Posts

A new voice for WELS Daily Devotions

Starting March 3, the audio version of the WELS Daily Devotions features a new voice: Zach Steinke. Steinke is a senior at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wis., with prior experience in the radio communications industry.

“We are thrilled to have Zach as our new narrator for the WELS Daily Devotions,” says Rev. Eric Roecker, director of the WELS Commission on Evangelism. “His experience and expertise will be a blessing to the thousands of souls who listen each day.”

Narrating the Daily Devotions was an unexpected opportunity for Steinke. Rev. Donn Dobberstein, director of the WELS Commission on Discipleship, was teaching one of Steinke’s classes recently and mentioned that they were seeking a new narrator for the Daily Devotions. Dobberstein asked the students to take turns reading portions of some devotional material, and Steinke’s abilities captured Dobberstein’s attention.

“When it was my turn, I read my paragraph,” Steinke recalls. “Then Pastor Dobberstein asked me to read the next one . . . and the next one.”

Afterward, Steinke shared his voice demos with Dobberstein and other WELS staff, eventually meeting with them to discuss the opportunity. He was quickly brought on board.

“I was not planning to audition myself as a candidate, and Pastor Dobberstein was not necessarily looking for a ‘voice’ from the classroom that day,” Steinke explains. “However, the Lord brought this all together, so to him be the glory.”

Steinke replaces Rev. Mike Hintz, retired director for the WELS Commission on Evangelism. Coincidentally, Hintz was once his pastor. Steinke sees this connection as another example of God’s hand in shaping this opportunity.

“It just shows you that this is something only the Lord can plan and work out,” Steinke says. “I am surprised and honored to be succeeding Pastor Hintz.”

In 2018, the Daily Devotions had nearly 11,000 subscribers in more than 15 different countries. Thousands of listeners tune in each day.

“The Lord has already blessed this ministry exponentially,” Steinke notes. “I pray that I’ll be a good steward of this ministry and that God continues to make it fruitful through me and the many writers of the Daily Devotions.”

Steinke expresses gratitude for being able to share the gospel in this unique way. For listeners of the Daily Devotions, he shares this message: “As you incorporate these devotions into your day, may the Holy Spirit strengthen your faith as God speaks his gospel comfort to your heart. I’d also like to challenge you to think of people in your life who need to know such comfort. Share these devotions with them so they can know Jesus, their Savior, and how precious they are in his sight.”

To read, listen to, and subscribe to WELS Daily Devotions, visit wels.net/daily-devotions. Listen to Steinke read today’s devotion.

Outreach film bulk order deadline extended

Due to popular demand, the deadline for bulk rate orders of To the Ends of the Earth, the outreach film that tells the story of the apostle Paul and his work in Philippi, has been extended.

Now congregations and groups have until Sept. 28 to order quantities of 100 DVDs at a low bulk rate of $200 per box, plus shipping. Bulk orders that have been placed on or before Sept. 7 are shipping now. Orders placed by Sept. 28 will ship the first week of October.

More than 600 congregations have already ordered over 50,000 copies of the movie at this bulk rate.

“We are going to hand out DVDs at events in our area such as street festivals, etc.,” says Rev. Joel Petermann, pastor at Zion, Torrance, Calif. “It is our hope and prayer that those who watch this video will hear its gospel message and want to know more about Jesus so we can follow up with Bible class invitations and worship invitations.”

Petermann also notes that the outreach emphasis in the film will serve as a precursor to the upcoming C18 effort, a synodwide outreach campaign to reach one million people with the gospel message during the Christmas season. Film resources, including worship materials; adult, small group, teen, and children Bible studies; an Advent by Candlelight program; and personal reflections, discuss how to witness and share your faith.

“We hope the film reaffirms a mission mindset among our members,” says Rev. Michael Vogel, pastor at St. Paul, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. “We will be doing a six-week sermon series and Bible study on the film in October and November. We will use the DVDs as part of our welcome package for visitors. We also will encourage our members to take one and share it with family and friends.”

Worship materials also can be used as an option for celebrating the synodwide Mission and Ministry Sunday planned for Oct. 21. All congregations received a free DVD of the film for this purpose.

