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New Churches

Starting up? Starting over?

"Where two or more are gathered..."

Christ the King Lutheran Church
Waseca, Minnesota

photo of the front entrance to Christ the King Lutheran Church in Waseca, MN

Do well with what you have...

This series will begin with the story of Christ the King Lutheran Church in Waseca, Minnesota. The WordAlone staff wishes to express its most sincere and heartfelt gratitude to the folks at Christ the King for their most generous efforts in supplying us with a huge array of documentation with which we are now able to begin this series of "building" pages.

Christ the King is located adjacent to a beautiful lake in Waseca, Minnesota in what originally had been an insurance company building. The folks who put it all together put together a building committee who set about finding a suitable location. The original idea was to simply find a place to worship. Their first stop was an annex to the courthouse. This lasted for a short time in which the services were basically Bible studies. Their building committee found a couple of other locations each having pros and cons. What was finally settled upon was the aforementioned insurance building. A Minnesota church overlooking a lake...why not?

photo of the sanctuary at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Waseca, MN

Pews? Chairs work just fine!

After some negotiation, they were able to secure a lease that they felt was affordable. This opens the first chapter.

Christ the King Lutheran Church, Waseca, Minn.

Richard (Butch) Dufault and Greg Easton, president and vice-president, respectively, of Christ the King's council, are quick to advise all who would follow this path to gather your congregations and first agree on a statement of faith, the statement adopted at Christ the King is as follows and bear in mind there will likely be many such "statements" offered throughout this series. They are offered as examples that you may copy, or edit as your congregations deem necessary:

CHRIST THE KING LUTHERAN CHURCH OF WASECA
CONFESSION OF FAITH

Christ the King Lutheran Church of Waseca accepts without exception all the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments as a whole, and in all their parts, as the divinely inspired, revealed, and inerrant Word of God, and submits to this as the only infallible authority in all matters of faith and life.

We accept without reservation and declare adherence to the Symbolic books of the Lutheran Faith as the presentation and explanation of the pure doctrine of the Word of God and a summary of our faith as an Independent Lutheran Church. This congregation accepts, confesses and recognizes the following as normative for its theology: The ancient ecumenical Creeds: the Apostolic, the Nicene, and the Athanasian; The unaltered Augsburg Confession; The Book of Concord including the Apology of the Augsburg Confession; the Smalcald Articles; Luther’s Small and Large Catechisms; and the Formula of Concord.

photo of fellowship area at Christ the King LC

Coffee, green Jell-O, and fellowship by a lake...

Frequently Asked Questions
(gratefully received from Grace of God Evangelical Lutheran Church, An Independent Lutheran Congregation in Oakdale, Minnesota. Also includes their statement of beliefs.).

  • What does this church believe in?

    We believe in and share the same Christian faith as taught by Jesus Christ and the Apostles, and as expressed by Martin Luther and the other Lutheran church fathers. We hold Holy Scripture, both Old and New Testaments, as the inerrant and wholly inspired Word of God. We believe the Christian faith is accurately summarized in the historical Lutheran confessions, namely:

    • The Ecumenical Creeds; Apostle's, Nicene, and Athanasian
    • The Augsburg Confession
    • The Smalcald Articles
    • The Formula of Concord
    • Luther's Small and Large Catechisms
  • I know what I am when I say I'm an LCMS Lutheran, WELS Lutheran or ELCA Lutheran. What will I be if I join and independent Lutheran congregation?

    You will continue to be a Lutheran; the same as you have been! Be believe and adhere to the same doctrinal articles of faith that the Lutheran Church was founded upon; the Holy Scriptures as inerrant and wholly inspired by God and the Christian faith as demonstrated in the Lutheran articles of faith contained in the Book of Concord. The Lutheran doctrine was established in the mid to late 1500's, well before the modern-day synods were established. You will continue to be a Lutheran, who is a member of an independent congregation.

  • What if I have a child; what faith will they be baptized into or confirmed in?

    Children and adults will continue to be baptized into the Christian faith, just as Lutherans have always done. Our Lord instituted Holy Baptism as a Christian sacrament, not as a Lutheran ordinance. Baptism is any synod does not convey membership in the synod. And baptism outside of a synod does not in any way invalidate the baptism.

