Set up and tear down every weekend was the norm for this congregation for 20 years. If you’ve ever been a part of a mission start, you know the hours and effort this takes every Sunday. A circuit mission start in 1992, members of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, worshipped in temporary space. Usually, they would gather at a local horticultural center. However, if there was a weekend show scheduled in that space, members had to haul everything to a nearby school for worship.
Needing a permanent church home.
About sixteen years ago the congregation stepped out in faith and purchased a church building. Lutheran Church Extension Fund was blessed to partner with Gloria Dei to help fund the purchase. The congregation successfully paid off its LCEF loan early and celebrated a mortgage burning at the church on Sunday, March 11, 2018.
“Well done good and faithful servants,” said Diana Raasch, LCEF District Vice President - South Wisconsin District. “It is wonderful to see Gloria Dei’s members’ long-term commitment to this ministry.”
Now that their mortgage is paid in full, the congregation is free to put resources toward other ministry needs in their church and community. Gloria Dei’s part-time shepherd, Rev. Dr. William Wagner, said the congregation will focus on completing their support of SMP’s Vicar Rick Sears. “This small congregation has never had a permanent, called pastor,” said Wagner.
Sears is in his second year of the four-year Specific Ministry Pastor program to become an ordained pastor through Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana. A distance education program, SMP prepares men for specific pastoral ministries in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. In addition to his academic training with a Concordia cohort, Sears is mentored by Wagner who supports him with day-to-day guidance, encouragement and prayer.
Seeking to expand your ministry's reach? Whether you’re looking for faith-based financial solutions or resources to guide your growth, LCEF offers the services your Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod ministry needs. For more information, contact your district vice president, call 800-843-5233 or visit lcef.org.