Great Stuff — Speaking of Collars, There’s a New Church Plant in Town

The starting of a congregation in a new residential development, with a neighboring “mother church,” and district support is not new. That is pretty typical for LCMS mission starts, at least it used to be. What is “new” is that the promotional video is really high quality and does not insult the intelligence of the average layman. It explains all the rationale going on behind this mission plant, so that your layman donor knows that everything has been well-thought out with long-term planning. Furthermore, it reassures the donor (or congregation that might support it) that the daughter congregation is going to look and feel like the mother congregation; it won’t be something totally new in style, worship, etc.

I think that District President Brian Saunders and his crew did an excellent job on the planning for this mission start and on this video. I hope that it becomes a model in other districts for future mission plants.



Found on Scott Diekmann’s blog Stand Firm:


There’s a new church plant in town, at least if the town is North Liberty, Iowa. What’s it’s name? Agua’s Trough? Washington Knolls? The Back Street? No, try Saint Silas Lutheran Church. This new church plant, located just northwest of Iowa City, is being supported by Iowa District East. Pastor Andrew Richard, the Assistant Pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Chapel in Iowa City is planting the seed. As you might have guessed from the name, this is not a plant based on a seeker sensitive model, it’s a liturgical church with an emphasis on Law and Gospel. I’m sure they will appreciate your prayers as they endeavor to spread God’s Word in an area that sorely needs to hear it. If you’d like to help water that seed with a contribution, contact Rev. Dr. Dean F. Rothchild, Iowa District East LCMS, 1100 Blairs Ferry Road, Marion, IA 52302. Here’s the details:


About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at


Great Stuff — Speaking of Collars, There’s a New Church Plant in Town — 19 Comments

  1. It is really surprising that an LCMS District would
    go 20 years without planting or starting a new
    parish. Hopefully, Iowa East will not wait another
    20 years to start the next one. This helps to
    explain why the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
    is not growing in membership.

    As a native Iowan, I pray for the Lord’s blessings
    on St. Silas Lutheran Church in West Liberty.
    May the Word and Sacrament ministry produce
    a vibrant parish and a healthy outreach to the
    unchurched in this area. It is great to hear that
    this District is getting mission-minded.

  2. @Dave Likeness #1
    With respect, I believe that “mission-minded” is not necessarily limited to the planting of new churches. When you consider Iowa’s demographics, being “mission-minded” also includes the faithful continuation of Word and Sacrament ministry to existing congregations whose members have already borne the heat and burden of the day as well as to those congregations that are not so fortunate as to live in those rare areas of population growth in Iowa. I think that IDE has done well in those respects in recent years.

    But that is a minor quibble.

    I join you in your prayers for St. Silas in North Liberty. From what I know of the people involved, that church, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the support of the District, has a good chance of success in that community.

  3. Now that is the LCMS I remember from my youth. How refreshing to see an LCMS district focussing on Word and Sacrament ministry instead of starting another pop entertainment driven American Evangelical coffee house. How good it is to see a campus chapel serve as a mother congregation rather than having its house of worship sold out from under it like in the Minnesota South District.

    I pray that confessional Lutherans will be motivated to join together to support this mission congregation and other like it and that this may be a sign of the LCMS beginning to return to the timeless way of being the Church.

  4. “What’s it’s name? Agua’s Trough? Washington Knolls? The Back Street?”

    -Yeah but that’s the kind of churches my district keeps planting and then trying to sell to me as “Word and Sacrament Ministries”.

  5. Concerning the demographics of Iowa: Four of the
    six largest cities in Iowa are located in the Iowa East
    District. They are Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Waterloo,
    Iowa City. The new Mission congregation in North
    Liberty is situated between Cedar Rapids and Iowa
    City. This corridor is growing with new homes and
    families and is a fertile area for a new Lutheran parish.

    The Iowa East District has a tremendous opportunity
    for the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacrament to
    make an impact. God has promised that His Word will
    not return empty but will accomplish His purpose.

