Tag Archive for: Together09022014

Evangelism courses at MLC

This fall, the WELS Commission on Evangelism is beginning a new certification program on evangelism, using courses offered through Martin Luther College’s online continuing education program. Building on the popular Schools of Outreach, these courses are designed to help laypeople and called workers lead their congregations with planning and implementing efforts to reach more people with the gospel.

“I really want to help, encourage, pray for, and learn alongside of believers,” says Rev. Donn Dobberstein, chairman of the Commission on Evangelism. “Some may be looking to personally grow in evangelism on behalf of their congregation. Others may be facing challenges or feeling a little overwhelmed or discouraged in their ministry setting.”

Each course provides the biblical foundation for evangelism and ministry resources needed for training and encouraging leaders.

“As WELS members we know sharing Jesus is important; we want to train the leaders in our congregations to be better at it,” says Rev. Michael Hintz, director of the Commission on Evangelism.

The first class, The Mission of the Church, taught by Rev. Donn Dobberstein, begins Sep. 7. The second class, Practical Evangelism for Congregations, taught by Rev. Michael Hintz, will begin Nov. 10. A third course on Friendship Evangelism will be offered early in 2015 and will be taught by Rev. John Huebner.

“These courses will place them in a learning environment providing mutual support, assistance, and friendship – God-willing, long after the short courses are over,” says Dobberstein.

To learn more and register for the classes: http://connect.wels.net/evangelism.

Luther Prep to hold open house

For 150 years, Luther Preparatory School (LPS), Watertown, Wis., has been “Preparing Lives for Service” to God and to his mission for the church. On Sunday, Oct. 5, at 2 p.m. (central) the school will be hosting an open house to share the school’s important role in WELS ministry with WELS members and the surrounding community.

The open house will include campus tours, a brief history of the campus, student choirs, a meet and greet with LPS faculty, and light refreshments.

LPS President Rev. Matt Crass, says, “We want our visitors to take away an appreciation for the blessing this campus has been to our church body for the past 150 years. We also want them to understand that the purpose remains the same today as it was 150 years ago.”

Crass continues, “LPS belongs to the entire WELS church body. The majority of our pastors and high percentage of our teachers were influenced through their time as a student on the synod’s Watertown campus.”

Mark your calendar to visit the synod’s historic campus. Learn more about LPS and its plans to celebrate its 150th anniversary at www.lps.wels.net.

Summer assistants serve churches

This summer, ten Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wis., students served in congregations in Alaska, New Mexico, Texas, Indiana, Michigan, California, Wisconsin, and Kentucky. These summer assistants served with Spanish outreach, helped with sports camps, preached, led Bible studies, helped with teens, assisted in worship, made outreach calls, taught vacation Bible school and English as a Second Language classes, and participated in summer Bible camp.

John Paustian, who served at Peace, Eagle River, Alaska, is thankful for the opportunity. “Pastor [Brian] Hackmann got me involved very quickly with the church,” he says. “The experience you gain is a great step in the right direction to further strengthening yourself as a pastor.”

His hands-on experience was all the practical aspects of preparing for vacation Bible school: making sign-up forms, advertising at local businesses, helping build a cardboard boat float for two parades, and making door-to-door visits to get the word out. All the work paid off. “The VBS was a huge success and the church had over 150 children register,” Paustian says. “There were many families who were unchurched and we used VBS to visit every child’s home with a CD/DVD of the songs they had sung.”

Summer assistants don’t simply help a church with projects, they also receive on-the-job training. Paustian preached four new sermons, assisted with liturgy, and led Bible class. “Pastor Hackmann worked with me throughout all these tasks and helped me to continue to grow,” he says.

For all the practical ways he participated in the life of the church—and the bonus of a summer in Alaska—”ultimately, the best part was getting to know people and being a part of their lives, sharing stories, struggles, and even great successes. And that is what ministry is about—people,” he explains. “Getting to know them enhances how you can serve them in conversation, in your worship together, and in their life as a whole.”

Learn more about Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary at www.wls.wels.net.

Initial planning for the ministry financial plan

During the month of August, all areas of the synod’s ministry began initial work on the synod’s Ministry Financial Plan (budget) for the next 2015-2017 biennium.

The first step in the process was the adoption of a “support forecast.” This is an estimation, based on future projections and historical patterns, of the financial support from all sources likely to be available in the next two years. This forecast will continue to be modified as circumstances change in the next six to eight months.

The current forecast is a conservative one. It asks areas of ministry to submit plans that assume no increase in financial support over the current year. Since our prayer is that available financial support will increase, areas of ministry have also been asked to outline their plans if God blesses us with such increases.

Once the various areas of ministry and other departments submit their initial proposals, it is the responsibility of the synod president to craft a comprehensive Ministry Financial Plan for the entire work of the synod. An initial draft of this comprehensive plan is presented to the President’s Advisory Council in late September for reaction and suggested modifications. The plan, with any changes made, is then submitted to the Synodical Council (SC) for its initial consideration in November. In February, after the 2015 Congregation Mission Offering subscriptions are received and other financial information becomes available, the SC will adopt a final version of the plan and bring its recommendation to the synod convention next July. Along with the plan that it presents to the convention, the SC will also present a list of “unfunded priorities,” that is, programs and ministries that will be carried out if additional funding becomes available.

Even though this process involves a lot of discussion about dollars, it’s really not about money; it’s about ministry and how we work together to carry out the mission that God graciously given to us. The hours of planning for all involved reflects our desire to be faithful stewards of the financial resources God provides, to seize the opportunities that God is placing before us, and to provide the people of our synod with the information necessary to make wise and God-pleasing decisions about the work that we do together.

Serving in Christ,

President Mark Schroeder