Technology

The WELSTech Conference held in June was attended by 250 people and featured 100 workshop sessions, three keynotes, and an IGNITE session where conference participants shared how technology is helping them in their ministries. One group of attendees from the Milwaukee, Wis., area is now meeting quarterly to continue some of the “technology in ministry” conversations.

Did you know? WELS Mobile, available for Apple, Android, and Amazon users, has been installed on 20,000 devices. The WELS App lets users listen to or read daily devotions and Bible readings as well as access WELS news, videos, and radio stations.

Preparatory Schools

(MLS), Saginaw, Mich., and (LPS), Watertown, Wis., prepare high school students to attend Martin Luther College and serve as called workers. For the 2015–16 school year, Luther Preparatory School has 442 students and Michigan Lutheran Seminary has 221.

Both schools offer “Taste of Ministry” opportunities for students, which include shadowing called workers to learn more about their work. Students also are given firsthand gospel ministry experiences on campus and during mission trips.

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Students perform at Michigan Lutheran Seminary’s Christmas concert.

 

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A Luther Preparatory School student shares God’s love with a little lamb in Antigua during a summer mission trip.

Martin Luther College

Did you know?

The opening enrollment for the 2015–16 school year was 727 students on campus.

The mission of Martin Luther College (MLC), New Ulm, Minn., is to train a corps of Christian witnesses who are qualified to meet the ministry needs of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod and who are competent to proclaim the Word of God faithfully and in accord with the Lutheran Confessions in the Book of Concord.

To meet the current ministry needs of WELS, Martin Luther College

  • prepares men for pastoral training at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary;
  • prepares men and women for service as teachers and staff ministers in the synod’s churches, schools, and other institutions;
  • prepares men and women for other church ministries, both full and part time, responding to the needs of WELS;
  • prepares international students for ministry in partnership with WELS mission fields; and
  • provides programs of continuing education that meet the ministerial needs of WELS.
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During its World Mission Festival Service on Nov. 8, Martin Luther College rejoiced in God’s abundant blessings on WELS missions. The service was a great reminder that students and professors are part of a church that extends beyond the college and across the world. Students with ties to world missions participated in the service.

New academic programs

  • Special Education is a new major preparing MLC graduates for Minnesota state teacher licensure. MLC has already enrolled 18 students in the major.
  • In February 2015, the MLC Governing Board gave the necessary final approval for the new minor course of study in Urban Educational Ministry. MLC is now able to enhance its preparation of more students for service in urban settings.

Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary

 

So here I am. Outside the door with a box of books to bring into my office. I get to the door and realize that my key doesn’t work. So this is what being a pastor is like: my secretary needs to let me in on my first day. But then I heard it: “Good morning, Pastor.”

Whoa. Is she talking to me? She called me “Pastor.”

And it kept happening. It’s as if my first name has been replaced by a title. After all these years—I studied, and worked, and memorized, and sacrificed, and now, finally, I’m a pastor.

Then one day I overheard someone talking about me. They weren’t gossiping, and I don’t even remember what the conversation was about, but they said something I wasn’t ready for: “He’s my pastor.”

And it dawned on me. This is it. I didn’t want to be a pastor; I wanted to be their pastor.

Rev. John Raasch,

Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary class of 2014

 


 

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Since 2010, the Greater Africa Theological Studies Institute (GRATSI) has been jointly administered by the Lusaka Seminary and Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. This program is designed for pastors in the Lutheran Church of Central Africa who qualify to serve in leadership positions. In May 2015, the first ten participants of GRATSI received their diplomas. Also pictured is Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Professor Kenneth Cherney (front, right).

Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary may be a small seminary located in Mequon, Wis., but it is making a global impact.

Through its Pastoral Studies Institute, the seminary offers classes for non-traditional students—including men from different cultures and English-speaking second-career students. Since 2003, more than 30 men have received diplomas and are now serving across the United States and around the world.

The Pastoral Studies Institute also helps students from all over the world attend seminary classes in Mequon. Whether for a week, a month, or a school year, these students grow from spending time in the classroom with like-minded students. In addition, the traditional students are inspired by studying next to those who live in places where being a Christian can bring concerns for their safety.

Becoming a global seminary means not only serving those around the globe but also preparing traditional students to serve all people. Current seminary student Peter Janke embodies the school’s global awareness and spirit. In addition to Greek and Hebrew, Janke is learning Spanish and Mandarin. “I would like the ability to evangelize almost anyone in the world,” he says. “If I know English, Spanish, and Chinese well enough, I know that I can speak to more than half of the world. I could tell anyone about Jesus.”

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 our sister church in South Asia. 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.”