Small group ministry resonates with Millennials

“I started going to growth groups here, and that fueled my faith like never before,” says Jackie Huebner, a 29-year-old member of St. Marcus, Milwaukee, Wis. “Finding people who wanted to talk about Jesus was awesome as well as seeing firsthand how fellow Christians would filter their lives through what God says. And to dive deeper into his Word and become a closer community of Christians is such a powerful thing.” 

Rev. James Hein, a pastor at St. Marcus, says that Huebner is a good example of a Millennial—someone who was born from 1980–2000. “Millennials are looking for close relationships,” says Hein. “We try to ensure that small group ministries are an essential part of the St. Marcus culture. We currently have 12 to 15 small groups running, and virtually all of our leadership comes from and is involved in these small, relational study groups.” 

Hein himself prepares the material for most of these groups, often based off of the previous Sunday’s sermon. A lay facilitator then presents the material to the group and helps group members work through it. Usually these groups meet in members’ homes over a meal, but they can also meet in coffee shops or restaurants. The location is not as important as the relationships that are built as members get to know one another and share life experiences with each other. 

“I attended a growth group at a friend’s house soon after I joined St. Marcus,” says Huebner, “and now I lead one with my husband. We get the opportunity to have real conversations about faith and how to put it into action in our lives in a like-minded Christian community. I depend on it.”

To watch a series of videos that discuss ministering to Millennials, as well as discussion guides and a playbook with tips for ministering to Millennials, visit welscongregationalservices.net. Choose the “Modules” dropdown menu and then “Discipleship.”

Teens learn they are never alone

From June 26–29, 2018, approximately 2,100 WELS teens and youth leaders attended the WELS International Youth Rally at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. Organized by the WELS Commission on Discipleship, teens gathered for praise, learning, and fellowship under the theme “Never Alone.” This theme was based on the message of Matthew 28:20: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Attendees were assured that God is ever-present in their lives and that they are not isolated in their belief. Teens sang their praises with worship band Koiné and worked on a collaborative piece of artwork that was coordinated by WELS artist Jason Jaspersen (both pictured, left).