Staff Ministry

Staff ministry gives men and women an opportunity to pursue full-time ministry in an area where their gifts can be best used to further God’s kingdom in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS). While pastors are trained for the broadest scope of ministry and for theological leadership, and teachers are trained in Christian classroom education, staff ministers receive basic theological training and practical skills to equip them to serve in other specific areas of parish and institutional ministry.

The specific responsibilities of a staff minister are defined by their call at the local congregation, but frequently they assist with evangelism programs, youth and family ministry, member care, music ministries, congregational administration, and/or multicultural ministries. Staff ministers have also been called to work in non-parish organizations such as pregnancy counseling centers, institutional ministry, synod and school administration, and The Lutheran Home.

2019 Staff Ministry Conference

Registration is now open for the 2019 Staff Ministry Conference, “Winds to the World”, April 25-27, 2019 at St. Matthew’s, Niles, Illinois.

Registration Deadlines:

  • Early bird – April 1
  • General registration – April 21

Questions? Contact Dan Kock (

Conference Downloads

General conference information and daily agenda  are available.
Learn more

Conference Information

Rev. Dr. Paul Steinberg

Rev. Dr. Paul Steinberg has experienced team ministry in many forms and with many degrees of success in his 21 years of ministry. He has served with staff ministers and staff ministry interns, vicars and semi-retired pastors and with 1, 2 or 3 other pastors. He has enjoyed not being the leader and being the leader of these teams. He has been blessed by his teams and frustrated by his teams but God worked through all of them. He served as the only called staff person at first assignment in Mauston and New Lisbon, Wisconsin and also served as the School Pastor at St. Marcus in Milwaukee leading the school ministry team and being the spiritual leader of 100+ school staff. Since 2016 he has served as the Executive Director of Chaplains in Schools in Milwaukee and leads a team of 11 during the school year which includes 2 WELS CAP graduates, 6 seminary interns, 1 semi-retired pastor and 1 staff minister. Paul’s favorite team ministry includes his wife, Rebecca, a St. Marcus Music teacher, and his 6 children ages 22-17. Visit to learn more about his ministry or to listen to his weekday podcast for parents, mentors and educators. He will share what he has observed as the “7 Team Ministry Must Haves” and lead you to examine your own ministry team and how you can be the best stewards of the gifts God has teamed you up with.

Rev. Donn Dobberstein

Since growing up in Lutheran parsonages in the Midwest, Pastor Donn Dobberstein served mission parishes in Topeka, KS and Port Orange, FL for twenty-two years. He served the church-at-large on the Nebraska District Mission Board and South Atlantic District Evangelism Commission. He chaired the WELS Commission on Evangelism from 2007-2017 during which time he presented at the WELS School of Outreach. In the fall of 2017, he accepted the call to serve as WELS Director of Discipleship which covers the areas of adult discipleship and youth and family ministry. He’s been married 25 years to Beth with whom they have four children: Caleb (22) married to Sara, Lydia (20), Aleah (18), and Levi (15).

Mr. Dave Malnes

For biography and information about Dave’s presentation please click to watch the video introduction below!


Rev. Paul Prange

Rev. Paul Prange serves as the WELS Administrator for Ministerial Education and for the Commission on Inter-Church Relations, as well as the Chairman of the Joint Mission Council. You might have met him when he served as a home missionary in Austin, TX; a world missionary on the Apache reservation; or as president of Michigan Lutheran Seminary. Presently he lives in Burlington, WI, where his wife teachers at St. John’s Lutheran Elementary School. They have three adult children.

Sarah Reik, LPC, BC-TMH
Licensed Professional Counselor

Sarah joined Christian Family Solutions in 2012. She received her BA in Psychology from Wisconsin Lutheran College and her MS in Counseling Psychology from UW-Madison. Prior to joining Christian Family Solutions, Sarah owned a private counseling practice, and she has almost 20 years of experience counseling individuals, couples and families. Sarah also gives educational presentations and is involved with the Member Assistance Program, which offers counseling for church members.

Recognizing and Dealing with Depression in Called Workers and Other Believers

This presentation gives an overview of the signs and causes of depression, and looks at the topic of depression from a uniquely Christian perspective. We discuss treatments options, and talk specifically about ways we are able to help a loved one who is struggling with depression. This presentation looks at factors specific to called workers



  • Team Ministry with Peers


  • Team Ministry with Synod
  • Team Ministry with Congregation
    • Practical Application
    • Debrief


  • Team Ministry with Yourself



Courtyard Chicago Glenview/Northbrook
1801 Milwaukee Ave.
Glenview, IL 60025

Group Rate: “WELS Staff Minister Conference” group rate is available by calling and reserving a room through the Hotel. Contact: Marriott Courtyard (847) 803-2500.



If you’d like a ride to/from the airport, contact Leonard Epple, 773-266-9186,


WELS Lutheran Schools and Ministerial Education provides resources for individuals, teachers, and schools nationwide. Consider supporting these ministries with your prayers and gifts.


Contact WELS Lutheran Schools and Ministerial Education for more information.

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