The best training program you might not know about

Dear Christian Friend,

It is the best training program most WELS members don’t know about. The experience challenged me, changed me, and charged me for a ministry of reaching the lost with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I spent 12 months on the front lines of gospel outreach, learning at the side of a pastoral mentor known for excellence in shepherding an outreach-oriented congregation. This training program is called “Vicar in a Mission Setting.”

My year in the program prepared me for my call one year later to plant a new mission church in Sharpsburg, Ga. I had been given the tools, the training, and the time necessary to hit the ground running. The Vicar in a Mission Setting program proved to be a priceless experience. We shared the gospel, and the Holy Spirit did his work of gathering people into the kingdom of God. Today, God has built a congregation of 550 members through gospel outreach.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to give every WELS pastor an experience that fires him up for outreach and equips him to shepherd a church toward vibrant outreach ministry? What if we could take our well-trained pastoral candidates and have each one spend a year with a pastor and congregation hand-selected by our seminary for their excellence in outreach ministry?

Your gift toward the Vicar in a Mission Setting program can make this a reality. Let me tell you how it works. The seminary would like to pair vicars with supervising pastors and congregations that are especially focused on outreach. However, some of these outreach-focused congregations are new missions. While the pastor and the congregation are ideal candidates to train a vicar, the congregation cannot afford the entire $41,000 cost of supporting a vicar.

Your support of the Vicar in a Mission Setting program can help solve the problem. The program allows the seminary and the synod’s district presidents to select pastors and congregations to serve as the trainers for the next generation regardless of their congregation’s size or ability to financially support a vicar. The congregations receiving mission vicars contribute what they are able, and the program makes up the difference.

Currently about two-thirds of vicars are placed in home mission settings. Let’s increase the impact of this program for more vicars. In my opinion, this is the most important training program, dollar-for-dollar, that WELS operates.

The Vicar in a Mission Setting program did more to shape my ministry than any other part of my ministerial education training. It molded my ministry for the last 20 years. So when the opportunity came for me to serve as a supervising pastor, mentoring vicars in a mission, I was happy to do it. My congregation and I have helped train 14 more vicars whose ministries are impacting thousands of members in WELS and thousands more in outreach fields.

Be a part of the best program most WELS members don’t know about. Your gift can impact generations of ministry.

In him,
Pastor Jonathan E. Schroeder
Faith Lutheran, Sharpsburg, Georgia