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Women’s ministry conference – being “living stones”

“You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:5). 

The focal point of the upcoming 2019 WELS Women’s Ministry Conference, being held at Luther Preparatory School, Watertown, Wis., July 18–20, is living stones and how Christian women are called to be a part of something bigger. Dawn Schulz, conference coordinator, says the committee chose 1 Peter as the conference’s inspiration because it’s a great encouragement to women.  

“A living stone is a woman who uses her God-given talents and gifts to build up God’s kingdom and bless those around her, wherever that may be,” Schulz says. “Just like Jesus, we are special to God. We are chosen for a reason.”  

A range of speakers will discuss the topic of living stones in keynote addresses and breakout sessions. One of the main points of the conference is how Christians fit together, like stones on a building. Each stone possesses unique qualities to serve God’s kingdom. To emphasize this point, the speakers have a range of backgrounds, including a lawyer, a pastor, and a ministry coordinator.  

“We wanted to provide opportunities for a wide scope of presentations,” Schulz says. “The speakers that were chosen are people that have been speaking and researching God’s Word and will bring light to the fact that God uses every single person in his kingdom.” 

The conference will also dive into how Christian women should look at the individuality of each person to more effectively share the gospel. For example, a young adult ministry professional as well as a panel of college students will emphasize how to reach younger generations today. 

At the end of the conference, Schulz hopes women walk away feeling more confident in their purpose as a part of God’s spiritual house. She says, This conference is going to nurture women in God’s Word, encourage them by bringing them together with other Christian sisters, and equip them with resources.” 


For more information on the Women’s Ministry Conference and to register, visit wels.net/wmconference. 


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Author: Gabriella Moline
Volume 106, Number 3
Issue: March 2019

Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2019
Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us

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Women’s ministry conference highlights being “living stones”

“You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).

The focal point of the upcoming 2019 WELS Women’s Ministry Conference, being held at Luther Preparatory School, Watertown, Wis., July 18–20, is “living stones” and how Christian women are called to be a part of something bigger.

Mrs. Dawn Schulz, conference coordinator, says the committee chose 1 Peter as the conference’s inspiration because it’s a great encouragement to women. “A ‘living stone’ is a woman who uses her God-given talents and gifts to build up God’s kingdom and to bless those around her, wherever that may be,” Schulz says. “Just like Jesus, we are special to God. We are chosen for a reason.”

A range of speakers will discuss the topic of living stones in keynote addresses and breakout sessions. One of the main points of the conference is how Christians fit together, like stones on a building. Each stone possesses unique qualities to serve God’s kingdom. To emphasize this point, the speakers have a range of backgrounds, including a lawyer, a pastor, and a ministry coordinator.

“We wanted to provide opportunities for a wide scope of presentations,” Schulz says. “The speakers who were chosen are people who have been speaking and researching God’s Word and will bring light to the fact that God uses every single person in his kingdom.”

The conference also will dive into how Christian women should look at the individuality of each person to more effectively share the gospel. For example, a young adult ministry professional as well as a panel of college students will emphasize how to reach younger generations today.

At the end of the conference, Schulz hopes women walk away feeling more confident in their purpose as a part of God’s spiritual house. She says, “This conference is going to nurture women in God’s Word, encourage them by bringing them together with other Christian sisters, and equip them with resources.”

For more information on the Women’s Ministry Conference and to register, visit wels.net/wmconference.

Social media expands reach and offers more connections

It started with wanting to offer more women in a congregation the opportunity to study together.

Corissa Nelson, wife of the pastor at Good Shepherd, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, decided to start a midweek women’s Bible class using 2000 Demons by Professor E. Allen Sorum as the base of the study. With short chapters, already included questions, and a riveting topic, the book seemed a perfect fit.

The problem: finding time during the week when most women could meet. Also congregation members are scattered, many living at least half an hour from church.

The solution: social media.

Nelson decided to create a Facebook group where she would post a question or two a day related to that week’s reading. Members of the group could comment and share their thoughts and ideas. While a small group from the church still met in person each week, this allowed more people who couldn’t make weekday meetings to participate.

But Nelson didn’t stop there. “Once I realized that we had bridged those miles, I determined we could invite anyone to be in the study,” she says. As part of the WELS Women’s Ministry Development Committee, Nelson thought offering this online opportunity for Bible study would be a great way to build community for all WELS women. So WELS Women’s Ministry began promoting this Bible study opportunity on its Facebook page.

