Conference highlights purpose and identity in Christ
More than 330 women attended the WELS Women’s Ministry Conference July 21–23 at Luther Preparatory School, Watertown, Wis., 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 everyday relationships.
The conference, under the theme “Won to be One,” 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 put 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,” says Janet Block, a member at New Hope, West Melbourne, Fla.
In his “Know the Love too Big to Know” presentation, Rev. Paul Wendland, professor at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wis., examined Ephesians chapters 1 and 3, where Paul shares God’s perspective on our purpose grounded in his grace. In his presentation, Rev. Benjamin Kratz, pastor at Our Savior, Birmingham, Ala., reminded attendees that they are united in one Savior who gives us our identity. Rev. Snowden Sims, pastor at St. Paul, Columbus, Ohio, and Rev. Ryan Kolander, pastor at Palabra de Vida, Detroit, Mich., showed how unity with Christ and unity in mission are hard work, but God’s plan for ministry opens unexpected doors for opportunity through his grace. Prof. Tingting Schwartz from Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn., shared how she learned that her Christian identity unifies her other identities of being an immigrant, a mother, and an educator.
Tara Dezso, a member at 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 and the breakout sessions that I can apply to my life. When I go back home, it’s just going to be incredible.”
For the past 20 years, WELS Women’s Ministry, part of the WELS Commission on Discipleship, has nurtured, encouraged, and equipped women to use their gifts for joyful service in God’s kingdom. Learn more about Women’s Ministry and access conference resources and livestreamed videos. You can also sign up for a twice monthly newsletter to keep up to date on upcoming events and new resources.