Our Story

Who we are, where we come from, and where we're headed as a church family

Aboite is a LCMS Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It was 1988 when Pastor Richard Pagán, who at the time was the Pastor of a large urban church in Peoria, Illinois, was called as a missionary-at-large to start a church plant in the southwest suburbs of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Although Pastor and his wife Robyn are originally from the Bronx, New York, the Pagán family was familiar with Fort Wayne because Pastor Rich had attended seminary in Fort Wayne ten years earlier. 

Pastor Rich worked hard to recruit and assemble a team of church planters and seminarians to help him launch an exhaustive telephone campaign before the first service. He also visited thousands of houses door-to-door, asking people four simple questions:

  • What is the greatest need in this area?
  • Why do you think most of the people in this area do not attend church?
  • If you were looking for a church, what kinds of things would you look for?
  • Do you have any advice for me as a new pastor in the area?

During this preparatory time Pastor also began prayer jogging through the neighborhoods of Aboite. As he jogged he would pray for the church he was called to start, praying specifically for the people in the neighborhoods the church would reach.

During that time God laid the question on his heart repeatedly:

Is there a hell?

He could not understand the significance of the question. Finally one day he answered.

Yes, there is a hell.

With the utterance came the revelation that this church was to be a church for those on their way, literally, to hell.

Pastor used the answers gathered form his door-to-door work to formulate a strategy to target those not being reached by other churches.

If this new church was to be a “safety net” to reach those not currently being reached by other churches, it would have to meet their needs. This meant contemporary worship, relevant messages, an accepting community, and a different approach to financial stewardship.