Planting Gospel Seeds

Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod congregations do not need to travel across an ocean to find a mission field. For many, prime ground for planting the Gospel is right outside the front door!

Planting Gospel Seeds while serving human needs

Many LCMS congregations have been impacted by population shifts that occurred during the latter part of the 20th century, but they are now ready to revitalize their mission and reach out to their neighbors.

The “Planting Gospel Seeds While Serving Human Needs” program helps congregations develop ways to enable their neighbors to break the cycles of poverty and struggle:

  • After-school care or youth mentorship
  • Food pantries and nutrition
  • Legal and resettlement assistance for immigrants
  • Job-retraining and job-related transportation assistance
  • Assistance with physical and mental health concerns
  • English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL)

By identifying the most critical, unmet and under-served needs in the community, congregations can plan ministries that build closer relationships with neighbors and help congregations become vital, growing churches, making new disciples for Christ!

Step 1: Demographics study

Who lives in the community?

Before a congregation can meet needs, it must know the “target audience.” Does the community have more older adults or families with young children? What are the ethnic backgrounds, education levels, and median incomes? Is the area projected to grow?

A demographic study provides a comprehensive statistical profile of each congregation’s surrounding community. This service is offered by LCMS districts or the Synod’s Office of National Mission.

Step 2: On-site consultation

What is the community all about?

The Synod’s Rev. Carlos Hernandez, director, Church and Community Engagement, will train pastors and church members to conduct door-to-door surveys to identify community needs.

Two-day workshops are also available to groups of churches with district participation. Rev. Hernandez offers follow-up support and, when possible, links your congregation with potential funding sources.

For more information, contact Rev. Carlos Hernandez, Director, Church and Community Engagement, or his assistant, Aaron Nielsen, at 888-843-5267.


If you are interested in learning more about the “Planting Gospel Seeds While Serving Human Needs” program, these documents may be helpful to you:

The Community Resident Interview (PDF)

The Community Agency Interview (PDF)



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