Praise & Worship was founded by Pastor Dar Karsten in July of 2007. A mission group, consisting of a team from Faith Lutheran Church in Branson, gathered at the Bart Rocket theater in Branson.
Key to the vision of this group: serve the un-churched and de-churched people in the Branson and Tri-Lakes area.
Later moving to the Golden Corral theater where people would see the “praise and worship service” sign, this core group continued to grow. Soon, additional “house church” gatherings sprang up and a congregation began to form, taking on the name: “Praise and Worship Ministries”.
As the group grew, so did the vision: Real Church, Deeper Discipleship and Mission & Outreach, leading to planting more churches!
By late 2013, this Christ-Centered, Disciple-Making Community incorporated in the State of Missouri and completed the chartering process to become a congregation with the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. After completing a move to the Lindwedel Winery it became official on December 15, 2013: Praise and Worship Lutheran Church was born!
A key question was on the table: how could the congregation build upon the work of Pastor Dar, who in the midst of retirement, was on a part-time status? He began reaching out into various groups looking for a like-minded worker to join the team!
On June 28, 2015, Mark Hunsaker was installed as Pastor of Praise & Worship, seeking to partner with this team of Jesus followers who desire for more and more people to receive the gifts of Jesus, which is to say: make more disciples!
Since 2015, Praise & Worship has doubled in size. Launching our Youth Discipleship group that same year, we have had the joy of baptizing and confirming both kids and adults! No longer quite fitting at Lindwedel Winery, the need for a larger space for the congregation in which to gather arose even as the Winery itself was growing and needed more use of the worship space for wine-making tasks.
Therefore, during the summer of 2019, Praise & Worship, in partnership with the Missouri District of the LCMS, is in the process of preparing to build a new Home Base for our ministry. Always remembering that “the church” is the people, this will be a new facility where we will Gather to Grow in Christ, and then be SENT out to Encourage and Share with others what Jesus has freely given to us! As the Lord wills it, we will complete our new building on Highway 76 across from Branson West Marine and Powersports in late 2019.
Praise & Worship will continue to be a Christ-focused body of believers; making disciples and sharing the Good News of Jesus with all of southwest Missouri and beyond. As part of His family, we will continually reach out to the lost. We will warmly invite all to belong and help everyone learn His story. We will strive to share the experience of His love and power and embody His promises in every aspect of our daily lives.