It's hard for anyone to acknowledge their current operations aren't working. For churches, it can be especially painful.
But two Missouri Synod Lutheran churches in Shreveport decided they might be stronger together than continuing to operate alone. Our Savior on Bert Kouns and Redeemer on Shreveport-Barksdale have already been sharing a pastor for about a year, so combining programs, congregations and eventually buildings wasn't much of a leap, said the Rev. Perry Culver, pastor.
"What it came down to was with me preaching at both churches, and the talk of not having enough resources, we realized it doesn’t have to be this way," he said.
They'll be able to eliminate some duplication in committees and councils and some of those folks can put their energies to outreach and growth. Together, the churches would have a congregation of about 250.
The next step is to choose a name and develop a mission statement. Then they'll start thinking about property. The plan is to sell the current buildings and build new -- probably in Southeast Shreveport.
For now, the congregations will continue to worship separately, although Culver expects some church mixers and combining some programs. When one of the buildings is sold, they will combine worship.
It takes a lot of guts to make these moves, and I know it’s hard for founding members to abandon a building they poured so much life into. But Culver said he's got great reactions from members.
"Everyday I get calls about names," he said. "People want to get involved where maybe haven’t been involved in the past."