  6. It is great and refreshing to read of this type of church plant. I think we have seen enough of the Alley’s, Jefferson Hills, etc. I will pray for the success of St. Silas and IDE in starting more congregations like St. Silas.

  7. Also in support of IDE, several attempts were made in recent years to establish new congregations in smaller towns, and unfortunately they were not highly successful. In fact, one such plant was attempted more than 20 years ago only a few miles up the highway from this newest endeavor. God blesses according to his purpose.

  8. This is very gratifying to see. We have a particularly strange church plant in the Mid-South District that is essentially indistinguishable from a focus-group crafted, consumer-oriented non-denominational evangelical church. It took a far amount of investigation on this plant’s website to even learn that the place is “Lutheran.” So what a blessing that this new plant in Iowa is proudly liturgical and orthodox. May God bless this new church!

  9. @Jason #9
    The place in called The Point. The website is very slick and attractive, but it seems to really strive to avoid revealing that it is affiliated with the LCMS. I’m certain that the pastor has the best intentions, but I really wish that we would focus on planting sound, orthodox, confessional churches. If we don’t remain true to the pure Word and Sacraments, what’s the point of any of this?

  10. @Rich #7
    Glad to see that some districts are allowing Confessional congregations to be planted.

    It is no surprise to see rural churches struggle, regardless of denomination. Recent college grads are forced to move away from isolated small towns to the suburbs of small cities to find a job. Those who can leave – do. I am glad to see the LCMS become more aggressive with planting in the suburbs. In this case, it would be in suburban Iowa City.

    I still think that district offices are unnecessary pieces of real estate. They should be sold so the proceeds could be used to build campus religious centers. Let the district president become a part-time pastor and let him work out of a church office near his home.

  11. North Liberty and Coralville are (or have become) suburbs of Iowa City, IA. From 2000 to 2010, North Liberty was the second-fastest (149%) growing town in Iowa. Waukee, a suburb of Des Moines, was the fastest (169%) growing Iowa town.

    North Liberty had no LCMS church; Coralville has one LCMS Church; Iowa City has one LCMS church and a chapel at the University of Iowa.

    The XXXA has one church in North Liberty; and three churches in Iowa City.

  12. Jim Hamilton :
    @Jason #9
    The place in called The Point. The website is very slick and attractive, but it seems to really strive to avoid revealing that it is affiliated with the LCMS. I’m certain that the pastor has the best intentions, but I really wish that we would focus on planting sound, orthodox, confessional churches. If we don’t remain true to the pure Word and Sacraments, what’s the point of any of this?

    Once I found the website, it took me less than 15 seconds to find that they are an LCMS congregation. It is right on the site under “What We Believe”.

  13. The Point is a plant of Lakepoint in Arkansas. I would almost rather they not mention they are LCMS than to associate what they do as in some way Lutheran.

  14. @David Hartung #14
    Yes, and their practice of communion is openly “self-policed”, i.e., open. “If you believe it is the true body and blood of Jesus, come on up!” Without regard for what one confesses by their membership at a church of a different confession, or for instruction in the whole of the Faith, without regard for proper *pro-active* pastoral care.

  15. Regarding the Point, Mid-South elected a new DP. On Lutherquest he was praised for being confessional. (I think I also read Lakepoimte has been getting a district subsidy) So what does this mean? We need more St. Silas and no Lakepointe and Pointe.

  16. @David Hartung #14
    I don’t know what degree of intuition or experience in navigating these type of websites led you to the “What we believe” tab in 15 seconds, but after following you link, I went to the home page, and it took me well over 5 minutes of opening the various tabs and searching the sub-menus before I found my way back to the “What we believe” page, and that was without opening or reading many of the other pages I had to navegate past.

    That certainly would qualify it in my mind as being buried on the website. I doubt there are many “seekers” who would bother to navigate that deeply into the website upon the first or even second visit. I would say that Mr. Hamilton’s characterization is apt.

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