New church starts in the ELCA are often referred to as “mission congregations.” These ministries are in the start-up phase of their development, leading up to their eventual organization as congregations of the North Carolina Synod of the ELCA.  Several congregations have remained mission congregations as they serve and walk alongside unique populations such as with our native sister and brothers on the boundary in Cherokee.

South Durham Connections

Begun November 2018, South Durham Connections (SoDuCo) is a community committed to addressing all the ways that people are hungry: physically, spiritually, emotionally, relationally, and intellectually. This community’s signature ministry is the Parktown Food Hub (the Hub) and the Word & Sacrament community will be developed as the food ministry grows – The community is led by Pastor Sharon Schulze.


Christ’s Beloved

Community Christ’s Beloved Community began as a ministry of streets in 2015. The ministry has grown and now meets at a permanent home in South-Winston. Despite a building, the heart is still beating for those who experience systemic injustices, struggle with the realities of poverty, and live in a culture fear. CBC has the only bilingual food pantry in the city and provides distribution days three times a month. This community is fully bilingual – and bi-denomination both ELCA and Episcopal. The community meets for a community meal and worship each Sunday morning and has a Wednesday evening ministry called The Largest Table. This community is led by Pastor Chantal McKinney.



In May 2017, Emmaus began in West Charlotte led by Dr. Shanitria Cuthbertson. This ministry is a word & sacrament community deeply embedded in the West Charlotte community especially in the education system. This ministry is anchored in mentoring of African-American students, using arts for expression, and community cares events. Additionally, the community is engaging disciples in their faith through their Tuesday night bible study. They gather for worship each Sunday allowing gospel music, sacrament and powerful preaching to create space for the community to encounter the transformative love of Jesus Christ.


Living Waters Lutheran Mission

Begun in 1985, this community is on the Qualla Boundary and is an embodiment of the gospel with the people of the Eastern-band Cherokee tribe. The signature ministry of Living Waters is their food pantry and resource center. Serving nearly 40,000 individuals a year through its feeding ministries, it addresses the immediate need that all might be fed. Additionally, Living Waters serves as a place for job placement, education connection, seniors support and more. The community worships on Wednesdays and Sundays blending Cherokee culture including beginning each Sunday with a morning song to greet the day sung in Cherokee. This ministry is led by Pastor Jack Russell and Lisa Russell.


Arbol de Vida

Gathering in North Durham, this community is a Spanish-speaking gathering of believers anchored in Word & Sacrament. This community began in early 2017 and is made up of as many children as adults. The community is finding energy in their monthly women’s brunch and community cares events like backpack program. The community currently meets on Sundays inside the building of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Durham. The mission development is led by lay mission developer German Santana.


The Dwelling

Begun in February 2020, this ministry will walk alongside person experiencing homelessness with two main foci: spiritual care and showers. This ministry will be anchored in City with Dwellings, a non-profit serving the community experiencing homeless, providing The Dwelling with office space, Sunday morning worship space, and mid-week chapel/prayer space. Additionally, together with the Moravian church, we will be purchasing a mobile shower unit (6 showers) that will serve this community. The unit double the public shower access in downtown Winston-Salem. The ministry is led by lay mission developer Emily Norris.


In 2020—invest in missions

Who has 35,000 envelopes lying around with 2020 printed on them? We do! What should we do with them? Invite congregations to make a special one-time offering to invest in our mission congregations around the synod. If we get just one dollar in each envelope, that means $35,000 for life-changing ministries. Look for envelopes and bulletin inserts to arrive in your mailboxes next week, then join us by taking a special offering in February investing in our NC Synod mission developments. Questions? Contact Danielle Denise. 

2020 Promotional Videos

Why Covenant?

Covenanting to be a mission partner is powerful. It allows your congregation to see their giving extend beyond their walls and affirms that as a church we are better together. For our mission developments, planned and consistent giving allows them to dream God’s dream for their community knowing that funding will be available to implement programs, outreach efforts, and shared ministry where God is calling them. Generally, funding from the churchwide and synodical expressions pays salaries of our mission developers. Mission partner giving makes ministry happen, giving flight to the Spirit.

Ways to Partner

  • Prayer: We ask your commitment to lift up this community in prayer by name in worship.
  • Advocate & Storyteller: Appoint an advocate who will champion the story of this mission development. They commit to keep your congregation “in the know” about what is happening at the mission development and explore further ways to partner.
  • Financial Commitment: We ask your congregation to make a planned, consistent gift. Planned giving allows the mission development to plan ahead and dream for ministry. No gift is too small
  • —$50 can make an impact to a mission development. We have congregations that give $50 and ones that give $5,000. Additionally, consider using endowment gifts to support the congregation.
  • Shared Learnings & Experiences: Whether it’s a pulpit or music exchange or an educational event together, we encourage partners to engage in shared learning and experiences. Also, many of our mission developments have opportunities for congregations to serve together fostering deeper relationship and commitment to the ministry.