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Instructors needed for Master’s program

Martin Luther College (MLC), the synod’s college of ministry in New Ulm, Minn., is looking for qualified WELS members to teach online courses on an adjunct basis in its Master of Science programs.

“We need more qualified instructors to meet the increasing demand for graduate education among WELS teachers,” says Prof. John Meyer, director of graduate studies. Currently, 128 teachers are enrolled in the master’s program, which has emphases in classroom instruction, special education, leadership (administration), and educational technology. MLC is adding new programs in administration, special education, theology, and early childhood.

Qualified candidates should be WELS members in good standing who hold a doctorate in the area they will be teaching. “We especially need instructors in areas of early childhood, educational leadership, educational technology, special education, educational psychology, reading, and theology,” says Meyer.

Pastors, teachers, and congregational leaders are asked to submit names of candidates who might be able to serve in this way. No relocation is required, and once called, candidates will be asked to teach a course about once every two years. They will receive a stipend for their work.

Submit names for consideration to Prof. John Meyer at meyerjd@mlc-wels.edu or by mail at Martin Luther College, 1995 Luther Court, New Ulm, MN 56073.

Korean pastor requests colloquy

A Korean pastor from the North Atlantic District has requested a colloquy so he can become a pastor in WELS. Rev. Kwang Hoon (Peter) Wee is a member at Our Savior’s, New Brunswick, N.J., and currently serves as its minister of evangelism, helping with outreach to the Korean and Chinese communities in the area.

A colloquy is an in-depth interview with a pastor who has left another church body due to its false teaching or practice and now wants to serve as a WELS pastor. “His personal and family background, his theological training, his understanding and confession of scriptural doctrine and practice—all are part of a thorough review to understand the colloquy candidate and his reasons for requesting a colloquy into WELS,” says Rev. Donald Tollefson, North Atlantic district president. “The goal is to provide assurance so that when a candidate completes the colloquy process, all those involved can say, ‘We believe, teach, and confess the same scriptural truths.’ ”

Wee had served at a nondenominational campus ministry at Rutgers. When he and his members needed a place to worship, he approached Our Savior’s and its pastor, Rev. Mark Johnston. Johnston and Wee began talking about doctrine. From those discussions, Wee discovered what he had been missing. He decided he wanted to become a WELS pastor and began studying confessional Lutheranism with area pastors through a program put together by the Pastoral Studies Institute. Now he has requested a colloquy to become a WELS pastor.

A colloquy is a rigorous process involving a committee consisting of one of the WELS vice presidents, a member of the faculty of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, and the president of the district where the applicant lives. “There is great responsibility in being involved in the colloquy process to ensure, as much as humanly possible, that goals and desires for requesting and going through a colloquy are plain and understood by all involved,” says Tollefson. “There is, however, also great privilege in being involved in this process so that, with God’s guidance, it will lead to a common bond and unity with another called servant to proclaim the Word of the Lord and lead souls to Christ.”

Formal notice to the WELS constituency of a colloquy request is required by the synod’s constitution. This notice is included below.

REQUEST FOR COLLOQUY
Kwang Hoon (Peter) Wee, Monmouth Junction, New Jersey, formerly a Christian & Missionary Alliance pastor and now a WELS member, has requested a colloquy for the purpose of serving in the pastoral ministry of WELS. Correspondence related to this request should be sent by April 15 to North Atlantic District President, Donald Tollefson, 40 Coleman Rd, Long Valley NJ 07853; nadp@wels.net.

New Spanish-language website

In an effort to get the gospel into the homes of more families in Latin America, a new Spanish-language website, Academia Cristo (Christ Academy), has been developed to provide further outreach and training opportunities.

“We have an opportunity to communicate the gospel in Latin America like we’ve never had before,” says Missionary Michael Hartman, field coordinator for Latin America, referring to the statistic that there will be 70 million smartphone users in Mexico by the end of 2015. “People are getting on the Internet, and they’re getting on with their mobile phones.”

Whereas Spanish-language printed materials developed by Multi-Language Publications (MLP) had been used in the past, the goal is to replace this written material with videos and audio Bible studies that can be distributed more widely through the Internet. Hartman says this will be appealing to Latinos, who don’t have a reading culture but are regularly on their smartphones.

