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New director of discipleship joins Congregational Services

“Encouraging and equipping congregations for faithful and fruitful gospel ministry.”

That’s how Rev. Donn Dobberstein describes his new position as the director of discipleship for WELS’ Congregational Services. In this new role, Dobberstein will serve the WELS Commissions on Adult Discipleship and Youth and Family Ministry. These commissions coordinate WELS Women’s Ministry, the Interactive Faith online Bible study series, marriage enrichment programs, the biennial international youth rally, the Kids Connection video series, and other ministry resources.

Dobberstein is not a stranger to Congregational Services, having served as the chairman of the Commission on Evangelism for the past 10 years. He also says, “Twenty-two years in parish mission settings have given me ministry experiences showing the importance of and the connection between ‘making disciples’ and ‘continuing to disciple.’ Evangelism and nurture are not at odds with each other but are complementary.”

Dobberstein served as pastor at Our Savior’s, Port Orange, Fla., for the past 17 years. He and his wife, Beth, moved from Port Orange to the Milwaukee, Wis., area in November as he began his work at the WELS Center for Mission and Ministry in Waukesha, Wis. The couple have four children, two of whom still live at home.

Dobberstein clearly feels a sense of urgency for this ministry. He notes, “After years of the position being ‘dormant,’ clarifying a sense of direction and vision will be a priority. Evaluating and prioritizing resources needed for WELS congregations will help us set goals for the next five years. My intention is to listen and learn, support and serve my fellow coworkers and God’s people. I believe God has given us a unique moment in his kingdom that can be seized that, God-willing, can lead to ministry activity.”

Equipping women to mentor

“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” This was the theme for the recent Women’s Ministry Conference held in July. Approximately 350 women from around the country met at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wis., to get encouraged by and equipped with God’s Word.

The conference explored how Christian women serve as mentors to those around them. Marilyn Miller, chairwoman of WELS Women’s Ministry, says, “Women are natural mentors and do it without even thinking about it. This conference helped Christian women realize how their words and actions reflect Christ wherever they might find themselves. It is our prayer that women will intentionalize their mentoring, letting God use them to shape the character and transform the thinking of everyone with whom they come into contact. God is in the business of changing hearts, and I know he will do just that through some of the women who joined us last week.”

Su Hansen attended the conference from Redeemer, Tomahawk, Wis. She summed up the conference with one main word: “Encouragement.” She says, “It’s a very godly way to gather together sisters in Christ and grow together and encourage one another in our various callings.”

Attendee Ahnsharee Klusmeyer, Peace, Wautoma, Wis., finds it important for Christian women to gather around God’s Word. She says, “It’s good for women to have fellowship with each other, especially knowing we’re all coming from the same Christian background based on the Bible.”

Presenters led Bible study sessions examining how Christ is the ultimate mentor and how to model one’s mentoring after his.

Kathie Wendland, a member of the Women’s Ministry Committee, led a study titled “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ,” which focused on the apostle Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. She says, “Time after time Paul in all of his epistles clearly points all Christian eyes to Jesus Christ himself as the only one who as true God understood perfectly the humble servant attitude necessary to demonstrate that humble servant attitude in word and action in a hostile world.”

Dawn Schulz, a member of the Women’s Ministry Committee, led a study titled “Jesus–A mentor for me.” “As a mentor my identity, purpose, priorities, words, and actions are all determined by the fact that I am God’s child because of Jesus. Jesus not only shows me how to live in this grace, he teaches me how to mentor it to others by understanding their individual and diverse needs, giving them time to grow, and living transparently in order to set before them a living picture of a life patterned after Jesus,” she says.

WELS Women’s Ministry, part of the WELS Commission on Adult Discipleship, holds a conference every three years; the next conference will be held in 2019. Learn more about WELS Women’s Ministry.

