Summer conferences provide learning opportunities

Three conferences this past summer gave attendees opportunities to learn more about the work we do together as a synod as well as to strengthen their skills and network with other WELS members.

More than four hundred teachers, principals, school leaders, and presenters met at the Country Springs Hotel, Pewaukee, Wis., for the National School Leadership Conference June 15-18. “The conference was designed to help school leaders reflect and improve upon their spiritual, mental, and physical well-being,” says Shawn Herkstroeter, principal at Faith, Fond du Lac, Wis., and conference chairman. Worship, keynote speakers, and sectionals centered on the theme of soul, mind, and body based on 1 Thessalonians 5:23. Attendees also had the opportunity to network and interact with other WELS professional educators from preschool through college.

Ben Carlovsky was excited to attend the conference as the new assistant principal at Abiding Word, Houston, Tex. “The title of school leader is fairly new to me. For the past eleven years, I had served as youth minister in Wisconsin,” he says. “My new call as assistant principal has me looking for ways to improve upon the excellence of our WELS school.”

He says one area he was interested in learning more about was facilitating teacher development through standards. The conference helped him start to put a plan in place. “Our school is planning on using Individual Ministry Development Plans based on the WELS Teaching Standards. The purpose is to help each teacher grow professionally and spiritually in a method that follows a plan, holds everyone accountable, and is transformational through the gospel.”

The next school leadership conference will be held in 2018.

From June 25–28, more than one thousand women learned about and showed their support for WELS mission work at the 52nd annual Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society (LWMS) convention in South Dakota. Sola Millet, who has attended 47 of the 52 LWMS conventions, says, “[The convention was] exciting and inspiring, awakening understanding and renewing our efforts to share the good news with everyone. Renewing friendships and making new friends with like-minded ladies from all around is truly inspiring. This has been true of past conventions and was very definitely evident at this convention. The smiles and hugs and the shared concerns do unite us. There is nowhere else that we can receive so much information about the mission work of our synod.”

During the convention, more than $25,000 was collected to support WELS mission work. Throughout the year, LWMS chapters collectively offered $38,350 for Asia Lutheran Seminary and $38,350 for the Tools for Outreach project from Home Missions. The k.i.d.s. care Russia project received about $65,000, including a $15,000 matching grant.

New LWMS President Karen Fischer says, “This convention was warm and friendly while still being global in scope and impact. What a joy and privilege to experience the love and heart for missions from so many women of the LWMS.”

Next year’s convention will be held in St. Charles, Ill. Registration opens January 2016. For more about LWMS, visit

Attendees learned about where technology meets ministry at the third large conference this summer—WELSTech Conference 2015. About 250 people attended the July 9–11 event in Pewaukee, Wis.

“We envisioned the conference as a chance for people to share their experience and expertise across several different tracks—church, communication, office and productivity, outreach, school, system administration, tools, and web,” says Sallie Draper, WELS technology trainer and conference co-planner. “Many who attended told us they had problems deciding what to attend because there were so many great options.”

Draper and Martin Spriggs, WELS chief technology officer, broadcast the 400th episode of WELSTech at the conference. This weekly show explores the use of technology to further the spread of the gospel. “We’ve seen the WELSTech community grow steadily as more and more people contribute their experience and expertise to the show,” says Draper. “The conference was a great opportunity to gather this virtual community for some face-to-face sharing and fellowship.”

Download the presentations and watch the archived livestream of the conference at View the latest WELSTech episode at


Volume 102, Number 9
Issue: September 2015

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