For several years the Lord put upon the hearts of a handful of pastors and lay leaders in the Montgomery and Grimes county areas to plant a Lutheran church in historic Montgomery, Texas. With regular encouragement and urging from Rev. Dan Schoessow, who was the pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Anderson, a formal group of representatives from surrounding congregations began meeting in early 2007. During the fall of that same year a location was identified and a Missionary Pastor/Church Planter was called. The site was the historic Old Baptist Church (built in 1903 and owned by the Historical Society) and the Pastor was Rev. David R. Bailes of Spring, Texas. Pastor Bailes was serving part-time at Living Word Lutheran Church in The Woodlands and accepted their call to go serve part-time in Montgomery.
Montgomery Lutheran Church had its first worship service on December 2, 2007. It was a momentous occasion as the building that had been without regular worship services bulged to capacity. By early 2008, worship attendance was averaging 45 each Sunday and there were regular meetings to get the church chartered as a recognized congregation of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS). Once again, the sanctuary was filled and resounded with joyful sounds on Easter morning of 2008. A choir, brass instrumentalists and our newly-arrived Organist, Judy Kutach, made sure that day would not soon be forgotten.
After Easter, the members and leadership worked tirelessly to move forward with the plans to charter the congregation. The name, Living Savior Lutheran Church, was adopted and the initial Church Council was formed, led by Richard Wiese, Sr. as President. Work continued in order to fulfill all the requirements to meet the goal of chartering by the end of 2008.
On November 2, 2008, Living Savior Lutheran Church celebrated and gave thanks to God for its establishment as a chartered LCMS congregation at the Montgomery Middle School. The surrounding/supporting congregations were invited to be a part of that special day.
Due to the growing needs of a congregation regularly having 85 people in worship each Sunday, Living Savior Lutheran Church added Rev. Dr. Al Franzmeier to the staff to serve part-time along with Pastor Bailes for a few months. In April 2009 Living Savior expanded the ministry that Pastor Bailes was serving to full-time. On November 8, 2009 Living Savior added a second Sunday morning worship service. This additional service came in God's perfect timing as several new families joined as members over the next several months.
Since the beginning of the mission and church plant of Living Savior in Montgomery, Pastor Bailes was serving with the Call he received through Living Word Lutheran Church, The Woodlands. After going through the regular Call Process, Living Savior Lutheran Church formally called Pastor Bailes in July 2010. He was installed on August 8, 2010 as the first Pastor called directly by Living Savior Lutheran Church.
In the early meetings of the new mission, three general goals were set:
1. Charter as a congregation.
2. Call first pastor.
3. Purchase property.
By the end of 2010 Living Savior had over 150 members and was averaging around 100 in worship each Sunday. It was time to find a new home. After extensive research and consideration of options in the area, Living Savior purchased the Bells of Montgomery property next door to the Old Baptist Church building. The property was originally owned by the Methodist Church, so it was also known as the Old Methodist Church (chapel built in 1908). July 3, 2011 was the last service in the Old Baptist Church building. At the end of the service, Pastor Bailes led the worshipers next door to the new church home. July 10th was the first service in the new building and dedication of the Sanctuary, including a new organ, took place on July 17th. The new facilities included an Annex (Sacristy and meeting space) attached to the Sanctuary, a two-story Family Life Center (Kitchen/Fellowship Hall and Offices downstairs and Sunday School Classrooms upstairs) and a Garage/Barn. Through generous and sacrificial giving, the Lord blessed the congregation with the ability to pay off the mortgage. On June 2, 2013 the members of Living Savior gave thanks to God while burning the mortgage.
Now that all three of the original organizational goals were met, it was time to add staff to help lead the internal and external ministries of the congregation. Administrative, janitorial and maintenance positions were created and filled as needed.
The congregation extended a call in August 2016 to Cheryl Bailes to serve as part-time Director of Christian Education, leading in the areas of Children’s Ministry, Youth and Evangelism.
In January 2021 the congregation was blessed with a new worship accompanist, Joshua Pillows, who comes to Living Savior with a classical, yet cutting-edge background in piano and organ.
In addition to the paid staff leadership, the growing congregation and the larger facilities have required numerous volunteer leaders to step up and serve in various roles. Each time there has been a need, the Lord has provided a person to lead.
Even before the original loan for the property was fully paid, a group met to begin looking at the long-term needs of the congregation, especially related to facilities. The Long-Range Planning Committee was formed in May 2012 and begin meeting regularly to do a site evaluation and develop a site plan. This committee quickly determined that the 1908 Sanctuary needed a full renovation. Worship moved to the Fellowship Hall in November 2018. The work on the Sanctuary began shortly after that. Nearly 10 months later the major renovation was finished and the “new” Sanctuary was dedicated on September 8, 2019. Although the original style and frame of the old building remained, it looked totally new inside and out. The work included replacing the steeple that had been destroyed about 100 years earlier, adding restrooms, a youth room, family room, AV room and a much larger Narthex (lobby). Also added on the west side of the campus were a large parking area and a new garage.
About 6 months after beginning worship in the newly-renovated Sanctuary, Covid-19 hit our area. Onsite worship was halted for the month of April, 2020, but started again in a restricted way in May. Even with the larger Sanctuary, a third service was added to accommodate social distancing. Thankfully, the Lord allowed us to continue in a growth pattern during that year and several months of altered schedules.
As we began to emerge out of the pandemic, the Long-Range Planning Committee started working together to develop plans for the next stage of site development. The next phase will include an expanded Fellowship/Recreation Hall, more offices and meeting areas, and classrooms to meet the needs of all ages in this growing congregation.
We are also seeking God's will about when and where to plant the next church in our county. With the influx of new people in the area, we know there is a need for us to help share the Gospel in places we cannot effectively reach from Montgomery.