In January, Rev. Matthew Vogt accepted the call to serve as a mission counselor. He is replacing Rev. Peter Kruschel, who is retiring after serving in that position for almost 10 years.
Vogt previously served as pastor at Water of Life, Las Vegas, Nev. He also was chairman of the Arizona-California Mission District.
“He’s going to bring a fresh perspective to the mission counselor role since he’s been serving as a mission pastor and dealing with cross-cultural ministries right in his own backyard,” says Rev. Keith Free, administrator of WELS Home Missions. “He will have that practical understanding as he works with others in the mission fields.”
Kruschel has been a fixture in Home Missions, not only serving as a mission counselor but also as a mission pastor in Florida and as the associate administrator of Home Missions from 1988–2000. A special service of thanksgiving for his years of ministry will be held at Beautiful Savior, Las Vegas, on Feb. 19.
“We in Home Missions appreciate the dedicated approach Peter displayed as a mission counselor,” says Free. “His gifts, organizational skills, ministry experience, and passion for the lost will be missed.”
Four mission counselors—one of whom consults with churches on Hispanic outreach opportunities—work with the Board for Home Missions and district mission boards to develop “big picture” strategies to reach more people in the U.S. and Canada. “They’re the voice of the lost—the people who are unchurched or who don’t have faith in Jesus Christ—in that they keep the focus on reaching more people with the saving gospel message,” says Free.
The mission counselors also stay on top of current cultural trends, help district mission boards explore new opportunities, provide training and counsel for new missionaries, and work with mission congregations.
Rev. John Dorn says the counselors have been “indispensable” in his work as chairman of the Northern Wisconsin District Mission Board. “Not only working with the counselors on the board level but also having the privilege of working with them in establishing a congregation, I would have been lost without them,” says Dorn, who serves as pastor at Living Water, Oshkosh, Wis. “The counselors share ideas that have worked and not worked in other churches. The mission counselors bring experience in working with the Board for Home Missions and a special expertise in church planting. No price tag can be given to the time the counselors save our boards and the congregations.”
Learn more about WELS Missions at wels.net/missions.