How do seminary students become interested in church planting? How do we identify students who might be church planters?

The answers to those questions may lie in a project piloted by the Texas District in cooperation with Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne. The district conducted church planting forums on each seminary campus this fall and will conduct a church planting laboratory for participants from each seminary in the Houston area in March.

Nearly 60 students participated in the forum in St. Louis and over 40 participated at Ft. Wayne. Following dinner, I conducted at interview/panel discussion of three of our outstanding pastors involved in various aspects of church planting in the Houston area: Rob Bailey, church-planting pastor of South Lake Church, a plant of Gloria Dei in Nassau Bay, Al Doering, pastor of a church-planting church—Christ the King in Kingwood, and Aaron Lytle, of Oikos, Houston, who is both a church planting pastor and whose church has planted three more congregations.

The panel members answered questions from me about church planting theology, strategy, financing, and more. They also spoke of how to manage the strain of planting a new church and fielded questions from the audience. The panelists represented the Texas District with distinction! In addition to introducing the church planting process, it is hoped that the forums create interest for the lab.

The lab to be held in March is designed to give participants contextual experience with the church planting process. They will be “farmed out” to spend a good portion of their time on the ground with a Houston-area planter over a Saturday and Sunday. Part of the time will also be spent in a plenary session where participants will be asked to begin to structure a planting plan, based on a given “case.” Houston-area planters will serve as guides and mentors in the planning process.

It is our hope that these events spark the church planting fire in some of our seminary students. Please pray for our efforts!

By Rev. Dr. Jon Braunersreuther
Mission and Ministry Facilitator, Area D