Below is the story of how we came from and grew until we were able to with Gods help build our own Church building, and became known as “THE CHURCH ON THE HILL”.
We invite you to join us in our mission to serve Christ in our community
Elko is located on Interstate 80 in northeastern Nevada. We are the only E.L.C.A. presence between Salt Lake City, Utah (233 miles) and Reno, Nevada (300 miles), Las Vegas, Nevada (435 miles) and Boise, Idaho (230 miles). We pride ourselves on our independence and enjoy the small town life and the wide open spaces.
In the early 1990's Elko was voted " The Best Small Town in America". However, prior to 1990 there was no E.L.C.A. presence. At that time, a small handful of families started meeting in homes. We started with no money, no budget, no pastor, no meeting place, and no financial help from anyone. All we had was faith in God's calling.
The Episcopal Church opened their arms and their doors to us, and we began meeting there on Sunday afternoons. We were able to have communion once a month with a visiting pastor from Reno. Eventually, we signed up for a seminary internship program. This enabled us to have weekly worship with communion, however these positions were short term. Knowing that if we were to grow, we needed our own full time pastor, we prayerfully called our Pastor in 1995. What a "leap of faith" this was, for our budget at that time was around $25,000. We called our first Pastor, Dick L. Wright. God continued to smile upon us and our little church grew.
Moving On in Faith
The Episcopal Church was very gracious to us, but again we felt that if we were to continue to grow we needed our own space. We took another" leap of faith" and rented space in a office park in the fall of 1999. This enabled us to operate a child care center and set our own times for worship, and brought us all of the other freedoms that came along with having our own space. We closed the child care after 2 years which was a big disappointment to the congregation. We just could not find enough children to make it feasible. But, God continues to smile on us. We had now grown and developed into a community with 216 members with an average attendance of 90 and a 2002 budget of $149,500. That previous year, in addition to scads of babies, we baptized 7 adults.
We then took another "leap of faith". We concluded that it would be a much better use of our money to be purchasing our own building instead of renting. We purchased a 7 acre parcel of land with high visibility on a busy road across from our new hospital. It is here that we have erected our own building. Mission Investment Fund of the E.L.C.A. lent us some of the money we need for the building, however we needed $250,000 more, and we needed to pay back as much of the loan that we could in 5 years when we would have to refinance.
The Building Project
We all know that a church is not a building but a group of people who gather together to worship and serve the Lord. But sometimes a church building becomes necessary to invite visitors, welcome guests and expand ministry outreach. At Faith Lutheran Church in Elko, Nevada, we have come to this point in our church life!
Anyone who has ever built a house can tell you how difficult it can be and how many decisions have to be made. With a church, it is tenfold. Do you build for the size you are now or what you hope to be in 5 or 10 years? If you build what you can afford now, will the economic conditions in the community 10 years from now still be able to sustain the payments? And you have to consider how many classrooms, how much fellowship space, the number of offices, a full kitchen space, and convenience for weddings along with the standard sanctuary, narthex and sacristy!
Building a new church was an exciting and scary process. As we moved forward, we thought of the reassuring words of one of our members, Gracie McLean, "None of this has ever looked like it would work on paper. Hiring a pastor, moving into our own place, it was all scary. We just had to take a leap of faith! And we do now! We couldn’t build our own church building. But God could, and He did!"
Our Pastor Dick Wright retired a few years after the church building was completed and after a call process were blessed with a new pastor Melissa Lundquist. She un-expectantly was taken back to our Lord in 2010 and we are now in the process of calling a new pastor. Assisting us in this process is interim Pastor Eric Dale.
The Call committee has been formed and is starting the final phases of calling a new pastor. Please keep us in your prayers
We welcome our new Pastor “Mark Dunbar” Yea!
Faith Lutheran Church—Elko NV
To Share—To Equip—To Reach Out
Growing in Faith / Knowing Jesus / Making Him known