Domestic Mission congregation series: Atlanta, GA
Domestic Mission congregation series
Zion Ev. Lutheran Church, Lawrenceville (Atlanta), Georgia
Zion Ev. Lutheran Church is located in the Atlanta metropolitan area, about 20 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta. Since its beginning as a preaching station over 20 years ago, it has slowly grown into a small congregation. Zion has 54 members, but almost one-third of our members live more than three hours away from church.
While many Northern states offer multiple CLC congregations within their borders, Zion is only one of two CLC congregations in this region of the country, covering the states of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama. All of these states have CLC members living in them, who are served either by Holy Trinity in West Columbia, South Carolina or Zion, in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
Since its official organization as a congregation in 1998, Zion has also served a preaching station in central Tennessee with the prayer that it may become a congregation at some time in the future. Over the years we have served many members from other CLC congregations through this preaching station in Tennessee.
With so many of our members being scattered over this region, Zion has been looking into various ways to better serve these members at a distance. Last October, we began broadcasting our worship service to members at a distance via Skype, a web-based communication program that features live audio and video. Since that time, we have averaged an additional nine participants to our worship services, with a high of 23 participants during one of our midweek Advent services! In addition, these members can also be involved in Bible Class, not only by listening in, but even participating in the discussion.
It has been a joy to bring our services into the homes of our members at a distance who have not been able to participate in the past. But our joy has been furthered in another way as well. Occasionally, we come in contact with people in these same states who are not members of the CLC, but are looking for a confessional Lutheran church to attend. This past fall we came in contact with a man who lived near Nashville, Tennessee, about four hours from Zion (which is the closest CLC congregation). Being convinced that he needed to leave his current church home for doctrinal reasons he began participating in our services through Skype. After discussing the confession of the CLC with Pastor Mayhew he requested membership at Zion. He made a public confession of his faith before the members of Zion in December via a live video connection with Skype and was received into membership. Although he has never physically stepped foot in our church building, he participates in Bible Class and Worship almost every Sunday through Skype.
We thank the Lord for the salvation He has won for us, and for the privilege of bringing it to others here in the southern United States. We also thank the Lord for our CLC brethren who are assisting us in this work with their prayers and with their offerings. – Pastor Nathanael Mayhew