Lutheran Church of Hope brings ministry to Ames

Mary Pautsch

A new ministry coming to Ames wants to invite believers and non-believers alike to come and be a part of their community.

Lutheran Church of Hope has been branching out of its first church, located in West Des Moines, for the past couple years. Now, the ministry is bringing its community and services to Ames on Sunday.

Danny Housholder, Ames campus minister, said that the Ames move has been in the making the last couple years.

In 2015, Lutheran Church of Hope noticed that students from Iowa State had been tuning into their online broadcasted sermons. Some had even been making the 45-minute trek to West Des Moines.

“More and more people were coming, and the church just ran out of space eventually,” said Housholder. “So campuses were made in other metro cities, Ankeny and such. The purpose then was to bring the church to the community.”

This community is not exclusive to members of the Lutheran faith, either. The church has a mission of making anyone and everyone feel welcome in participating in the campus ministry.

“Even if someone wants nothing to do with God, we want them to feel comfortable coming to us,” Housholder said. “Just talking about what Christianity is about, if that’s an interesting topic for you, we love to have those conversations with people.”

With a wide array of people coming to the church, Lutheran Church of Hope is offering different services for participants of all ages. Housholder himself is in charge of the church’s college ministry, Kairos.

Kairos is catered to the needs of university students of all religious backgrounds. The special service includes live music, an individualized sermon for young adults and provides food with a safe space to talk about faith and beliefs.

The Ames campus of the ministry had a soft opening last Sunday, and will officially launch on the 20th. The launch will have a full worship service, complete with professional musicians. Lutheran Church of Hope is going to live stream the sermon from West Des Moines, bringing together all campuses within central Iowa.

The campus also plans to speak about opportunities for people to get involved, no matter what age. One of the programs, called Alpha, is geared towards adults who may not know how to get started in the Lutheran faith.

“It lets these people get to know the reality of the faith, when they might ask, you know, ‘How is this real?'” said Housholder. “It can give some insight into those hard questions and answers.”

According to Housholder, this outreach to both believers and non-believers is an important aspect of the church. The church actively tries to reach out to the entire community of central Iowa, to show the love and inclusion that they preach.

“God is ready to welcome anyone, and we want people to know this,” he said.

Those who have been an active participant in Lutheran Church of Hope in the past are also able to experience some new benefits of having the ministry localized in Ames.

Participants can now get confirmed as members of the church. Confirmation is a religious ceremony that has members affirm their beliefs in the faith.

The campus is also starting a nursery for small children that gives parents a reliable place for childcare within the church. For older children aged 3 to 5th grade, there’s a separate program called HopeKids that serves as a space for younger ones to worship and learn.

“It’s more than just a gathering on the weekends,” said Housholder. “We’re more of a complete church. There’s a place for everyone.”

Services will be held every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. at the Ames City Auditorium. 

Kairos meets every Wednesday at 8 p.m. at the Ames City Auditorium.

Editor’s note: The original story stated the incorrect day for when Kairos meets and was updated on Aug. 16.