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Hope in the Heights

A new WELS church is starting in downtown Houston, Texas.

A core group of members in the Houston area began meeting together to plant a new mission in the Northwest quadrant of the city called the Heights. Located only minutes from downtown skyscrapers, this area is a thriving community with restaurants, boutiques, and well-kept homes built over a hundred years ago.

Rev. Andrew Nemmers was assigned out of the seminary in 2020 to be the pastor and the church was named Hope Lutheran Church. It was appropriate to adopt “Hope in the Heights” to launch efforts to spread God’s Word throughout the community. They have rented a spacious dance studio located in a business center that includes shops and restaurants. During the weekend, the area becomes a popular hangout and gathering spot.

Praise and Proclaim arrived in November of 2021 to help enhance the ongoing work at Hope in the Heights. The Lord has blessed the activity and there is a solid attendance of worshippers even during the worldwide pandemic. Our concentration was two-fold.  First, help members feel confident and comfortable to give reasons for the hope they have in Christ. Second, our goal was to help enhance their brand and digital network to spread the gospel message.

Integrating a change in philosophy

The evangelism campaign with Hope Lutheran will prove to be a benchmark for Praise and Proclaim.

The worldwide pandemic has brought fundamental change to our society and congregations will need to adapt their overall evangelism strategy to be more effective in spreading the Word. One of the biggest changes is incorporating a strong digital strategy along with incorporating a different type of invitation to hear God’s Word.

The societal shifts acerbated by social distancing measures from COVID-19 is resulting in less people attending church. Previous evangelism strategies have focuses heavily on inviting people to come to worship on Sunday morning to hear God’s Word. Congregations incorporated “friendship Sundays” to help members invite friends, neighbors, and family members to come to church. Embracing the societal shifts means congregations need to shift their invites for people to attend a Bible Information Class (BIC) to study with the pastor and get to know him. In this environment, unchurched people can feel comfortable to ask questions, and the pastor can introduce the church, worship styles and lovingly explain the practice of close communion.

Praise and Proclaim assists congregations to fully integrate this strategy by constructing a digital evangelism page. This becomes a tool for members to help people within their personal network to hear God’s Word. Within the evangelism page, a call-to-action is provided for people to learn more. By clicking a box, they will receive a series of emails that includes video snippets from a Bible information class that covers the basics of scriptural teachings. Once the email series concludes, a person will receive ongoing invitations to attend a Bible information class that could last from 12-15 weeks.

Hope in the Heights digital campaign included the following:

The emails linked above will be automatically delivered to anyone who completes the form on the evangelism page. Email #1 will be sent immediately, then emails 2-4 will be sent one week after each other.

This digital campaign will serve as a model and a prototype for evangelism outreach initiatives that will be launched in 2022.

WELS Mission Journeys

We are always thankful when a Mission Journeys team joins an outreach initiative. Six members from St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Oconomowoc, WI arrived to help further the work of spreading the gospel in Houston.

May the Lord continue to bless the gospel ministry at Hope in the Heights Lutheran Church.

The Details

Houston, TX

November 2021

The evangelism campaign with Hope Lutheran will prove to be a benchmark for Praise and Proclaim.

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