The Texas District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and a group of pastors interested in bringing Christ to the city begin to put forth ideas of a new outreach. Through prayer and strategic planning a vision was developed.
LINC (Lutheran Inter-city Network Coalition) was officially organized on April 21, 1997. The group begins the search for an Executive Director.
Rev. Mark Joeckel is hired as the first Executive Director of LINC-D/FW.
LINC begins outreach programs in Ft. Worth purchasing a church building on Circle Park Drive. A Latino outreach begins in Ft. Worth.
LINC begins outreach in East Dallas. A church building is used by LINC to reach hundreds of people. Mark Couser helps begin “Camp Hope”. Ministries to Latinos and African Americans in East Dallas are developed. Stacy Holton joins the team as Director of Christian Outreach Intern.
Rev. Andy Whaley is hired as the Director of LINC-Dallas, serving alongside Rev. Mark Joeckel.
LINC calls new Executive Director Rev. Oscar Benavides from Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Carrollton, TX.
John Seale is hired as the Office Manager to bring stability to the organization. LINC North Texas is incorporated as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.
Oscar and Jen Benavides begin teaching character and leadership to seventy students at a middle school in Carrollton. Soon after, LINC NT’s SALI program is launched. A multi-cultural church is planted in East Dallas. LINC NT celebrates and introduces a new vision at its first Gala (attended by 144 supporters).
The SALI program expands to eight schools in Carrollton and parenting groups begin. Colleen Hildebrandt is hired to lead the SALI program expansion. SALI launches in Haltom City, Ft. Worth, and East Dallas. Church Planter Beto Alzate is hired to disciple and train Latino leaders. LINC NT casts a vision to plant 17 new churches by 2017. (Colleen Hildebrandt and Stacy Holton go on maternity leave at the same time, and Oscar freaks out temporarily.)
A new ESL outreach is launched in Carrollton. New leaders emerge from parenting groups that start new Bible studies in Farmers Branch, Carrollton, and Ft. Worth. Antonia Alzate is hired to develop curriculum and lead classes for parents and discipleship.
LINC NT staff is certified to teach the Chalmers Faith and Finances curriculum. LINC NT launches outreach at the Estrada Apartments where Beto Alzate serves as chaplain.