    Likewise, confirmands are taught in the Christian faith using Luther's Small Catechism as a brief summation of that faith. Confirmation classes of the LCMS, WELS, ELCA, and most other Lutheran congregations are taught using the same catechism. Confirmands will publicly confess their Christian faith, as has been Lutheran practice for ages.

  • Are there successful independent Lutheran churches?

    YES! And we are one of them! There are successful independent Lutheran congregations in every state of the country. In fact, there are many successful independent Lutheran congregations right here in Minnesota and the Metro area. The development of "synods" is a relatively recent (historically speaking) human institution or association. From the earliest days of Christianity, congregations were independent, sharing a faith with other congregations, but not having any formal association.

  • How would an independent congregation call a pastor when a vacancy occurs?

    We will begin the call process that most Lutheran congregations use. The qualifications of a pastor and the call process are defined in our by-laws. In an independent congregation, all names considered are nominated by the membership. In addition, we will not be limited to pastors from one particular synod. Strong pastors who hold firmly to Lutheran doctrine could be called regardless of synodical affiliation.

  • Could the congregation join a synod in the future?

    It will always be the prerogative of the congregation to join a synod or association if they so choose. The by-laws of the congregation hold this authority for the voting membership of the congregation, not to be exercised by any group or organization other than the congregation as a whole. The decision to join a synod would be an intentional process, involving prayer and examination to ensure the congregation and the synod truly share the same doctrine and beliefs.

  • Is the congregation going to build its own building?

    YES! The congregation has established both Capital and Property committees to handle the work of building. Identifying available properties, financing possibilities and location planning are items of high priority for our congregation. A building fund has been established and is growing monthly.

  • What We Believe
  • The Bible is the infallible source of knowledge about God and the Good News about His Son, Jesus Christ. We recognize that the Bible was written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and is without error.
  • That the two main messages of the Bible are Law and Gospel; the law showing us our sin and need for a Savior, and the Gospel revealing God's grace in Jesus Christ. We also believe that the Gospel must always predominate.
  • That God created the world in 6 days and that He sustains it with His mighty power. We believe that He created Adam and Eve, our first parents, in His own image to live in fellowship with Him.
  • That Adam and Eve rebelled against God and so brought sin and death into the world. We believe all people have inherited this sin and can do nothing to change their human nature. we believe that all people need forgiveness and new life that God provides for us freely by His grace.
  • That God send His Son to be our Savior from sin, death, and the power of the devil. We believe that Jesus Christ took on Himself the punishment for our sin when He died on the cross. God raised Him from the dead to demonstrate to the world that His sacrifice had been accepted and that humanity's sin had bee paid for.
  • That we receive forgiveness of sin through faith in Jesus Christ. Faith receives the free gift of God's grace.
  • That faith is created in the heart by the power of the Holy Spirit who works through the "means of grace." The means of grace are the Word of God and the sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion.
  • That Holy Baptism is the means by which the Spirit creates faith and through which God adopts us as children. We practice infant baptism because we believe they also are born in sin and that God's promise of forgiveness extends also to them.
  • That Holy Communion is the means by which the Spirit nurtures faith. We believe that the bread and wine of the Lord's Supper actually deliver to us the true Body and Blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of sin.
  • That the Church is the fellowship of all those who have come to faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. The purpose of the Church is to nurture faith through the Word and the Sacraments and to share the love of God through word and deed with the whole world in order to make other people disciples of Jesus Christ.
  • That Christ has given to His church the right and authority to preach the Gospel, administer the sacraments, and establish the office of the ministry, and that Christ alone has authority over His church.
  • That the fellowship God has established with believers on earth will continue forever and that after this life we will live forever with Him in Heaven for all eternity.

The secular side - paperwork

graphic of people with dollies hauling boxes of papers

It can be done with help...from above and here

Before going much further, it should be pointed out that "who" you have in your congregation, by way of skill sets, while not critical, is extremely important where it comes to "boots on the ground" or, rolling up your sleeves. Such skills as business management, accounting, carpenters, cabinet builders, plumbers, electricians, perhaps even a lawyer or two, will be of invaluable assistance as you work through the governmental and regulatory side of setting up a church. That said, let us begin.

The Confession of Faith (above) is actually the first piece of paperwork created and it straddles the secular side and the spiritual side. Here, it establishes "who we are" in the second document, "The Articles of Incorporation."

