Our Story

 

We are a growing congregation in Lee's Summit, Missouri, focused on nurturing the Christian faith among families and being actively engaged in mission--through sharing Christ and human care.  We have people of all ages, including active children's and youth ministries... all the way up to senior adult ministries and fellowship.  St. Matthew is a "church home" where we have peace with Jesus and serve side-by-side as His disciples.

Our History - We began as a mission church in Lee's Summit in 1959, singing by piano and committed to starting a Lutheran church in the area.  We are now more than 900 souls who are Bible-believing, active disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our sole purpose is to bring people into a growing relationship with Him.

We are a member congregation of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, a conservative denomination (2.4 million members worldwide) that stands firm on the teachings of God's Word, which teach us about our Risen Lord who gives us life and breath and purpose for all we do.  "Grace alone, faith alone, Scripture alone" is the Lutheran motto:  1) We are saved by God's grace alone because of His mercy and kindness; 2) We are saved by faith alone in Jesus Christ who is the atoning sacrifice for all our sinfulness--we are saved apart from our own works, so that no one can boast before God; 3) We base our faith on God's Word alone (the Old and New Testaments), apart from traditions, so that all we need to know about our life with God is found in these sacred Scriptures.

Our buildings, pastors, and mission - On November 15, 1959, members of the "Lutheran Mission Association" of Kansas City met with area Lutherans to start a new congregation in Lee's Summit. At subsequent meetings a "steering committee" was appointed and the name of St. Matthew Lutheran was chosen for the new assembly.

The first service was held on January 10, 1960 with 91 present. Services were held at Harris Park in the Lee's Summit Community Building until May 1960, when services were moved to Lee's Summit Elementary School gymnasium. Under the guidance of Pastor Carl Roschke, area ministers came to conduct services each Sunday during 1960. The congregation was officially organized on June 11, 1961, and was accepted as a member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod two days later at the district convention in St. Louis.

Buildings. In September 1960, a six-acre tract of land on Hamblen Road was purchased for the site of the church with loans from the Church Extension Fund. Ground breaking was March 4, 1962 and the cornerstone was laid on June 17, 1962. In 1983, our present church was built on an eight-acre tract of land located at Chipman Road and Independence. Dedication was held on October 23, 1983. On August 8, 1993, St Matthew held the dedication for the shelter house located on the church site. A beautiful steeple was placed on the church on May 15, 1994. The educational wing, built in 1996 with help from Laborers for Christ, added 7,000 additional square feet to the church building.  It is our primary place to hold Preschool during the week for 110 students, and Sunday School for children on the weekends.  Our most recent building project was a 15,000 sq. ft. expansion with a gym, stage, new kitchen, youth space, nursery, and classrooms.  This Fellowship Center was completed in late 2015.

Pastors. The first Pastor called by St. Matthew was Walter Eifert. He served from April 1961 to February 26, 1967. Succeeding his ministry was Pastor Earl Philipp from May 16, 1967 to October 13, 1974. Rev. George Schuster served from July 1977 to March 1978. Pastor Robert Wyssmann served from September 1978 retiring in 1992. During his tenure the 8-acre tract of land was purchased at Independence and Chipman and the original church structure located there was completed. Membership grew from less than 100 to over 700 members and we welcomed Vicars Paul Kaiser (1989) and Gregg Reiser (1990). Pastor Paul Preisinger served St. Matthew from January 1993 until May 1, 1999. During his ministry to St. Matthew, the current education wing was built and preschool started. Pastor Robert Huelse, semi-retired from St. Paul's Independence, joined the staff in January 1999 as pastoral assistant. Pastor John Scharlemann served from May 2000 to January 2004. We enjoyed the services of Vicars Jeff Ernstmeyer (2001), Kurt Weber (2002) and Robb Holzrichter (2003). Pastor Craig Otto was called to serve St. Matthew, was installed  August 29, 2004, and is still with us as Senior Pastor. He was previously Administrative Pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Perryville, Missouri.  Pastor Andrew Kennell joined the ministry team at St. Matthew in February of 2008 as the first Associate Pastor, and remained until June, 2011 when he accepted a call to Nebraska.  Pastor Matthew Hardaway recieved his first call to serve as Pastor of Outreach and Family Ministry in 2012, and he remains with us as Associate Pastor.  In 2013 Pastor Luke Anderson received his first call to serve as Pastor of Youth and Christian Education, and remained until July 2016 when he accepted a call to Wisconsin.  

Today. St. Matthew is a vibrant church, involved in the community and consisting of an active membership eager to connect the world with Jesus Christ. There are numerous opportunities for worship and Bible study throughout the week. Fellowship and service groups for men, women and youth are organized and active. There are opportunities to serve in the music program, outreach, care of the altar, building and grounds and caring for each other. St. Matthew members are faithfully living as the Body of Christ, and sharing the Gospel that brings salvation.

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