Our Story

We are a Christian congregation in Lee's Summit, Missouri.  We nurture Christian faith among families through Christ-centered worship and teaching God's Word.  We engage in mission by sharing the way of salvation through faith in Christ, and are involved in mercy work to help others.  We have ministries for children, youth, families, and adults. 

We are a member congregation of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, a conservative denomination (nearly two 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 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; 2) We are saved by faith alone in Jesus Christ who is the atoning sacrifice for 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--all we need to know about life in Christ is found in these sacred Scriptures.

History.  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 January 10, 1960 with 91 present. Services were held at Harris Park in the Lee's Summit Community Building until May 1960, when we moved to the Lee's Summit Elementary School gymnasium. Under the guidance of Pastor Carl Roschke, area ministers conducted services each Sunday during 1960. The congregation was officially organized on June 11, 1961, and 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 (where Home Depot is currently located) 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 June 17, 1962. In 1983, our present church was built on an eight-acre tract of land at the intersection of Chipman Road and Independence Ave. The dedication was held October 23, 1983. On August 8, 1993, St Matthew held the dedication for the shelter house behind the church. A steeple was placed on the church 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 100 students, and Sunday School for children.  In 2015 we added a Family Life Center, a 15,000 square foot expansion with gym, stage, kitchen, youth space, nursery, and meeting rooms.  In 2022 we added an Administrative Wing with offices for our staff, and additional space for meetings and volunteer workers.

Called Church Workers. The first Pastor called by St. Matthew was Rev. Walter Eifert. He served from April 1961 to February 26, 1967. Succeeding him was Rev. Earl Philipp from May 16, 1967 to October 13, 1974. Rev. George Schuster served from July 1977 to March 1978. Rev. Robert Wyssmann served from September 1978 until retiring in 1992. During his tenure the 8-acre tract of land was purchased at Independence and Chipman and the original church structure was completed. Membership grew from less than 100 to over 700 members.  We welcomed Vicars Paul Kaiser (1989) and Gregg Reiser (1990). Rev. 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. Rev. Robert Huelse, semi-retired from St. Paul's Independence, joined the staff in January 1999 as pastoral assistant. Rev. John Scharlemann served from May 2000 to January 2004. We welcomed Vicars Jeff Ernstmeyer (2001), Kurt Weber (2002) and Robb Holzrichter (2003). Rev. Craig Otto was called St. Matthew, installed August 29, 2004, and continues serving as Senior Pastor. He was previously Administrative Pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Perryville, Missouri.  Mark Engelhardt served as Director of Christian Education from 2006 until June 2012.  Rev. Andrew Kennell was called as our first Associate Pastor and served from February 2008 until June 2011.  Rev. Matthew Hardaway received his first call to serve as Pastor of Outreach and Family Ministry in 2012, and remained until August 2017.  In 2013 Rev. Luke Anderson received his first call to serve as Pastor of Youth and Christian Education, and remained until July 2016.  Rev. Steven Andrews, Jr. has served as Associate Pastor since November 2017.  Rev. Jon Nicolaus has served as pastoral assistant since 2016.  Deaconess Sarah Longmire began her service as Director of Family Life in June 2022.

St. Matthew is involved in serving our community. There are numerous opportunities for worship and Bible study. Fellowship and service groups for men, women and youth are active. There are opportunities to serve in music, outreach, care of the sanctuary, building, and caring for each other. We commend our days to Jesus, praying we live faithfully until He comes again.