SEIZE and HOLD FAST the gospel and our great privilege

Dear Christian Friend,

Greetings in Jesus, the Light of the world!

Martin Luther once encouraged fellow German Christians not to take for granted the presence of the gospel of Jesus and the opportunity to share God’s good news of forgiveness of sins and eternal life:

Let us remember our former misery, and the darkness in which we dwelt. Germany, I am sure, has never before heard so much of God’s Word as it is hearing today . . . O my beloved Germans, buy while the market is at your door; gather in the harvest while there is sunshine and fair weather; make use of God’s grace and Word while it is there! For you should know that God’s Word and grace is like a passing shower of rain . . . Therefore, seize it and hold it fast, whoever can; for lazy hands are bound to have a lean year (Luther’s Works, Vol. 45, pp. 352,353).

By the gracious Spirit of Christ, today’s Christians seize and hold fast the gospel of salvation from sin through Jesus that is still impacting precious souls in our communities and around the world. God has put us in a great position for service to Jesus in his church and the world. As the Epiphany reading describes: “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn . . . the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come” (Isaiah 60:3,5). In other words, God gives us the opportunities and resources we need to bring his Word to more people.

It’s amazing what the Lord Jesus has recently done through our church body:

  • We are serving 40 countries around the globe and exploring outreach opportunities in 17 additional countries. In these countries, 39 missionaries partner with more than 400 national pastors to conduct outreach and train more than 380 students for service in Christ’s kingdom.
  • WELS Home Missions approved three new missions in 2020. Overall Home Missions assists 114 congregations across North America in various stages of development.
  • Enrollment is steady at our ministerial education schools with 1,433 students preparing for possible service as pastors, teachers, staff ministers, and missionaries.
  • WELS Congregational Services is guiding our congregations in conducting enthusiastic gospel ministry. Some of this year’s resources provide help with evangelism, youth ministry, worship, military support, family, marriage, and ministry during COVID-19.

I know that you seize and hold fast the great privilege we have received in knowing and sharing Christ. Even as we see the apparent decline of Christianity in America and the challenge that believers face around the world, it’s clear our window of opportunity for sharing Jesus is not closed. Thank you for praying that our heavenly Father will bless WELS ministry and for supporting gospel outreach through your offerings at church as well as your direct gifts to WELS. We thank God and you for your partnership! Please consider donating today to help support all that we will do together in this new year. I know you are as excited as I am to work while it is day (John 9:4) to proclaim the glory of our Savior throughout the earth.

Yours in Christ,
Rev. Kurt Lueneburg
Director, WELS Ministry of Christian Giving