To the Ends of the Earth is the final installment in a series of four outreach movies that are a collaboration between WELS Commission on Evangelism, WELS Commission on Discipleship, Northwestern Publishing House, WELS Multi-Language Publications, and Boettcher+Trinklein Television, Inc. Learn more, bulk order copies, and watch a film preview at wels.net/totheendsoftheearth.

 

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

New outreach film set to be released

The new WELS outreach film To the Ends of the Earth will be released Sept. 1.

The film tells the story of the apostle Paul and his work in Philippi. Its title is taken directly from Jesus’ command to his disciples at his Ascension: “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). “Since the movie focuses on mission activity, it reminds us of the important work that we have as we serve Christ—to reach out with the gospel to the ends of the earth,” says Rev. Mike Hintz, retired director of WELS Commission on Evangelism who serves as a consultant for the film.

That’s why film resources, including worship materials; adult, small group, teen, and children Bible studies; an Advent by Candlelight program; and personal reflections, will discuss how to witness and share your faith.

One way congregations can use the film and its resources is in connection with WELS Mission and Ministry Sunday, which the Conference of Presidents is encouraging all congregations to observe on Oct. 21. “It’s an opportunity to give thanks as we look at the ways we in WELS as congregations and a synod work to reach out with the gospel, but also to look at opportunities that are still around us and how to make the most of them as we continue to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth,” says Hintz.

By Sept. 1, every congregation will receive a free DVD of the movie for this purpose. Film resources will also be available for download by mid-August. “We pray congregations will take advantage of this opportunity to celebrate God’s blessings on his church and to renew our commitment to the Great Commission to ‘go and make disciples of all nations’ (Matthew 28:18-20),” says Rev. Kurt Lueneburg, director of the Ministry of Christian Giving.

Congregations can bulk order additional copies of the DVD to use as giveaways to congregation members and prospects or for other outreach efforts. The DVDs are available in boxes of 100 DVDs at only $200 per box, plus shipping. Bulk orders must be received by Sept. 7, 2018.

This movie is the final installment in a series of four outreach movies that are a collaboration between WELS Commission on Evangelism, WELS Commission on Discipleship, Northwestern Publishing House, WELS Multi-Language Publications, and Boettcher+Trinklein Television, Inc. Funding from CM CARES, the Church Mutual Insurance Company Foundation; WELS Foundation’s Shared Blessings donor advised fund; WELS Multi-Language Publications; and gifts from groups, congregations, and individuals helped make this film possible.

Learn more about the film at wels.net/totheendsoftheearth.

View photos:

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Delegates gather for district conventions

Each of WELS’ 12 districts met in convention this June, considering local ministry topics along with issues that apply to the entire synod.

Delegates of the Michigan and Minnesota Districts elected new presidents to replace retiring pastors Rev. John Seifert and Rev. Charles Degner, respectively. Rev. Snowden (Gene) Sims is now leading the Michigan District, and Rev. Dennis Klatt is president of the Minnesota District. Both men will join the other district presidents as well as the synod president and two synod vice presidents to form WELS’ Conference of Presidents, which maintains the synod’s doctrine and practice and is responsible for funding the synod budget.

Three districts celebrated 100th anniversaries—the Southeastern Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Pacific Northwest Districts. The anniversary celebrations were reflected in the districts’ worship services, essays, and fellowship activities.

Synod leaders presented ministry updates regarding WELS’ schools, committees, and areas of ministry. Rev. Jonathan Hein as well as other representatives from WELS Congregational Services presented on the current state of the synod and how WELS members and congregations can serve their communities with the gospel. Delegates to the Dakota-Montana and Northern Wisconsin District conventions heard Hein’s presentation titled “God’s country—a vision for 21st-century rural ministry in WELS” that encouraged delegates to reach out with Christ’s love to their communities intentionally and strategically. Rev. Jason Liebenow, a pastor of a tri-parish near Florence, Wis., called the presentation “a life-changer.”

