In the northwest corner of the Las Vegas metropolitan area, Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church is a thriving mission congregation. A new worship facility is under construction and on track to be completed in June. Located right off Highway 215, the beautiful sanctuary will be prominently seen by people driving eastbound on the busy highway each day. It was a privilege for Praise and Proclaim Ministries to partner with Pastor Tom Unke and the faithful members to launch an outreach initiative from February 18-20.
Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church began in 2008 and have been gathering together for worship in a leased office space. Now with over one hundred and sixty members, the congregation is moving forward on a building project that will include space to start a preschool. The outreach initiative was designed to train members to confidently proclaim the gospel and to comfortably engage members from the community to share the Good News. In conjunction with the outreach initiative, the congregation welcomed a dozen members from the western region board of home mission for their annual meeting together which included participating in going out door-to-door with members to proclaim the gospel.
The Lord blessed the outreach initiative in many ways!
On Monday morning, a dozen members from Shepherd of the Hills and nearby Water of Life Lutheran Church braved the elements to boldly venture out to proclaim the gospel. Normally mild at this time of year, a cold front arrived on Sunday evening that brought unseasonably cool temperatures and high winds. On Tuesday afternoon, the mission board members partnered with members to go out into the community surrounding the location of the new church to plant seeds, invite people to Easter service, and introduce them to the congregation that is coming to their neighborhood.
The greatest blessing is the privilege and opportunity to be God’s messengers and plant seeds of the gospel. By stepping out in faith, the Lord provides open doors and divine appointments to plant seeds in fertile soil.
And the Lord provided us with opportunities in N.W. Las Vegas!
A two-person team came across an adult who welcomed their presence at the door and exclaimed, “You know, I haven’t been to church for awhile and have been meaning to. Where are you located?”
There is a growing population of Mormons in Las Vegas. An LDS church is located directly across the street from the rental space Shepherd of the Hills is using for worship. Members from LDS churches are much more likely to engage in a conversation than others. Christians can respond, “We belong to a church that teaches that we are already perfect in Christ. What about you?” Most Mormons will be curious to hear more about how the Bible teaches that righteousness is based entirely on Christ’s merit and not our own. One long-time LDS gentleman in Vegas received a gospel seed that was planted in his heart and mind.
The Lord typically provides Christians with opportunities specifically designed for them. One team included Liz who is fluent in Spanish. One nice lady answered the door who was not able to speak English. Instead of asking her eight-year-old daughter to be her interpreter, Liz boldly stepped forward to give the reason for the hope she has in Christ.
Another team talked with a gentleman who seemed very interested to know that there was a Lutheran church that was being built nearby and requested more information. About ten minutes later, the team was started to see a lady jogging down toward them. She was calling for their attention. A little unsettled at first, they were both pleased and relieved that the man’s wife had just come home and was very excited to hear about Shepherd of the Hills. She wanted to hear about the new church and expressed a desire to become involved. It was a blessing that a church prospect is willing to come running down the street to find out more information.
A couple came to the door with their dog and kids and it ended up being a wonderful discussion as the team shared the Good News. They moved to Las Vegas about 18 months ago and did not have a church home. The man is in the Air Force and believes in God, but says he is not religious. The woman appeared more religious and told them that she was reading the book of Esther in the Bible. At the end of the conversation, the man told them that deep down he wants to take some action but has some reservations. He wants to be sincere and not phony. The woman turned to him said, “Here is your chance!”
Towards the end of the afternoon, the sun ducked behind the nearby mountains and turned noticeably colder. The team said, “Two more houses and we will quit for the day.” It’s uncanny how the last house of the day can often turn into the best house. This team was not disappointed. The woman at the door expressed great interest about the new church and wanted to learn more. It ended up being a wonderful conversation. A member of the team commented afterwards, “Going door-to-door to proclaim the gospel is a lot like golfing. You can go out on the course and have a tough round where none of the shots are going your way. Then you hit one beautiful shot and it was all worth it. It makes you come back for more.”
The faithful members in Las Vegas along with the visiting mission board members went out and proclaimed the gospel to seventy-nine souls – many who were lost and in need of salvation through Christ alone.
May the Lord continue to bless the gospel ministry at Shepherd of the Hill Lutheran Church in Las Vegas and the construction of their new church home.