“Go.” It begins with that one word from our Savior as he sends us to carry out the mission he has given us. He wants us to go to our families, to our friends and co-workers, to our communities, and, in fact, to all the world.
But going is not enough. It’s what he gives us to take along when we go that is at the heart of that mission. He sends us to go with a message—a life-changing and soul-saving message—of a Savior who came to this world to rescue people from guilt, despair, and eternal death. “Go . . . and preach the gospel!” (Mark 16:15).
At our synod’s convention in 2021, delegates heard about an ambitious proposal to further the spread of the saving gospel. Pastor Mark Gabb, chairman of the WELS Board for Home Missions, outlined a plan to establish 100 new home missions and enhance 75 existing ministries in ten years. It was a breathtakingly ambitious idea, but it was one that the delegates of the convention endorsed without hesitation. Since that convention, the Board for Home Missions has been working to develop plans and strategies for accomplishing that goal—a goal that we know can only be reached with the blessing of our gracious God.
No doubt there are challenges to this effort. One challenge is workers. Due to smaller seminary classes and an increasing number of retirements, our synod is wrestling with a serious shortage of pastors. How do we answer the question of whether we have enough pastors to embark on this ambitious plan? First, we need to remember that our synod is already opening about six home missions annually. That means that this plan calls for only four more mission pastors each year. Second, the graduating classes at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary have been in the mid-20s in recent years, but in the coming years they will number in the 40s—enough to staff new missions and help reduce the number of pastoral vacancies. Finally, most importantly, we do as Jesus told us: We ask the Lord of the harvest to send more workers into his harvest field, and we make that request with the full confidence that God will hear and answer our prayers.
A second challenge is funding. It costs an average of $800,000 to $1,000,000 to plant and support a new mission until it can support itself. We thank God that in recent years God’s people have generously supported the work of the synod, enabling significant dollars to be earmarked for new mission openings. We are now beginning the push to provide additional funding for this effort. We are confident that as God places this amazing opportunity before us, God’s people will continue to respond with their prayers and generous offerings. Please consider a special gift to help bring the gospel to more people.
The 100 Missions in 10 Years effort is not about numbers and statistics. Rather, it is simply a concerted effort to boldly take the gospel to people in new locations throughout the country. And when the gospel is preached and proclaimed, the Holy Spirit works in his way and in his time to build his church.
WELS President Mark Schroeder
PS: Learn more about 100 Missions in 10 Years at wels.net/100in10. There you can meet Lauren and others who we’re reaching together as we “Go” and start home missions!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you have commissioned us to seek the lost and have powerfully equipped us with your gospel in Word and sacraments. You promise that you are able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine according to your power that is at work within us. Confident of these truths, our synod set a goal of starting 100 new home missions and enhancing 75 existing ministries over the next decade. We recognize this goal can be reached only by your grace. We humbly and boldly ask for your rich blessing upon this initiative. Bless the recruitment and training of our future missionaries and bless our missionaries and the fields where they serve. Through your people, please provide ample financial resources. Thwart the efforts of Satan and others who try to hinder our work. Grant wisdom, strength, perseverance, and joy to our synod’s leaders, our pastors, and our congregations as we face challenges. In all we do, move all of us to participate in spreading the gospel so that more may know your saving peace. Amen.