Break Out Sessions

You will have the opportunity to attend 6 of the 12 break-out sessions listed below! Note that three of the speakers* have more than one presentation. Please include a 7th break-out on your registration form as an alternate.

  • Jenna Keller, Kayla Priebe, Delaney Leffel  »  Living Christian on a Secular College Campus: Panel Discussion
  • Lori Lorig*  »  Uniquely Shaped  »  Uniquely Different
  • Linda Gumm  »  Someone’s Watching: Living Christian Attitudes
  • Kathie Wendland*  »  Placing Myself Under God’s Authority  »  In the World  »  In my Home
  • Michelle Birschbach  »  Professing Your Faith: When Water Cooler Talk Can Land You in Hot Water
  • Donn Dobberstein  »  How Do I …?  Equipping Christian Women for Action
  • Paul Wendland  »   Refugee Songs: Confident of Identity, We Speak
  • Mike Westendorf*  »  Hope and the Broken Road   »  Walking the Broken Road with Hope

Descriptions and Biographies

Click to return to home pageJenna Keller, Kayla Priebe, Delaney Leffel

Living Christian on the Secular College Campus

This breakout session  will have a panel-led discussion featuring recent college graduates and current college students. We invite you to listen to how these women have grown in their faith, witnessed to an increasingly Christ-less culture on and off campus, and how you can strengthen the next generation of Christian leaders. We encourage you to bring your questions to this discussion!

Jenna Keller is a sophomore studying Occupational Therapy at Concordia University Wisconsin in Mequon WI. Before coming to CUW, Jenna attended Fox Valley Lutheran HS in Appleton WI. Jenna is currently the head of Cornerstone Campus Ministry in Mequon, and she is also active with The Point of Grace Campus Ministry in Milwaukee and Awake and Alive. Throughout the year, Jenna partners with area congregations and high schools to connect future college age students with resources for spiritual encouragement and growth. 

—Kayla Priebe’s life of faith began as a member at Trinity Lutheran in Kaukauna, where she also attended grade school from 3K through 8th grade. Her family then made the short move to Appleton, WI. Kayla attended Fox Valley Lutheran High School and is a member of Mount Olive in Appleton. She believes that attending daily chapels and religion classes, and making lifelong Christian friendships at FVL were some of the most important factors in strengthening her faith and preparing her for a public university. Kayla is finishing up her bachelor’s degree in accounting at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, where she also plays on the Women’s Golf Team. She is involved in the campus ministry at Martin Luther in Oshkosh. After graduating from UWO in May 2019, she will be marrying her high school sweetheart in June, moving to Madison, and starting her job in public accounting at Baker Tilly in the fall.  

Delaney Leffel grew up in a not-so Christ-centered household with her mother and her father who struggled with alcoholism. After her parents divorced, she moved with her mother to Wisconsin her second year of high school. In Janesville, she met the Schreoder’s and her future husband Trenton who invited her to St. Matthew’s church. Delaney began attending worship with them regularly through high school and started BIC class. After graduation, she moved with Trenton to Colorado to study Neuroscience. At St. Peter’s in Fort Collins she completed BIC class, was baptized, and helped start a campus ministry. Delaney and Trenton were married their sophomore year of college. Delaney loves living in Colorado, being involved in music for worship, and has been accepted at Colorado State to start pursuing a degree in Veterinary Medicine in August.

Click to return to home pageLori Lorig (Lori will be presenting 2 breakout sessions)

Uniquely Shaped: Stepping Boldly into Your Personal Calling

God has created you for his purpose and his plan.  We are each personally designed by him and for him.  Come learn how to unleash your spiritual gifts and talents and those of your congregation for the benefit of his kingdom!  Based on 1 Peter 2:1-3; 4:1-11 

Click to return to home pageUniquely Different: Building Diverse Teams for God’s Glory

Did you know God created us differently on purpose? He designed us to complement one another. Come learn how to build great teams by understanding more about gifts and personalities. Learn to partner with others which will help multiply your effectiveness for the benefit of his kingdom.  Based on 1 Peter 2:1-3; 4:1-11 

—Lori Lorig is a lifelong WELS woman. She is a Spirit-filled, Jesus loving, redeemed daughter of the King. She is the passionate leader of Faith Unleashed Consulting. Lori and her team connect the family of believers, both young and old, to their personal callings, engaging, equipping and empowering the diversity of the body of Christ for the glory of God’s kingdom. Lori has coordinated volunteers for over 30 years and served as the Coordinator of Personal Member Ministry at Trinity Lutheran Church in Crete, Illinois. While on staff, she created a sustainable Member Ministry system. She serves as a speaker, workshop facilitator and consultant to WELS ministry teams and congregations.

