Glendale Lutheran Church: New Hope through Community Engagement

August 30, 2018 / General Ministry

In mid-2017, when Pastor Scott Jonas took the call to Glendale Lutheran Church, he knew the congregation had been hurting. After nearly seven years of leadership change and transition, they were losing hope and vision for what God had for their church. Little did they know that the next year would be one of great revitalization.

In early 2018, Pastor Jonas gathered 30 of Glendale’s members to explore, with the help of Send Me St. Louis, how God has blessed them – what gifts, skills, and tools he has already provided them to reach their community. Of this experience, Pastor Jonas says, “It was really a tool for gratitude for all God has given our church. It was very energizing.” Through asset mapping, the theme of hospitality emerged, as well as a desire to see their space fully utilized. They prayerfully decided they would try to host some sort of event to gather the community on Glendale’s property. Unbeknownst to them, God was already working on the plan.

Crowd at the beginning of Jazzfest. NUmbers would reach 3,000!

Shortly after their asset mapping session, the church was contacted by the city of Glendale. Their space, which usually hosted the annual Jazz Festival, was under construction and they wondered if Glendale might be willing to host it on their property. The church couldn’t believe what they were hearing – clearly God had been with them, guiding them through their time of asset mapping! God had been preparing them for this, to feel equipped to say “yes!”

On Friday, May 25th, 3,000 people gathered at Glendale Lutheran Church for the city’s 19th annual Jazz Festival! To engage and welcome them, the church had a booth staffed by volunteers with a bubble machine, chalk, and glowsticks. The event was a huge success and the city is now talking about whether they might want to partner with Glendale again next year. What might be even more exciting, though, is that on Saturday, June 30th, Glendale hosted their own follow-up event, “Music on the Lawn,” and 100 people attended, with about half being non-church members from the community. That’s 50 people who may not have otherwise engaged with the church, and for a 2nd time!

With a renewed hope in the Lord and a clear vision of how they can serve their community, the congregation is feeling inspired to continue the momentum. Going forward, they are seeking ways to better engage with the local elementary school and cannot wait to see how the Lord directs their steps.

*All photos by Glendale Lutheran member, Grant Lee.

Glendale Lutheran Church
1365 N Sappington Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63122