Living Word began as a small group of 54 people, meeting in an orthodontist’s office, committed to upholding the inerrant, infallible word of God at its core. In fact, this was such an important value that the congregation was originally named “Word Alone”. After several weeks, it became clear that God brought these people together for a purpose and Living Word became an official independent Lutheran congregation and sought to call its first pastor.
The congregation grew, Pastor James Stalder became the spiritual leader and the members leaned in and became a body that was fueled by a passion to serve Christ and to serve one another. The group met in various places including the Westerville Senior Center, the Mason’s Lodge and several parks. It was affectionately referred to as the “church in a box” as each Sunday’s location was available to us for just a few hours each week.
Living Word was able to find a more permanent home in an office building on the south end of Westerville. This space allowed the congregation to offer multiple Sunday School classes to teach our vibrant and growing group of young people. The congregation continued to grow and was a haven for those who experienced churches falling away from the inerrancy of God’s word.
In 2005, God provided an abundance of blessings by leading us to our permanent property on Dustin Road in Galena. A quiet, country location was the perfect spot and allowed us to build our current facility.
Pastor Stalder retired in 2011 and Living Word entered into a transition phase. This period of time was a time of reflection and learning about who we were and where we wanted to grow. We were led by two interim pastors, Rev. Stu Schultz and Rev. Marc Schroeder and formally affiliated with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.
Living Word entered a new chapter when we called our second permanent pastor, Rev. Derrick Hurst. Pastor Hurst has brought a new energy and renewed focus on spreading the word of God wherever we live, work and play. And after 20 years, the Living Word congregation still holds firmly to the word of God as our anchor, confident that this is a gift from God as our guide and our foundation.