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How one church is strategically reaching the Nashville community with God’s love


In 2020, Our Savior Lutheran, a large church in suburban Nashville, Tenn., was busy with countless ongoing ministry efforts. They needed a strategic plan to settle on a clear path forward, so they worked with Lutheran Church Extension Fund’s (LCEF) Ministry Solutions to drill down and clarify their mission for the future. 

Visiting pastor, Rev. Dr. John Mehl, baptizes triplets Nash, Bennett, and Eleanor Werth. Their parents, Doug and Brittany Werth, and godparents, Chris and Monica Ritchie join them with their older brother Douglas.

The result? A 3-to-5-year strategic plan that focused on expanding their early childhood academy, earnestly reaching out to the homeless in Nashville and launching a satellite campus. 

Since that plan was put in place, said Rev. Lane Reuter, senior pastor at Our Savior, the church has called additional staff, including a Director of Family Life Ministry, a Director of Children’s Ministry and an Associate Pastor. 

Perfect timing, of course, since the church is also about to launch their second campus on Easter in 2024. 

“God has blessed us with an amazing congregation and staff that want to reach more people with the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ crucified and risen,” shared Reuter. “With our new site for ministry, our staff and resources will be deployed in both sites as a ‘one church in multiple locations’ model.” 

Our Savior is also hoping to partner with other Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) churches in the area, thankfully, all with the support of the LCMS Mid-South District. 

To prepare for the launch, the church is putting together what Reuter called “core teams” from Our Savior’s main campus “that will help propel the launch and will be developing strategies for especially reaching unchurched and de-churched people.” 

Matt Fischer, Our Savior's Director of Family Ministries, leads chapel for the Our Savior Lutheran Academy children.

Meanwhile, the church is also navigating a post-COVID landscape, which hasn’t been without challenges. 

Celia Walkowicz, Peyton Waltz and Sarah Wudtke serve a meal to parents at Our Savior’s ministry in Cambodia.

“During the pandemic, God blessed us with tremendous growth,” said Reuter. “Our giving and excitement actually rose. We started livestream services and enhanced our technology, so we could reach more people, even if they were unable to attend on-site. Post-pandemic, we had somewhat of a dip in attendance and giving as people started to get back into the swing of normalcy again. Currently, we are in the upswing again and have just recently started a Saturday night worship service that is specifically targeting those in our community that we have not reached before.” 

As for the school, Our Savior Lutheran Academy is at maximum enrollment with a long waiting list, and the church and academy have kept busy participating in community and global outreach. In this way, the expanded academy actually partners with the church in reaching out to the people of Nashville – one of the goals that they chose to focus on during their Ministry Clarity process in 2020. 

Reuter explained that they’ve been engaging with the community through food, clothing and toy drives for families in need; bringing food and care items to first responders; assisting with meal preparation and gift card drives for those affected by human trafficking; sponsoring schools and meal programs through the Trinity Hope Ministry, which blesses the children of Haiti; and partnering with Room in the Inn to host homeless people in the church over a weekend, providing a place to stay, dinner, breakfast, devotions, prayers and clothes to keep warm. 

Our Savior hosts a Parents’ Conference at its international ministry in Cambodia.

To top it all off, they are sponsoring a new church build and other Lutheran ministries in Cambodia, taking care of their neighbors outside of Nashville, even as they seek to deepen their roots in their community. 

“Pastor Eggebrecht and the whole team of LCEF have been very supportive throughout the ministry development, strategy and process,” said Reuter. “Pastor Eggebrecht assisted us in developing our 3-to-5-year ministry plan, and everything I have described is some of the fruit that it has helped develop through God’s grace.”