District convention delegates also were treated to a sneak peek of the new WELS evangelism movie. Titled To the Ends of the Earth, the movie follows the apostle Paul’s visit to the city of Philippi, recorded in Acts 16. It shows how Paul connected with people from all walks of life, demonstrating that the good news of Jesus is for all people. This is the fourth and final movie in the award-winning series that includes Road to Emmaus; Come Follow Me; and My Son, My Savior. To the Ends of the Earth will be released on Sept. 1. Visit wels.net/to-the-ends-of-the-earth.

More district convention news and photos will be shared in the August issue of Forward in Christ magazine.

 

To the Ends of the Earth trailer

 

District Conventions 2018

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

New director for the Commission on Evangelism

Rev. Eric Roecker has accepted the call the serve as the director for the WELS Commission on Evangelism, a ministry of WELS Congregational Services. He will transition to this new role in August, replacing Rev. Mike Hintz who has retired.

Roecker has been serving as pastor at Pilgrim, Menomonee Falls, Wis., for five years. Prior to serving at Pilgrim, he served Resurrection, Chesapeake, Va., for 15 years.

Roecker says, “One of the things that affected my decision to accept the call was that I had the opportunity to serve in an outlying district as well as the opportunity to serve here in the Midwest in a congregation with a grade school. I thought that’s probably a good thing for this position, to have experienced both, because I’ve discovered there’s some major differences in the area of outreach between those two ministry settings.”

He says he’s looking forward to working with a broader segment of WELS members and energizing and helping them share the good news of Jesus.

“Every WELS member wants to evangelize, and we know that because Christ lives in them and Christ wants us to evangelize. All of us want to tell others about Jesus, but there are things that get in the way of that, whether it’s our own sinful natures or our fear of not having answers or not knowing how to do it. The two things I’d like to encourage the members of WELS to do are, first of all, just start reaching out. As you do it, you’ll learn how to do it better through experience. And second, prepare yourselves to do it. That’s where we hope we can help by providing resources to help people prepare to evangelize,” says Roecker.

Roecker will continue to reside in Menomonee Falls with his wife and two children.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

New movie focuses on outreach

Filming is complete for the movie To the Ends of the Earth, an upcoming outreach film that will follow the apostle Paul and his work in Philippi.

This movie is the final installment in a series of four outreach movies that are a collaboration between WELS Commission on Evangelism, WELS Commission on Discipleship, Northwestern Publishing House, WELS Multi-Language Publications, and Boettcher+Trinklein Television, Inc. “Our goal for this movie is to show in a dramatic way how the gospel is spread into the world following the command of Jesus and to show how it impacted people’s lives,” says Rev. Mike Hintz, who recently retired as director of WELS Evangelism but continues to serve as a member of the movie production team. The film’s title is taken directly from Jesus’ command to his disciples at his Ascension: “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Filmed in Ouarzazate, Morocco, from Jan. 29–Feb. 3, the movie highlights four major events from the book of Acts—the conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus, the conversion of Lydia, the casting out of a demon from the slave girl, and Paul and Silas in prison followed by the baptisms of the jailer and his household.

The filming location, in a setting where many other Bible-era movies have been shot, allowed the production team to make use of already available sets, beautiful scenery, and local talent. The production team is the same crew that worked on the recent Luther film, A Return to Grace: Luther’s Life and Legacy. “Our goal was authenticity, and, honestly, I felt like I was back in that time,” says Hintz, who served as a consultant on set. “The way the people looked and sounded, the scenery, the sets—I think people are going to feel like they’re in Philippi.”

The goal is to have the movie available by the end of summer 2018 in time for congregations initially to use the film and accompanying materials as an option for celebrating a synodwide Mission and Ministry Sunday on Oct. 21. Plans are to show a movie trailer at the district conventions in June.

Hintz says the movie would not be possible except for funding help from Church Mutual Insurance Company Foundation; WELS Foundation’s Shared Blessings donor advised fund; Multi-Language Publications; and gifts from groups, congregations, and individuals.

“It is our goal that this not only be a movie that will hold our attention but also move us with our hearts and minds to continue to follow the Lord’s will to take the gospel to the ends of the earth,” say Hintz.