Kaw Prairie’s a Christ-first community church with biblically faithful Christian theology in the mainline Protestant tradition (Lutheran and Presbyterian strains, specifically), enlivened by the evangelical passion, strengthened by strong leadership development, and blessed by an apostolic Christian spirit of welcome and grace.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
This church body is an amalgam of three older Lutheran church bodies, and attempts to present the best of the original Protestant Reformation theology to a world that needs it so badly. Many Johnson County churches graciously supported Kaw Prairie in its early years (most particularly Atonement, Overland Park; Holy Cross, Overland Park; Advent Olathe; and Resurrection, Prairie Village) and two older ones were benefactors with their assets, helping advance our building project by many years.
Traditional Lutheran concepts important at Kaw Prairie include …
- the theology of the cross over a theology of glory
- the exclusivity of Christ for the salvation of humankind,
- the centrality of Scripture
- the foundational role of the family
- worship and Scripture in the language (and musical genre) of the people
- the priesthood of all believers
- a balance of Law & Gospel through which we view ethics and theology
- we’re simultaneously saints and sinners
- commitment to justice and stewardship of creation as part of living out the Gospel
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Kaw Prairie was also hugely blessed by a gift of land from the Heartland Presbytery, which offered us their 18-acres of interchange property at K7 Hwy & Prairie Star Parkway. The gift was made possible by a strong mission and ecumenical commitment from the Presbytery, and the original generosity of members of Village Presbyterian in Prairie Village. The Presbytery also blessed us with the right to negotiate a win-win real estate deal with a neighboring developer, which gained us extra egress from our property, free roads & stormwater construction and significant mission dollars for the Presbytery- as well as, eventually, a much more attractive and viable ‘neighborhood-commercial’ district for the City of Lenexa.
Presbyterian concepts important to Kaw Prairie include …
- the connectionalism of churches for accountability and mission impact
- the ordination of elders, not just pastors
- the value of decency and good order in the business of the church
- a clear articulation of the Six Great Ends of the Church:
- the shelter, nurture and spiritual fellowship of the children of God
- the maintenance of divine worship
- the preservation of the Truth
- the promotion of social righteousness, and
- the exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world!
Willow Creek Association
Kaw Prairie is also a member of the groundbreaking trans-denominational Willow Creek Association, which provides leadership training and resources for our church in many and various ways. Willow Creek Community Church was one of the very first churches in the nation to use contemporary worship to reach ‘seekers’ with the age-old truth of God in a new way.
Kaw Prairie’s excited to be partners with several effective ministries nearby & around the world:
Heartland Center is a Christian retreat center and summer camp facility near Parkville, MO that offers wonderful corporate, church, and large-group retreats and meeting space–and dynamic overnight camping for children & teens all summer long. Heartland Center has an incredible high ropes challenge course and zip-line for team-buildng and thrill-seeking (and coming quick to an adreneline-filled trust in Jesus!). Kaw Prairie does its larger overnight retreats at the Heartland Center and recommends it heartily!
Hollis Renewal Center is a more intimate Christian retreat center in rural Bonner Springs, KS that provides wonderful corporate, church, and family retreat and day-meeting space for fellowship, fun and spiritual renewal. Every summer Hollis sponsors a cross-cultural Vacation Bible School called Hollis Crossings, bringing together suburban kids, inner city kids, and immigrant children from all over the KC metro for a dynamic Christian environment.
Metropolitan Lutheran Ministries is a Kansas City-based social services ministry that served 58,000 people in 2008–using 90% of its income for direct help to needy residents of our metropolitan area. Kaw Prairiers participate in MLM’s Saturday morning inner-city grocery distributions, inner-city home repair work, and its well-administered free-to-needy-families Christmas Store giveaway, as well.
ReStart is an interfaith ministry with homeless persons, committed to providing shelter and support services to homeless men, women, youth, and families in downtown Kansas City. Their goal is helping persons and family overcome current obstacles with life-long skills and behaviors to move them toward independence and self-sufficiency. It’s not an easy neighborhood. Murders happen outside, and drugs are dealt nearby. But Kaw Prairie is proud to support a git-er-done ministry that changes lives materially–and for generations–with Jesus’ love! You should check it out!