This church is established in Minnesota so all state-required documents are based on Minnesota law and regulation. Other states will likely have similar regulations but the names of the documents might be different.

Articles of Incorporation (Minnesota) (ours is available here in PDF format)
governing statutes: 317A and 315.

Required:

  • Name of organization
  • Slate of officers (names and addresses)
  • An address for church (address can be changed later for a fee)
    Note: Can be the home address of the president or other officer.

In Minnesota there are two ways to incorporate. (1) Under 317A with the Secretary of State and/or (2) under 315 with the local county. We did both!

Why? 317A or 315 Non-Profit Incorporation allows you to collect offerings that are legally tax-free. 315 appears easier but it is best to do both. 315 does not require annual recertification, while 317A requires annual recertification of state. So, 315 is an insurance policy in case the church fails to certify each year.

File the 317A with the Secretary of State's office in St. Paul (takes about 20 minutes) and the certificate will arrive at your address about 10 days later. When the certificate arrives check the Secretary of State's website to see if you are there. (http://da.sos.state.mn.us/minnesota/corp_inquiry-find.asp?:Norder_item_type_id=16).

Incorporation under MN Statute 315 - You must post "Intent to incorporate/vote on officers" for a period of at least 15 days in the place of worship. After that you may file your affidavit with the county courthouse. This duplicates the 317A filing but it is permanent!

young woman carrying load of paperwork

It may seem interminable...but it isn't

Federal Employee Identification Number (EIN)

File for online (www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=102767,00.html. Formal paperwork will arrive via U.S. Mail. NOTE: Call the IRS ((877) 829-5500) and ask for their follow-on "letter" establishing you as a 501(3)(c) - They will give it on a phone call. You will need this letter to get your Minnesota State Sales Tax Exemption #.

Minnesota-Revenue: Certificate of Exemption (Minnesota form ST3)

In Minnesota you may use this temporary document in lieu of the more permanent ST16 (next). Fill out and go shopping! Other states likely have a similar form and you may likely find them through Google or other search engines putting "(state abbreviation) Revenue forms" in the search criteria.

Minnesota-Revenue: Certificate of Exemption (permanent MN State tax-free number - MN Form ST16)

You may fill this form out online, print it out, add the required enclosures:

  • A copy of your signed Articles of incorporation or Constitution
  • A copy of your federal letter granting exemption from income tax along with the application you submitted to the IRS for federal income tax exemption (the federal government will provide this based on a phone call. After you have your EIN (Federal Employee Number), call the IRS @ 877-829-5500. Calling this number and requesting this letter will save you much time and effort!
  • And such others as may be indicated in your case listed on this form

CAVEAT This listing of forms is not to be construed as complete. There may be other forms your state, county, or local municipality (including Minnesota) require.

Back to the Spiritual Side - Calling a pastor

Christ the King has supplied us with digital copies of documents used in their call process. These documents range from the initial advertisement through the official Letter of Call.

Advertisement letter - WordAlone received and used to place ad in Clergy Connect. WordAlone Ministries' Clergy Connect supplied a total of 42 respondents, 26 of these were inside the 3 week allotted time frame. Of these, 5 interviews were held. Christ the Kings Council visited all of these interviewees in their home churches and considered that expense in both money and time to be well worth the effort.

Response letter to pastors inquiring about advertisement

Gentle letter of rejection - sent via email to candidates that did “not make the cut” for interview.

Interview Questions - This list of questions took over 15 hours of council time to develop. The interviews were for 90 minutes and Christ the King's council conducted 5 in 3 nights! Christ the King did not form a separate Call Committee. Rather, they reduced the council to 9 members and proceeded to become the de facto Call Committee...an added duty but well worth it. They claim it kept up the momentum.

Letter of Call - This PDF file is the actual (numbers removed) Letter of Call that Christ the King used to call their first pastor, Pr. Cary Larson.

Once more - THANKS!

The staff of WordAlone Ministries would like to, once again, extend their most sincere and heartfelt gratitude to the leadership of Christ the King Lutheran Church in Waseca, Minnesota. The in-depth conversations held, the time consumed in developing for sharing all of these materials and experiences are an invaluable resource that all faithful Lutheran Orthodox Christians may use in their own quest to raise up new edifices in which to worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.