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[LCMSNews]Synod started 84 churches last year

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Date Fri, 1 Aug 2003 21:21:52 -0500

	LCMS News

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	August 1, 2003 ....................... LCMSNews -- No. 86

	Good news: Synod started
	84 congregations in 2004

	By Paula Schlueter Ross

	The Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod started 84 congregations in
2002  a dramatic increase over the average of 52 per year during the
past decade, according to Dr. Robert Scudieri, associate executive
director for North America with LCMS World Mission.

	Scudieri, who, along with dozens of other Synod mission leaders,
has been working  and praying  for a church-planting movement to take
root, calls the 84 new missions an answer to prayer and a turning
point in the Synod  its dramatic.

	Even though the number of new church plants is up, it still
falls short of the 180 needed each year for the Missouri Synod to grow.
But its a start, Scudieri says, and certainly good news.

	Its not unusual that most of those new starts were among
non-white, non-English-speaking groups  only 21 were among white
Anglos  a trend that began some five years ago, he said.

	What is unusual is that, for the first time, a single non-white
group represents the largest number of new missions. In the past year,
23 Asian missions were started, along with 20 Hispanic and a handful of
African American, African immigrant, Arabic and Caribbean churches.
The Asian figure includes Asian Indian, Chinese, Hmong and Korean

	The Texas District reported the largest number of mission starts
 11  and 10 of them are among non-Anglo groups.

	The greatest mission opportunities that God has given the
congregations in North America are opportunities among new immigrant
groups, says Scudieri. And the LCMS ought to know how to [reach them]
because we were born out of an immigrant movement  God has prepared us
for this time.

	The best way to start a mission is at the local, congregational
level, according to Scudieri, and he attributes the growth of the
Synods mission starts to several factors, including prayer and the fact
that LCMS congregations are under the influence of the spirit of Jesus
and are, by their very nature, missional  the Gospel impels people to
share the Good News.

	The Synods Pentecost 2000 and Pentecost 2000+ emphases also
have built awareness of cross-cultural ministries, he said. And the
Center for U.S. Missions on the campus of Concordia University, Irvine,
Calif., has trained dozens of congregational representatives at its
church-planting seminars.

	Although the Synods North America mission numbers are up,
Lutheran churches are still 96 percent white.

	That means Lutheran congregations have a long way to go, says

	Heaven is not going to be a room full of white people, he
said. God wants all people there.


	If you have questions or comments about this LCMSNews release,
contact Joe Isenhower Jr. at or (314) 996-1231,
or Paula Schlueter Ross at or (314) 996-1230.


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