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WELS National Conference on Lutheran Leadership

I’m happy to invite you all to the second WELS National Conference on Lutheran Leadership. It will be held January 16-18, 2023, at the Hilton Chicago. This conference is not only for those who serve in formal leadership positions in their congregation: called workers, church council members, school board members, and the like. This conference is for anyone who is passionate about the mission of the church. It is for everyone who, by encouragement and example, wants to lead others to engage in that mission. So, all are welcome—called workers and laity, men and women, retirees and high-school students, lifelong WELS members and those new to the church.

The conference includes five keynote presentations that will discuss the larger strategic issues and challenges facing every congregation. Attendees also will be able to choose from almost 50 breakout sessions. Some breakouts will focus on aspects of leadership: leadership development, planning, management, church polity. Others will share some “best practices” in various ministry areas: evangelism, worship, schools, youth ministry, adult discipleship. There will be a variety of panel discussions: teens, educators, worship leaders. Still other breakout sessions are purely devotional in nature. There is something for everyone and for every congregation. To take full advantage of all the breakouts, I’d encourage you to consider having a delegation from your congregation attend.

When WELS Congregational Services planned the first National Conference on Lutheran Leadership three years ago, it was hoping to have 400 people attend. In the end, 800 registered; the enrollment had to be capped due to capacity limits. This year’s venue has more capacity.

I believe the reason so many were interested in the conference is simple to understand. We all know the challenges confronting American Christianity. Our congregations were—and still are—experiencing those challenges. Coming together to hear God’s Word and to discuss our path forward was both edifying and encouraging. All the presenters at that first conference encouraged us to see those challenges as opportunities—opportunities to trust in the power of God’s holy Word; opportunities to explore new ministry tactics; opportunities to recommit ourselves to doing all we can with the gospel.

The second WELS National Conference on Lutheran Leadership will do the same. I look forward to seeing you there.

Serving together with you in Christ,
WELS President Mark Schroeder

Learn more about the conference and register at lutheranleadership.com.


Lutheran Leadership Conference to kick off 2020

WELS Congregational Services will host the first WELS National Conference on Lutheran Leadership at the Sheraton Grand in Chicago, Ill., Jan. 21-23. WELS Congregational Services works under the Conference of Presidents to help congregations assess, plan, and carry out gospel ministry.

The conference will have five keynote presentations that deal with major cultural challenges before every WELS congregation. Twenty-five breakout sessions will deal with issues specific to certain congregations, including overcoming a consumer mentality in church, Christian apologetics, increasing volunteerism, retaining and gaining young members, fully utilizing the gifts of women in ministry, equipping members for personal evangelism, having a “high-expectations” church, strategic planning, using social media for outreach, operating a financially sustainable elementary school, and more.

“I hope individuals walk away from this conference with three things,” says Rev. Jonathan Hein, coordinator of Congregational Services. “First, I hope they are motivated to throw themselves into gospel ministry in every way: feeding the faithful, reaching the lost, and pursuing the straying. Second, I hope attendees better understand the massive challenges before our congregations but also realize that God will help us meet those challenges. Finally, I hope that they can take home some practical resources from the breakout sessions that they can immediately implement in their mission efforts.”

The National Conference on Lutheran Leadership is open to all: called workers and lay volunteers, men and women, lifelong Lutherans and new congregants. Congregations are encouraged to send multiple participants to the conference.

“A church gets the most out of a conference like this when there is a critical mass of members attending,” Hein says. “They can divide up and hit every relevant breakout. They can present a united, excited voice when they go back to their congregation.”

Travel rebates are available for congregations that send three or more individuals to the event.

Registration is now open, with an early registration discount through Oct. 31. Register online at lutheranleadership.com. There you can also find free promotional materials—including a video, posters, social media graphics, and other digital images.



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