View photos from this year’s event.
2016 Women's Ministry Conference

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Interactive Faith coming this fall

Adult Discipleship offers LIVE online Bible studies for use by congregations, small groups, or individuals to serve as a mid-week Bible study. Gather at your church or around the computer to join in fellowship and learn about the Bible with brothers and sisters in faith from around the country.

The next study will begin Wed. Sept. 9

Rev. Keith Wessel, professor at Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn., will lead the next Interactive Faith Bible study, which will be streamed online live each Wednesday, Sept. 9 through Oct. 7, at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. CDT.

His study will focus on the life and ministry of Elisha.

Studies will be held Wednesday nights

Two times: 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. (central)

There are times for lecturing and times to allow local congregations to discuss on their own.

To view the study, you will need a high-speed internet connection.  For best viewing you’ll want to project it, and hook your computer to speakers.

Study guides will be available on the WELS Resource Center.

Questions? Contact Us.

View archived sessions online!

Who am I and why am I here

Presented by Rev. Tom Kock
Pastor Kock leads us to see that the grace of God gives us a wonderfully positive understanding of what God has declared us to be, filling us with confidence and peace.
Originally presented January 2013

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I’d like to read my Bible, but …

Presented by WELS President Mark Schroeder
Rev. Mark Schroeder provides practical helps for people to study God’s Word on their own with confidence and understanding.
Originally presented February 2014

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Next Interactive Faith coming up

The next Interactive Faith online Bible study is just one month away. What better way to start the new year than by gathering online with WELS members around the world to study God’s Word.

Beginning Wed., Jan. 7, 2015, Rev. David Scharf, Immanuel, Greenville, Wis., will lead a six-week study called “Breaking the Cycle with Grace (a study of the book of Judges).”

Scharf says of the topic, “It has been said that nearly every doctrine of the Bible can be found in the biblical narratives contained in the book of Judges. That fact alone merits a deeper look! And yet, how often have we read, let alone studied this action-packed book of God’s grace? In our lives, we go through cycles of ups and downs—we think God is pleased one moment and that he is not the next. Come and break the cycle of uncertainty with grace as we study a book full of God’s love and patience!”

The study will be streamed live online twice every Wednesday night between Jan. 7 and Feb. 11 at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. (central).

Thousands of WELS members have participated in the Interactive Faith Bible studies, which are held twice a year and led by a WELS pastor or professor. Many congregations gather as a group for the study; other WELS members connect as couples or individuals. The studies are designed to have 10 to 15 minutes of lecture by the instructor, followed by 5 to 10 minutes for congregations to discuss a question or two or do further study. Participants can interact with the instructor via the chat box.

To learn more or join the study, go to www.wels.net/interactivefaith.

Start the year with Interactive Faith

January is two months away and what better way to start a new year than with a new Interactive Faith online Bible study series.

Beginning Wed., Jan. 7, 2015, Rev. David Scharf, Immanuel, Greenville, Wis., will lead a six-week study called “Breaking the Cycle with Grace (a study of the book of Judges).”

Scharf says of the topic, “It has been said that nearly every doctrine of the Bible can be found in the biblical narratives contained in the book of Judges. That fact alone merits a deeper look! And yet, how often have we read, let alone studied this action-packed book of God’s grace? In our lives, we go through cycles of ups and downs—we think God is pleased one moment and that he is not the next. Come and break the cycle of uncertainty with grace as we study a book full of God’s love and patience!”

The study will be streamed live online twice every Wednesday night between Jan. 7 and Feb. 11 at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. (central).

Thousands of WELS members have participated in the Interactive Faith Bible studies, which are held twice a year and led by a WELS pastor or professor. Many congregations gather as a group for the study; other WELS members connect as couples or individuals. The studies are designed to have 10 to 15 minutes of lecture by the instructor, followed by 5 to 10 minutes for congregations to discuss a question or two or do further study. Participants can interact with the instructor via the chat box.

To learn more or join the study, go to www.wels.net/interactivefaith.