Living Word started when several families and individuals who were members of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) came to this area. The closest WELS congregation was Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran in Knoxville, and their pastor came here once/month, conducting in-home worship. As the group grew, we began to meet twice/month, renting a room in the Jonesborough Visitor's Center.
The group – at that time numbering about 20 – approached the WELS Board for Home Missions; the Board agreed to financially support a new mission in the Tri-Cities area.
Next question – where will we meet? We explored schools, hotels, etc., until the Johnson City Seventh-Day Adventists agreed to rent us a portion of their facility for worship and Sunday School. On March 21, 1993 we held our grand opening; seventy-two people came. Sunday School began several weeks later, and from then on we’ve held worship and Sunday School on a weekly basis.
Aggressively reaching out with the Word of God continued to bring steady results. We began to rent more of the 7th-Day Adventists’ building, and purchased a parsonage in which we held mid-week classes, meetings, etc.
In July of 2000 Living Word purchased 4.5 acres from White’s Foods for $350,000. Grading work began in fall of 2003. An extremely wet fall/winter delayed us, so the pad wasn’t poured until late spring, 2004. Work progressed steadily afterwards, and we were blessed with a contractor (Rick and Larry Sangid) who allowed us to do some work ourselves. Our congregation held workdays for about a year until the building was completed.
Today … and tomorrow!
Having started with such humble beginnings Living Word has now grown to more than 200 members. Ministry opportunities have continued to grow as well; we now offer a full slate of Sunday School opportunities, adult instruction classes, youth instruction classes, children’s and youth group activities, congregational fellowship activities, and more!
Little Lambs Preschool
We began our Mother’s Day Out program for 1-4 year-olds, better known as “Little Lambs Preschool." It currently meets Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9 am – 2 pm. Right now we are running at capacity but we are always looking for ways to add little souls to our growing student body. You can learn more about Little Lambs Preschool here.
It’s exciting! We are currently beginning plans on a dedicated sanctuary to be built on the south side of the current building. Living Word also daughtered a congregation – Living Promise Lutheran – in Morristown and anticipates starting more congregations in years to come. In short, a gracious God has blessed us richly in the past, and we’re fully convinced that He will continue to bless us in the future!
Come, grow with us!