Jesus’ powerful invitation

Dear Christian Friend,

Happy New Year in Jesus!

It’s customary to use the turn of the year to celebrate the Lord’s blessings in the past calendar year and look to our Savior for his favor in the next year. Each January WELS does the same through WELS Connection, the “Your gifts, God’s blessings” annual report, and by sending a letter like this one with the opportunity to support Christ’s gospel ministry. You are welcome to do that, but I want to focus on something even more impactful: our Lord’s invitation to ask him to send workers into his harvest field.

Jesus—who came to seek and to save lost sinners—told his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:37,38).

Let’s take our Lord at his word and boldly ask that his gracious will be done. We think of our called worker shortage—the many congregations with pastor, teacher, and principal vacancies and the many souls at home and abroad who need to hear about Christ’s love. Let us ask Jesus to help us encourage women and men—young and old—to consider serving as ministers of the gospel. Our ministerial education schools have aging campuses requiring costly capital projects. Let us ask our Savior to move us to support capital improvements. Our synod has just begun an effort to open 100 new home missions in ten years and we are expanding our world mission efforts. Let us ask our Lord to bless our gospel outreach. And let us pray that God blesses our work to equip members for Christian living—evangelism, discipleship, stewardship, etc.

While we are at it, let’s pray that every member of our church body is enabled by the Holy Spirit to eagerly worship each week, study the Bible daily, give generously, and boldly witness Christ to everyone they meet. May the Lord open the eyes of our nation’s citizens to his saving love in Christ. May he protect and support the small minorities of Christians in countries around the world so that more people know him through their testimony.

Does it seem like we’re asking too much? Know that Jesus is already answering our prayers and doing his incredible work through us. He’s built a theological education center in Vietnam and grown the Hmong Fellowship Church from 55,000 to 145,000 members. He has prospered the online ministry of Academia Cristo to reach millions of precious souls across every country in Latin America; a synod has now started on the continent, and they have a goal of starting 1,000 gospel groups by 2028. He has increased enrollment in our Lutheran schools with more non-member families looking to us to provide a quality, Christ-based education for their children.

As we work together in 2024 let us ask our faithful Lord to hear our prayers for the salvation of souls and to ask him to use us according to his gracious will to support those efforts. If you’d like to join us in thanking him for his amazing love by offering a gift to support WELS Mission and Ministry, which is all the work we will do together as a synod this year and beyond, you can do that by clicking the button below. Thank you.

Yours in Christ,
Kurt Lueneburg
WELS Director of Christian Giving

Prayer: We praise you, our gracious God, that 2023 was another year filled with your wonderful blessings for our synod’s work of sharing Christ’s love with others. We thank you for the dedication of a theological education center for the Hmong Fellowship Church in Vietnam, for the successful launch of WELS Home Missions’ 100 Missions in 10 Years effort, and for declaring fellowship with the Obadiah Lutheran Synod in Uganda and affirming fellowship with Iglesia Cristo WELS Internacional. We ask your Holy Spirit to guide and prosper our work for you in this new year. Amen.