While there will be simple courses available for non-Christians, the point of the site isn’t strictly outreach. “Gospel outreach happens when you sit down and you talk with your friends or family about Jesus,” says Hartman. “What we really want to do is enable Christians to be able to do just that.”

For that purpose, Academia Cristo will also include a level of courses for local leaders that will show them how to share their faith. A future goal is to add seminary courses for those training for the ministry.

Hartman, the Latin American national churches, and other members of the mission team are working closely with MLP to create the courses. Currently six courses are completed, including two five-lesson Bible studies based on the Come Follow Me movie as well as other courses on what Christians believe and who Jesus is.

World Missions sees this site as a way to help serve scattered members throughout Latin America, providing ways for them to grow in the faith as well as share their faith with others.

With more and more Hispanics moving into the United States and connecting with WELS churches there, the site also offers a way for those far away from their homeland to share the gospel message they discovered.

This is not to take away the human element. A missionary or a national pastor is connected to each course, available to answer questions and concerns. Two members of the Latin American mission team also work directly with national church bodies and their members to explore new opportunities for outreach and training. One lives in Mexico; the other works with Hispanic members throughout the United States.

Check out the new site at www.academiacristo.com.

Parenting webcast on March 10

Join Forward in Christ for its first live webcast on Tues., March 10, at 8 p.m. (central). The webcast will focus on the magazine’s new parenting column, Heart to heart: Parent conversations.

Each month Heart to heart has a diverse group of parents discuss one topic in the magazine and on its blog. In March, the topic is, “How do we talk about Jesus with our children?” This will also serve as the theme of the March 10 webcast.

During the webcast, three parents who write for Heart to heart will share how they talk about Jesus in their homes and will give parents information about resources that they can use with their children. The webcast fits well into the column’s mission to help Christian parents build each other up and support each other.

To view the webcast, go to www.wels.net/forwardinchrist. You can also participate in the discussion via the chat feature.

WATCH LIVE on March 10 at 8 p.m. (central).

Synodical Council approves Ministry Financial Plan

The Synodical Council (SC) held its winter meeting last week. The foremost item on the agenda was the adoption of the 2015-2017 biennium Ministry Financial Plan (budget) to be recommended to the synod convention for consideration this summer.

Prior to adopting the plan, the SC received word that the Church Extension Fund (CEF) will be making grants of $700,000 to Home Missions in each of the next two years. In addition, the WELS Foundation also forwarded a grant of $460,000 to the synod this year and is planning grants of $150,000 annually during the biennium. Both of these grants to the synod resulted from newly adopted policies governing the unrestricted net assets of the WELS Foundation.

As a part of the planning process the SC first adopted the Support Forecast, which estimates the anticipated financial support available for the synod’s mission and ministry. On the basis of that information, the SC then established spending levels for all areas of ministry in a Ministry Financial Plan that includes the following features:

  • The operating support total of $29,426,700 for the first year is virtually unchanged from the current operating support of $29,410,800.
  • The operating support total for the second year of the biennium drops to $27,890,800, since the anticipated retirement of the synod’s capital debt will no longer require the $1,600,000 allocation for debt repayment.
  • Total expenditures (which include synod support and special funds) increase by $1.2 million in the first year, with the majority of that increase in Home Missions, made possible by the use of additional special funds already on hand and the grant from the CEF.
  • Even though the synod support levels have been kept flat, the overall plan provides sufficient support for our Ministerial Education schools and for all existing World Mission fields and expanded work in Home Missions.
  • Home Missions receives an additional allocation of $700,000 in both years of the biennium as a result of the grant from the Church Extension Fund. This will enable it to plant several additional new home missions.
  • The Support Forecast assumes a 1% increase in CMO in each year of the biennium. Increases greater than that will either enable some unfunded items to be funded or will result in a smaller drawdown of the Financial Stabilization Fund.

While the decrease in Congregation Mission Offering subscriptions for 2015 presented some challenges, the SC earlier made reductions of $825,000 in the current year plan to enable the synod to operate within expected levels of support. Additional steps taken in forming the 2015-2017 plan are also intended to keep the synod’s expenditures within the planned levels of support. The complete plan will be published in the Book of Reports and Memorials.

Serving in Christ,
President Mark Schroeder