Worker for the harvest field

An important part of World Mission work is to train workers from within a culture to carry out gospel ministry among their people. “They know the people. They know the language. God makes them ready for the challenge,” says Rev. Larry Schlomer, administrator of WELS World Missions.

In 2015, many new pastors from Europe, Asia, and Africa joined the more than 174 national pastors serving in fields around the world.

In March, nine men graduated from Christ the King Lutheran Seminary in Nigeria. Graduates are now serving congregations of Christ the King Lutheran Church and All Saints Lutheran Church of Nigeria.

In May, Peter Bur, a South Sudanese man who immigrated to the United States, graduated from the Pastoral Studies Institute of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. He was ordained and installed as the coordinator of South Sudanese ministry at his home congregation of Good Shepherd, Omaha, Neb. (pictured with his wife, Martha). Bur is coordinating the pastoral training of South Sudanese leaders in North America and also in refugee camps in Africa.

In September, 12 men graduated from the seminary program of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Ministries (CELM) in India. Forty-five national pastors serve 5,500 souls in 120 congregations.

“Every seminary graduation in these places is an answer to the prayer Jesus asked us to pray, ‘Lord, send out workers into your harvest field,’ ” says Schlomer.

Campus ministry

Beautiful Savior, College Station, Tex., has an active campus ministry that is supported by WELS Home Missions. Each year Beautiful Savior is assigned a vicar from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary whose duties include spending time with the college students who attend Beautiful Savior and who participate in its campus ministry activities. As the vicar shares God’s Word, it helps strengthens the faith of the students and can lead to outreach opportunities as he spends time with students’ roommates and friends.

Korean Fellowship Lutheran, Las Vegas, Nev.

Pictured are five children who were baptized during a Korean Fellowship Lutheran service. An outreach arm of Water of Life, Las Vegas, Korean Fellowship Lutheran joined WELS in 2014 and is currently receiving funding from WELS Home Missions. The congregation has conducted a series of aggressive outreach ministries to the Korean community of Las Vegas. Blessed with an active group of lay leaders, these outreach ministries are largely education oriented. A Saturday cultural school uses all available building space with an enrollment of around 90 students. The congregation offers summer school, and school tutoring takes place throughout the school year. Two English-as-a-second-language classes are taught each week by members of Water of Life. Weekly youth and adult services are also held. The adult service is followed by a fellowship meal attended by more than 100 each Sunday.

Peace, Gilbert, Ariz.

Two years into full-time ministry in south Gilbert, God has blessed Peace with a growing membership and a healthy prospect list. Door to door outreach efforts were enhanced in March as a Faith in Action team from Martin Luther College helped Peace advertise its Easter service and also assisted in the completion of many canvass surveys. Easter service attendance was 119, with the boost in numbers coming almost entirely from neighborhood prospects. Follow-up has been intensive, with one Easter visitor baptized in May (pictured). Also in May, six adults and two teens were confirmed. The congregation remains strongly committed to personal spiritual growth and to outreach to the unchurched.

Holy Word, Austin/Pflugerville, Tex.

Holy Word is a with locations in Austin and Pflugerville, Tex. Rev. Daron Lindemann, pastor at Holy Word, explains his congregation’s ministry by comparing it to a single-site congregations that offers two services. The congregation is still one church but two services reach more people than one service.

As Lindemann notes, in a multi-site ministry, it’s still one church offering two services, but now the two services are each reaching out to two different communities. More than 20 WELS congregations have already adopted this approach and started a second site for a new service or a new ministry program. The second site remains part of the original congregation. The multi-site approach allows a congregation’s culture, structure, staff, budget, reputation, and communication system to expand naturally to a new site. It also allows the new site a jump-start, connected to these resources without needing to develop them from scratch.

“Why all this trouble? To reach more people who need Jesus with more gospel ministry.”