning chores. Pastor Perling connects with the group in person or via video conferences.
As those gathering for Bible Study continue to grow, Mountain View would love to have a pastor closer in their area. In the meantime, Kim Bradford is in the application process to start this fall at Concordia Seminary in their online deaconess program. This allows her to continue to serve in her community while getting mentored.
Pastor Perling notes that this model of church planting doesn’t require a massive financial commitment, though scholarships and District grants are available. It takes groups of people, often lay people, to make intentional choices to help those in the community to share the Gospel of Christ. “Any town that has a high school, public library, VFW veteran’s hall is big enough to plant a church in, under this pattern.”