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Linda Gumm

Someone’s Watching: Living Christian Attitudes

It can get very frustrating when those around us don’t recognize the gifts of harmony, sympathy, love, compassion and humility spoken of in I Peter 3.  In fact, some may not even know what these Christian characteristics look like, so therefore won’t celebrate or appreciate them.  As scattered stones we continue to highlight those gifts, despite the challenges we sometimes face.  But we come out on top!  “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer.”  Based on 1 Peter 3:8-22 

—Linda describes her life this way: “It’s all about grace.”    Jesus’ righteousness was placed on her when she was brought to the font by Christian parents.  She was blessed to be able to attend Lutheran Elementary schools and high schools.  Linda’s adult life has been spent at home with children, carrying out responsibilities of a pastor’s wife, working in the secular world for 25 years, and involvement in many church ministries.   She and her husband Tim have seen God’s grace in their four adult children and spouses, and 13 grandchildren.

Click to return to home pageKathie Wendland (Kathie will be presenting 3 breakout sessions)

Amazing Grace Calls Me to a Life of Placing Myself Under God’s Authority in the World and in My Home

This breakout will explore the depth and riches of what God has done for you and me through Jesus Christ as Peter by inspiration pens it in 1 Peter 1:1-12. Based on the trust we have in our amazing God and his grace the breakout will then focus on some of the more challenging passages for Americans to understand and live out as found in 1 Peter, chapter 2:13 through chapter 3:7.  The heading for the section is “submission” which is a word our culture has distorted so it conveys the opposite of the blessing God intended it to be for all Christians but especially for Christian women. A better translation of the original word is to “place yourself under” as in under the protection of what follows.  This breakout is the Scripture study foundation which will guide the discussion of the discussion breakouts that follow.  Based on 1 Peter 1:1-25 and 2:13-3:7 

Click to return to home pageThe Reality and Blessings of Placing Myself under God’s Authority and Those to Whom He’s Delegated it to in the Secular World.

This will be a discussion of real situations Christian women find themselves in in secular world settings and the Christian response and witness through them. Based on 1 Peter 1:1-25 and 2:13-3:7

Click to return to home pageThe Reality and Blessings of Placing Myself under God’s Authority and Those to Whom He’s Delegated it to in the Home and Family.

This breakout will be a discussion of real situations Christian women find themselves in in their homes and families. The discussion will include the Christian response and witness to Jesus’ love for us all through these situations to which God has called us.  Based on 1 Peter 1:1-25 and 2:13-3:7

Note: Breakouts 2 and 3 will be asking for situations from the discussion groups in advance of the breakout.

—Kathie Wendland, a registered nurse and BSN, has been blessed to have a wide range of professional nursing experiences ranging from Central Africa Medical Mission, the Frontier Nursing Service, Milwaukee County General Hospital, and the United States Navy, as well as serving in the US Embassy and Canadian High Commission health units in Lusaka, Zambia. Kathie grew up on a farm in Wisconsin with six siblings where her parents always saw serving Jesus as the central focus of their lives and taught their children those same values. Kathie has been privileged and blessed to be able to lead women’s bible studies and speak at Christian women’s retreats for over 25 years. Kathie was married to Ernst H. Wendland who served as pastor and Wisconsin Seminary Professor and is now with Jesus. She thanks God for the faithful pastors the Lord has blessed her with by placing her in multiple congregations throughout the world. Kathie has been on the WELS Women’s Ministry Committee since its inception in 2002 and praises God for the blessings he has showered on her and on so many others through WELS Women’s Ministry.

Click to return to home pageMichelle Birschbach

Professing Your Faith: When Water Cooler Talk Can Land You in Hot Water

Freedom of religion is a constitutionally protected right in the United States. It is not, however, an absolute right.  This breakout session will provide an introductory exploration into the potential legal ramifications of religious expression in the workplace, in schools as well as in other public venues.

—Michelle Birschbach is an attorney and partner at the Manitowoc & Sheboygan law firm of Steimle Birschbach, LLC.  Her firm focuses solely in the practice areas of trusts and estate including elder law/Medicaid planning, business and real estate.  Michelle is originally from Kiel, attended UW Sheboygan, UW Madison and Marquette University Law School where she graduated cum laude.  She currently resides in Cleveland, WI with her husband Mark.

