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Thrive! Equipping a Vibrant Church Together 4.30.19

Thrive! Equipping a Vibrant Church Together


Do you remember the last time our Synod started a new congregation? It has been many years – too many years! The major reason is arguably due to the fact that funding has not been available. The Thrive capital campaign seeks to rectify that situation by providing funds and other support to existing larger congregations willing to partner with the Synod in launching new satellite churches. This approach enables a new church to start with an existing, large support staff and structure rather than the generally ineffectual “solo pastor developer” model. It is a new way to Thrive, rather than merely survive, and to be “Stronger and Better Together: Joining Jesus in the Restoration of the World.


Today we hear from PAC member, Pastor Henry Zorn, sharing why he is excited about Thrive!

H Zorn

For decades in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America we have heard the cry of the proverbial canary in the coal mine, “The boats from Europe have stopped landing.” When the ELCA was founded in 1988, one of the stated objectives was that we would be a church comprised of ten percent membership of people of color within ten years. Sadly, today, two percent of our membership consists of people of color. We can, and we must do better at being an inviting and welcoming Church.

I am excited about the Thrive! campaign because, as a life-long Lutheran, it is exactly what I want to see happen in the Church that I love, which proclaims a theology of grace that is life-giving. I believe that God gives us diversity as a gift. I see that made manifest in the ministries of Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in suburban Cincinnati as we build relationships with the African American community, as well as through our immigrant and refugee ministry, in the work of justice for marginalized people, and through inter-faith relationships.

I am most excited about the Thrive! objective of launching new congregations and reaching new people. There are a number of indigenous communities in the Southern Ohio Synod and the demographers tell us that the number is going to grow. We need to reach those communities with the gospel and the gift of welcome that we know as Lutherans. We will be blessed by their unique expression of faith and culture, and they will be blessed by our gift of community.

The boats from Europe have stopped landing on our shores, but immigrants from all over the world continue to arrive in our synodical geography –– people who are looking to assimilate and begin a new life in our communities. When we welcome them, we welcome none other than Jesus himself. Let’s Thrive together!

Pastor Henry Zorn (Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, Cincinnati)


Thrive Campaign Goal #4 priorities are summarized below. To see videos about all five campaign goals and other details, click on the Thrive Quicklink located on the Synod’s website.


Goal 4: Launching New Congregations and Reaching New People

As a Synod, with local congregational partnership, launch two new congregation starts in the next three years.

  • Partner with larger congregations in launching new satellite congregations to reach new people
  • Includes the calling of a pastor developer and providing for the start-up of the satellites


“Stronger and Better Together: Joining Jesus in the Restoration of the World”
The Southern Ohio Synod vision leading us to Thrive!


The Coaching Cohort is helping pastors across our Synod improve their ministry skills. You may learn more about it by clicking here: Coaching Cohort.

Pastor Tim Muller has been an active participant in a Cohort. He is therefore personally benefiting from our synod’s vision and, as a result, sees how the vision is leading us to Thrive:

Coaching has been very beneficial for me. I appreciate the notes that Mike (Weaver) makes to which I then can refer. I'm am carrying the one page note from our last meeting in my calendar book for the direction and encouragement it brings when I re-read it. As a story, one particular coaching meeting stands out. I was talking through an administrative process about a major decision at my church, Ascension Lutheran on Morse Rd. It required a timeline. Mike had me get up and make a timeline from one end of his office to the other. At each step I thought through what meeting would need to follow the other, and how the timeline would be communicated to the congregation. Physically moving brought a greater clarity and also empowerment for the process. I very much treasure Mike's coaching. I know God has used this coaching to help me better use the gifts I have as pastor and to bless me in areas where I don't have strengths.

Pastor Tim Muller (Ascension, Columbus)



“For further information about the Thrive campaign, please contact Pastor Larry Donner, Thrive Campaign Manager, at”




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