Church Planters Training
In planting a Lutheran church, it is important to understand the distinctive characteristics and marks of Lutheranism.
In his writing, “Church and Ministry III,” Luther gives seven marks and an outward sign that can be categorized under Witness, Mercy and Life Together.
These are key to developing a core group that form into a Lutheran congregation:
- I. Witness: Possession of the Holy Word of God
- II. Life Together: The Holy Sacrament of Baptism
- III. Life Together: The Holy Sacrament of the Altar
- IV. LifeTogether: The Office of the Keys Exercised Publicly
- V. Life Together: Consecration or Calling Ministers
- VI. Witness & Life Together: Prayer, Public Praise, and Thanksgiving to God
- VII. Witness & Life Together: The Holy Possession of the Sacred Cross
- VIII. Mercy: The Christian Life of Loving Our Neighbor
These areas comprise a firm foundation to use in the planning process for church planting, and they are a beneficial guide in forming a core group to charter a Lutheran congregation.
This training enables the core group to use Witness, Mercy and Life Together as the framework for doing missions.
Each of these emphases is taught in a separate module to help you be deliberate as you plan. Building a Life Together involves assembling a core group, developing unity in belief and practice, managing the administrative aspects of getting started, preparing to worship, and establishing fellowship, as this core group becomes the Body of Christ in this place.
Witness to the new community will require a well-catechized congregation to speak the truth in love in their various vocations. In our skeptical society, knowledge of apologetics is becoming increasingly important. Creating an awareness of a new congregation coming into the community also will be important.
So, too, Mercy will be an important aspect of the life of the church and also an instrument of outreach. The church plant will need to understand their community, find ways to be a good neighbor and reach out to others through human care.