Saturday, June 26, 2010

But where are the Missions focused?

So, my wife and I have been on a 2-night southern Oklahoma, northern Texas road trip. Driving around, I've noted one thing. There are an awful lot of towns that just don't have a Lutheran Church. Small towns, villages, things like that. Places where you might have to drive 30-40 miles to hit the next Lutheran Church - if the locals even knew what a Lutheran was.

Why isn't our mission focused out that way? When was the last time you heard of a mission plant being out into a place where there was no Lutheran presence - rather than just expanding into the suburbs? There are so many areas in the Bible Belt where people probably have never even gotten a whiff of Lutheran theology -- and instead, we plant churches that turn a 10 minute drive one way into a 5 minute drive another way.

I'm not saying the later is wrong - but seriously, when was the last time you heard about a Lutheran Church being placed, a mission being sent to a place in the US where there was no Lutheran presence before? That's the way we used to do it - two or three Lutheran families would move into an area and say, "Time to make a Church." It's a little depressing.


in situ said...

I grew up down that way.

You are correct. There might be a little sprinkling of ELCA (there's one in my hometown of Hobart), but I sure didn't know what a Lutheran was or hardly even remember hearing the name before college, where I met my wonderful Lutheran wife.

Is it a case of the SB's, Methodists and Church of Christ's choking any push to get in that area?

Garry Trammell said...

Agree wholeheartedly Rev. Brown. The church growth movement started this trend in the 1970's. I remember when our little Baptist congregation in the village started to get larger so the push was on to build a much larger church a few miles away close to the highway. Over the years, the suburbanites came (mostly from other churches, not new converts) but the church totally lost any influence in the village. The village used to have two churches. Today it has none.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

I drove through Paul's Valley today. I think it's 40 miles from a Lutheran Church. There's one in Ardmore and in Norman. Basically, 40 miles each way. Oh, 33 miles from there to Ada. . . but still, that's almost the exact middle of a big chunk of space without a Lutheran Presence.