Our Story
Located on Butler Hill Road less than a mile from Interstate 55, Abiding Savior is easy to find now but not back in the 1980’s. Back then, there were an estimated 30,000 unchurched souls living in the South County neighborhoods. This startling statistic led one man to pray. Ten years later God answered that prayer when in August of 1983, the Missouri District purchased the vacant Washington Public School building with the purpose of planting a mission church and eventually a school.
At that same time God was stirring the hearts of a few who lived in that area. Bud & Joan Jaudes recall visiting many churches but not finding the right fit. They phoned the Missouri District, found out the news of the mission plant, and knew God had led them to their future church home. To this day, the Jaudes’ state they are members of Abiding Savior by “Divine appointment!” It wasn’t difficult for Reverend Ed Lang to find others to help either. A small task force was initiated. This task force quickly set about to plan and implement the first worship service. Several months later, Abiding Savior Lutheran Church doors opened. The first service was held in the gymnasium of the old school building on November 27, 1983. Not quite a year later, the small task force had grown in size to 56 enthusiastic charter members. A charter was signed and Abiding Savior Lutheran Church officially began its mission. The original task force members included: Fred Schmidt, Betsy & Mike Lukens, Elmer Das, Bill Maas, Everett Heggemeier, Bud & Joan Jaudes, George Muehlenhoff (on loan from Christ Memorial) and a field worker from the seminary, Earl Pierce.
Their mission of sharing the gospel was contagious. Plans extended to opening a school. In the fall of 1984, Washington Lutheran School began classes for  an elementary school K-8 and early childhood program. The first principal was Joe Bordeaux (1984-1991). His wife, Betty Bordeaux was the first Early Childhood Director (1984-2002). With the church and school growing, the ministry called their first pastor. Rev. Perry Kopatz, was installed on January 7, 1985, to shepherd this mission plant. Abiding Savior was received as a member of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod on June 27th. Within two years, what God himself had originally ordained, had grown with much enthusiasm in those South County neighborhoods. The growth didn’t stop there! In 1992, God provided an opportunity for Abiding Savior to purchase a vacant baptist church lot off Butler Hill Road. This was an immediate factor in growth and the preschool moved to the basement of the new church location. Rev. Jim Kirk was serving as the Senior Pastor at this time. The blessings continued with an additional purchase of 5.5 acres adjacent to the property. Abiding Savior now had space to grow and build. By the year 2000, Abiding Savior had reached an average worship attendance in the 400’s and were worshiping in the new location.
Conversations eagerly began to focus on moving the school to the new property. However, the school could not afford to move forward and so the church assembly approved a $1.5 million building plan during Holy Week of 2000. That fall, construction began of the Worship & Family Life Center, directed by Bob Mentzel, who served as Project Manager. This new multipurpose facility would serve as both a sanctuary and a gymnasium. A year later, the congregation dedicated the Worship & Family Life Center on December 16, 2001. Then, in July of 2003, construction continued but this time for a christian educational wing. The hope was to sell the old Washington Lutheran School building which was becoming too costly to maintain. A year later that dream (2004) was realized when Washington Lutheran School became Abiding Savior Lutheran School and both the church and school were located on the same property. When the doors opened for classes that fall of the 2004/2005 school year, Abiding Savior Lutheran School had a full kindergarten class of 18 boys and girls, an elementary K-8 student body of 143, and a thriving Early Childhood Ministry of 106 students. What started as a mission planted church had become a large LCMS church and school. Though their mission was simply to spread the gospel, it drove their efforts to “To Know Christ To Make Him Known.” (Abiding Saviors mission statement)
Since that time and like any church, Abiding Savior has had its growing pains. That will certainly happen when you are a collection of imperfect people who are in desperate need of a Savior! In January of 2010, Reverend David McBurney was installed as Lead Pastor. He continues to serve as our only shepherd today. The congregation continues to worship an average of 400 a week. In 2016 a discipleship emphasis was adopted KNOW – GROW – GO. This statement directs all efforts at the church to KNOW (love and serve God), GROW (love and serve others), and GO (make disciples and serve the world). Abiding Savior has four worship opportunities a week; three on Sunday morning (both traditional and blended with some contemporary elements) and one on Wednesday night. If you noticed the time for Wednesday night’s service beginning at 6:42pm, that’s not a typo! That time, picked by Pastor David McBurney, came from Mark 6:42 which says, “And they all ate and were satisfied.” That is Abiding Saviors prayer for all who visit! Even though Abiding Savior is a relatively young church, those who visit will find a friendly church family who like to be engaged. Imperfect Christians who enjoy digging into the Bible together through study. Opportunities to serve together like easy outreach challenges from our pastor, to one day mission trips in St. Louis, or other mission trips beyond our state borders. Abiding Savior Lutheran church opens its doors to hungry souls thirsting to KNOW – GROW – GO for their Lord, and Savior, Jesus Christ. And, just like the very first worship service which began in a gym, our new facility still echoes the past. The enormous cross at the front of this multipurpose room (church/gym) provides a silent testimony for all that happens in the heart of Abiding Savior.