Click to return to home pagePastor Donn Dobberstein

How Do I …?  Equipping Christian Women for Action

As ambassadors of Christ, women are given many opportunities to do God’s work. This breakout session will equip and encourage women to address the challenges they face in their personal Bible studies, congregations and daily lives by tapping into the resources available through WELS. Learn about what is available to help you study God’s Word, lead a Bible study, or talk with your neighbor about your faith. Let Christ be your motivation to “take the heat, to endure and to stand firm.”  Based on 1 Peter 3:15-16 

—Pastor Donn Dobberstein has served mission parishes in Topeka, Kansas (1995-2000) and Port Orange, Florida (2000-2017). He has served as chairman of WELS Commission on Evangelism (2007-2017) and has been a presenter at Schools of Outreach and “Telling the Next Generation,” facilitating workshops with a focus on church/school evangelism. In 2017 he accepted the call to be WELS Director of Discipleship. Donn and his wife of 25 years, Beth, reside in Eagle, Wisconsin and have four children: Caleb (and his wife, Sara), Lydia, Aleah, and Levi.

Click to return to home pageProfessor Paul Wendland

Refugee Songs: Confident of Identity, We Speak

How do we confess Christ as aliens and strangers, living in a hostile environment?  Do we scold?  Do we argue?  Do we debate?  Do we criticize?  Do we keep quiet and say nothing?  This workshop leader believes there’s a better way to sing the songs of Zion even though we are strangers in a strange land.  Identity→Vocation→Cross is the central message of 1 Peter.  We will explore what this means for those “chosen to be exiles.”  We know who we are.  Confident of our identity, we speak. We are summoned to confess Christ by demonstrating faithfulness in all our callings.  And yes, this brings cross, because the world must crucify whatever is God’s.  So first we learn to listen with the heart, sure of who we are. Then we validate whatever is true in what we are hearing.  Finally, we confess God’s truth in word and deed and sing his praises.  Confessing is not arguing.  It’s not about winners and losers.  It’s about singing the refugee song, the song of Zion.  Based on 1 Peter 3:13-18

—Paul Wendland is professor of New Testament and Preaching at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, WI where pastors of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod receive their seminary training. As professor of New Testament, his specialties are biblical interpretation and the books of 1 Peter, Galatians and Romans. He grew up in Zambia where he also served as a missionary. Later, he was called to be a parish pastor in Michigan and then to be a home missionary in Utah. From 1993 to 2001 he taught Latin and English literature at Martin Luther College, New Ulm MN. Since 2001 he has been serving at the seminary, the last thirteen years as its president. He is the author of two volumes of the People’s Bible: 1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles (Northwestern Publishing House, 1994 and 1998).

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Mike Westendorf (Mike will be presenting 2 breakout sessions)

Hope and the Broken Road: Understanding the Journey of Emerging Adults

For a lot of people who love the church, we look around in our worship services and wonder where the younger generation has gone.  We know we won’t be here forever and we know that the future of the physical church depends on people carrying on the Gospel work after we’re gone.  Before we dig into ideas on how to walk with Millenials and emerging adults, it’s important to unpack the importance of the 18-25 time of life and the journey of adulthood.  In this session we’ll talk about the breaking of the straight and narrow road and the how Jesus as our ultimate Hope that can heal that broken road.  Based on 1 Peter 2:11-12 

Click to return to home pageWalking the Broken Road with Hope: Strategies for Ministering to Millennials and the 18-25 Generation

With a little more insight into the process of emerging adulthood  we look a bit more about ways we can consider engaging and ministering with and to the young adult and Millennial generation.  We will look at some gleanings from the book of Judges and some of the current strategies that we can apply in our personal, professional and church lives to build meaningful mentoring relationships with the next generations.  With courage, vulnerability and a willingness to be humble, we can see the beauty of the Gospel and the story of God’s faithfulness through all generations!  Even though the journey of faith often resembles a broken road, it is one we walk with hope with Jesus and a hope that we might help others walk that road too.  Based on 1 Peter 2:11-12 

—Believing in the power of Psalm 89:1-2 to see God’s faithfulness made known through all generations, Mike’s prayer is that God would continue to wake us to who we are in Jesus, making us alive to inspiring the hope of Christ in the communities we are a part of in our everyday lives. Married with three children, Mike is a meteorologist working with college students through Innovative Weather at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. He has been a part of campus ministry through The Point of Grace and as the director of Awake and Alive, a Christian event for young adults in SE Wisconsin. A veteran song writer and worship leader for his home church of St. Paul’s Muskego, Mike is passionate about helping the local church thrive by sharing the joy of this journey in faith through worship and outreach concerts across the country since 2005. –


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