Preaching Station Considerations
Step 1: Planning Review membership roster and plot where every member lives. If a congregation has several members within the same area who live at a distance from the congregation, there may be a potential for a preaching station. It is wise to contact CLC pastors to see if they have members who may be living in the same area, and stay updated on the membership status of other CLC members who may have moved into the area. Communicate with all members about the benefits of a preaching station. Listen to whether they indicate a desire to have a preaching station near them. Keep track of members at a distance who are eager to be able to worship in-person.
Step 2: Choose a Layperson to Lead the Effort It is important to have someone “on-site” who will lead the preaching station effort. Ideally, this should not be the pastor so that the preaching station begins to function more independently. It is also wise that the leader be a regular attendee of the preaching station so that they can provide feedback to the host congregation and so that they can connect with guests and visitors. This person would work with the pastor to determine schedule and be a contact person for those who are interested in attending. Typically, the host congregation provides overall leadership through the voting assembly and the Board of Elders/Church Council.
Step 3: Choose a Location A possible first step would be to meet in the home of a member in a central location. Meeting in a member’s home eases the financial burden but typically a public location is better for outreach. When choosing a location, balance affordability with practicality. If looking for a public location, the group should look for locations that are easy to access such as a school (on the weekend), funeral home, hotel meeting room, or community center.
Step 4: Advertising and Outreach Once you have a location, create awareness of that location. Here are some possible ways to do this:
- Encourage members of the preaching station to invite family and friends (direct contacts) to services.
- Contact radio stations and newspapers to see if they have a free “community calendar” where they could list their service time and other information.
- Create a mobile compatible website that is kept up to date providing information to prospective attendees.
- Incorporate the use of social media to share announcements, services, and Bible studies.
- Distribute flyers informing the community about your presence
- Create signage which would be placed in a visible location announcing the preaching station during services and other activities.
Step 5: Teaching and Preaching Use a variety of methods to share the Word outside of regular worship services, such as: seminars, VBS, smaller Bible studies, festivals and potlucks, and other study workshops.
Consider the viability of having retired CLC clergy serve on a preaching rotation to lighten the ministry load on the pastor of the host congregation. As a group, devote yourselves to providing a solid worship setting based on the Word of God. This will prove to work effectively in your members but also show what sets your preaching station apart from other churches in the area. The most important task for any group of Christians is to communicate the Word of God in a clear and understandable way.
Step 6: Looking Ahead It might be wise to draft a set of guiding principles for the preaching station that outlines duties, responsibilities, goals, and financial considerations. For information on moving from a preaching station to an independent congregation, see the section on page 3, “How Can the CLC Help?”
Prayer – Share prayers across both the preaching station and the host congregation. Create a sense of community among the two locations.
Identity – Be very clear in what sets you apart from other churches in the area, especially other Lutheran churches. Study the Word of God regularly for yourself, so that you can be ready to answer questions about your church and/or preaching station, and what makes it different and needed in the community. Many of these interactions with friends, family, and neighbors happen spontaneously so it’s good to prepare beforehand.
Communication – It is necessary to keep good contact and communication between the preaching station and the host congregation. Although, the preaching station is not intended to be a substitute for the host congregation, encourage members to attend the preaching station from time to time to encourage their brothers and sisters in the faith. Consider having the lay-leader of the preaching station give updates at the host congregation’s quarterly voter’s meetings. Include needs into these discussions so that the host congregation can adequately support the preaching station.
Financial Because each preaching station has unique circumstances, the form that financial elements take depends on each group’s structure and on what the host congregation deems most acceptable. Three potential options are as follows:
- Three Ways to Handle Finances (depending on size and situation)
- Preaching station offerings are given directly to the general fund of the host congregation. There is no separate tracking of preaching station offerings.
- Preaching station funds are kept by the host congregation with a separate line item in their budget. This includes both deposits and expenditures. Preaching station funds are not to be used for host congregation needs.
- Preaching station operates its own bank account separate from the host congregation to cover the expenses for any building rental and pastor travel.
How can the CLC help?
Option 1: The host congregation could contact the CLC Board of Missions to apply for an Outreach Grant An Outreach Grant is available to assist with the outreach efforts of congregations if they are unable to finance such an effort on their own.
Option 2: When a preaching station reaches a point where it has the potential to be an autonomous congregation, the first step would be to apply as a CLC congregation. See “Starting a CLC Congregation” document for more information: http://us.lutheranmissions.org/files/delightful-downloads/2018/07/Starting-A-CLC-Congregation.pdf. Once a preaching station becomes an independent CLC congregation, it can apply for a monthly subsidy through the CLC Board of Missions. If the application is approved, the congregation would be considered a domestic mission congregation. Applications for synodical mission subsidy should be received by the Board of Missions before April (this is when the CLC boards set their budgets for the coming fiscal year).
The preaching station and host congregation should be in correspondence with the Board of Mission early in this process. They should also request a visit from the Board of Missions to discuss the Guidelines for Subsidized Congregations and expectations of both the congregation and the Board of Missions before a formal request for subsidy is made. Keep in mind that it can take six to twelve months or longer for the Board of Missions to approve and to begin providing monthly subsidy.
[For the CDF] Questions:
Format: what format do we want the final document in?
Should we develop a FAQ section?
Should we have a checklist of must haves?