In our daily lives as Christians it’s easy to feel less than enthusiastic about our mission. In Acts we read about an energized church where the Holy Spirit led the apostles in courageously proclaiming the good news of Jesus, “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (2:47). Today it can feel like that kind of ministry momentum was a thing of the past. But take a step back to see what God has been doing through us, our local churches, and WELS as we receive and share the message of Christ’s love in Word and sacraments!
Jesus still calls workers. He has blessed us with increased enrollment at our ministerial education schools, including students from various cultures who want to bring the gospel to their own people groups. Martin Luther College has embarked on a campaign, “Equipping Christian Witnesses,” to recruit and train even more students to meet the greater demand around the world for workers, biblical instruction, and evangelism. The college shares, “Never before in our synod’s history have so many people from so many countries approached our synod for instruction in the Word and for help in reaching the lost. Never before have we had the technology to teach the gospel in countless homes and many different countries. We need more trained pastors, teachers, and staff ministers to seize these new opportunities to impact the world with the Word.”
Jesus still grows his Church. When a man in Pakistan reached out to WELS for resources, we provided Bible studies that were distributed to 56,000 people. The communist government in Vietnam invited WELS to build a theological education center to train leaders of the Hmong Fellowship Church, which hopes to reach more than two million Hmong in the region. WELS has connected with 1.3 million people from every country in Latin America through social media and online training courses, and this has led to missionaries nurturing groups of people across various countries. In Africa, missionary John Holtz shares, “The need is so enormous right now that it staggers the mind and stirs the soul. The stream of requests for visits and teaching keeps flowing.” WELS is proclaiming Christ in 40 foreign countries and exploring opportunities in 14 new mission fields. In North America WELS opens new home missions every year. Eighteen of these are conducting cross-cultural ministry.
Jesus still strengthens congregations. WELS Congregational Services has produced programs that have been widely used in congregations across our synod for training members in evangelism (“C19”), stewardship (“10 for 10”), and retention of members (“Welcome Home”), to name just a few. (Visit welscongregationalservices.net to see all available resources.)
Jesus’ Church continues to advance powerfully just as it has done since the events described in Acts, and you and I are privileged to be part of the action (Matthew 28:19-20)!
If you’ve been feeling less than enthusiastic, immerse yourself in the gospel in Word and sacraments that remind of God’s promises kept and his victories won in Christ Jesus. Ask the all-powerful God, who loves you as his dear child, for his Spirit and confidence. As someone freed from the concerns of this life, give cheerfully so that “your plenty will supply [the Church’s] need” (2 Corinthians 8:14).
May the Lord continue to ENERGIZE us for his kingdom’s work in the coming year!
In our Savior’s service,
WELS Director of Christian Giving