There was a time when most people considered themselves Christians. But now statistics are showing a startling trend: many people claim no religious affiliation at all. In Fort Wayne alone, 48% of people report they have no connection with any religious faith.
In response, the Indiana District set a goal to start ten new congregations in the next three years. The plan was developed by the Reverend Geoffrey Robinson, outreach executive, who submitted a strategic plan to President Brege for the triennium.
Starting a new congregation can be accomplished two ways, either through mother congregations or sponsoring circuits who want to move forward with a new church.
“When you begin a new start, you gain people and an energy level with a group that will help the church move forward,” Rev. Robinson says.
Although the Indiana District is open to ideas about where to start new congregations, the ideal location includes an area with a strong population and no LCMS presence.
A prime example is Outreach Kentucky in Richmond. Statistics from 2016 report 61% of Madison County residents, where Richmond is located, are unaffiliated with any religious faith. Additionally, Richmond is home to Eastern Kentucky University and has the potential for a vibrant campus ministry.
Other potential areas for church starts include the northwest or southwest side of Fort Wayne, which have both experienced tremendous growth in recent years. Additionally, Indianapolis and its surrounding communities, or even Louisville, Kentucky could be possible locations for church starts.
Funding is available for new congregations through budgeted grants of $30,000 or a non-budgeted $100,000 New Ministry Initiative Matching Grant.
In addition to ten new starts, the District has also set a goal of revitalizing ten at-risk congregations in the next three years. Congregations interested in participating in the church revitalization initiative need to extend an invitation to the District in order to begin the process.
With your support, we can share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those who have no religious affiliation as we expand the mission and reach of the Indiana District.