The WELS Women’s Ministry Conference was held July 21–23 at Luther Preparatory School, Watertown, Wis. More than 330 women attended to learn how to identify barriers that get in the way of knowing our purpose, stand firm on Scripture in the face of conflict, and extend grace in their everyday relationships.
The theme of the conference, Won to be One, really dug deep into the book of Ephesians and God’s grace that gives us our identity in Christ. “As a woman, I constantly ask what my role is in the church and in the ministry. I cannot be a pastor and I am not a teacher, so how can I be an asset to my congregation and to the church of Christ as a whole? This conference puts the Great Commission in the forefront of everything and refocused our place and identity as ambassadors of Christ. We minister in everything we say and in all we do,” Janet Block, member at New Hope, West Melbourne, Fla. says.
Professor Paul Wendland conveyed in his “Know the Love Too Big To Know” presentation that Ephesians 1 and 3 are where Paul gives us God’s perspective on our purpose grounded in his grace. In his great mercy God lifts us high above the world of incidents and accidents and into the heart of his eternal loving purpose for us in Christ Jesus. This love makes us one again—with God and with each other.
“In his presentation ‘United in One as One,’ based on Ephesians 2, Pastor Ben Kratz reminds us the world, our own sinful flesh, and the devil will constantly tell us lies about who we are and what our purpose is. We cannot keep listening to those lies. The only place we find truth is God’s word. God tells me, ‘You are my child,’ and this truth tells me his love does not depend on me. This is what unites us. We are united in one Savior who gives us our identity,” says Paula Sulzle, member of the Women’s Ministry executive committee.
Pastors Snowden Sims and Ryan Kolander showed how unity in Christ and in mission are hard work, but God’s plan for ministry opens unexpected doors for opportunity through his grace.
Professor Tingting Schwartz shared her “Journey to belong” and how she learned that her Christian identity unifies her other identities of being an immigrant, a mother, and an educator.
Tara Dezso, member from Shepherd of the Hills, Tucson, Ariz., was thankful for these scriptural reminders from Ephesians. She says, “There just have been so many lessons I’ve taken away from the general sessions, the breakout sessions, that I can apply to my life. When I go back home, it’s just going to be incredible.”