WELS President Mark Schroeder addressed delegates with his report on Tuesday morning.
He began by summarizing the synod’s blessings and challenges. Of the blessings, he noted, “By his grace, God has helped us to remain focused on our mission to share the gospel with more and more people. Our world mission efforts have focused not only on strengthening the confessional stance of our partner churches and mission churches around the world. We have also been committed to looking for new opportunities to expand the reach of the gospel in places where we have not been. . . . By his grace, in our own country, we have embarked on an effort to plant 100 new home missions in ten years. . . . And, on a congregational level, we see a renewed commitment to finding ways to connect with communities and with people, all in an effort to share the gospel on a person-to-person basis with as many people as possible.”
He concluded his summary of challenges by highlighting the synod’s shortage of called workers and asking, “Could now be the time for us to commit ourselves to a concerted and wide-ranging synodwide effort to encourage more people to serve in the public ministry and to provide as much assistance as possible to make that choice more affordable? . . . Should we fervently ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers into his harvest field and then do all we can to be his instruments in bringing that about? I believe that the answer to those questions is, ‘Yes, now is the time.’ ”
In keeping with the convention theme “Embrace the Cross—Anticipate the Crown,” Schroeder used the seven churches described in Revelation to draw parallels for us today. “Embracing the cross and anticipating the crown, we do well to remember again the message of the book of Revelation: Yes, the world we live in has been terribly damaged by sin. Yes, Christians living in this sin-damaged world will experience the effects of sin in their own lives and in the culture around them. Yes, Christians will be persecuted and suffer for their faith. Yes, as long as this world stands, Satan will be attacking God’s people and God’s church. Yes, at times it will look to us like Satan and his forces are winning that war and that the church is losing it. But then comes the beautiful truth and the message of incredible comfort: Yes, all of that may be true now, but don’t be afraid, don’t be discouraged, don’t despair, don’t give up. Because Jesus is coming. And in the end, he wins. And so do we.”
Read the full report at welconvention.net/convention-resources.