More than 600 women from around the country (and even some from abroad) joined the group throughout the course of the monthlong Bible study, which concluded this past February. Nelson said between 300 to 500 of these were active, returning often to the site even if they didn’t always post comments.

Nelson says that having this broader group involved helped Good Shepherd, a smaller, isolated congregation, feel more connected to the synod and other WELS members. “They were able to connect with other mature Christians and learn from them,” she says.

Others commented on Facebook that they too had difficulty getting to a Bible study and appreciated this additional opportunity to study God’s Word. “Although it’s not as perfect as everyone sitting around a table and sharing ideas, it really can encourage more people to have some personal study and connect with other women,” says Nelson.

Nelson is offering another women’s Bible study, which will start April 9. This one, written by her husband Rev. Marques Nelson, will be on getting women involved in evangelism, based on the book of Acts. To join, go to facebook.com/groups/WMStudyGSLCR.

Learn more about WELS Women’s Ministry at wels.net/women.

Equipping women to mentor

“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” This was the theme for the recent Women’s Ministry Conference held in July. Approximately 350 women from around the country met at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wis., to get encouraged by and equipped with God’s Word.

The conference explored how Christian women serve as mentors to those around them. Marilyn Miller, chairwoman of WELS Women’s Ministry, says, “Women are natural mentors and do it without even thinking about it. This conference helped Christian women realize how their words and actions reflect Christ wherever they might find themselves. It is our prayer that women will intentionalize their mentoring, letting God use them to shape the character and transform the thinking of everyone with whom they come into contact. God is in the business of changing hearts, and I know he will do just that through some of the women who joined us last week.”

Su Hansen attended the conference from Redeemer, Tomahawk, Wis. She summed up the conference with one main word: “Encouragement.” She says, “It’s a very godly way to gather together sisters in Christ and grow together and encourage one another in our various callings.”

Attendee Ahnsharee Klusmeyer, Peace, Wautoma, Wis., finds it important for Christian women to gather around God’s Word. She says, “It’s good for women to have fellowship with each other, especially knowing we’re all coming from the same Christian background based on the Bible.”

Presenters led Bible study sessions examining how Christ is the ultimate mentor and how to model one’s mentoring after his.

Kathie Wendland, a member of the Women’s Ministry Committee, led a study titled “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ,” which focused on the apostle Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. She says, “Time after time Paul in all of his epistles clearly points all Christian eyes to Jesus Christ himself as the only one who as true God understood perfectly the humble servant attitude necessary to demonstrate that humble servant attitude in word and action in a hostile world.”

Dawn Schulz, a member of the Women’s Ministry Committee, led a study titled “Jesus–A mentor for me.” “As a mentor my identity, purpose, priorities, words, and actions are all determined by the fact that I am God’s child because of Jesus. Jesus not only shows me how to live in this grace, he teaches me how to mentor it to others by understanding their individual and diverse needs, giving them time to grow, and living transparently in order to set before them a living picture of a life patterned after Jesus,” she says.

WELS Women’s Ministry, part of the WELS Commission on Adult Discipleship, holds a conference every three years; the next conference will be held in 2019. Learn more about WELS Women’s Ministry.

View photos from this year’s event.
2016 Women's Ministry Conference

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Thanks for the guidance

A letter to a mentor helps us understand the importance of Christian encouragement and example.

Dawn E. Schulz


Dear Christian Mentor,

I’m not exactly sure where to start. I have so much to say. I came across the Bible you gave me the other day, and a flood of memories has been swirling around my head ever since. I just can’t let another day go by without saying, “Thank you!” God has used you in so many ways to shape the Christian woman I am today. Words can never express how grateful I am to him for the gift of you.

I’m not sure if you remember this, but there was one day I left a note in your office saying, “I am DONE!” Done with trying. Done with giving. Done with loving. Done with it all. I was hurt, frustrated, and felt very misunderstood. I should have known then how special you are to put up with my drama.

Do you remember what you did?

You found me in the halls of my dorm and gave me your One Year NIV Bible. You said I didn’t need to quit. I needed to change my perspective. “Start with Romans 5:3,4,” you said. “We glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

And that was it. My bumper boat of emotions was placed right back in the middle of the path with God’s Word to light the way.

That’s just what you do. In difficulty and trial. In joy and celebration. In work and relaxing times. Whether intentional or unaware you have always lovingly guided me back to Jesus through God’s Word. Scripture has embedded itself in your heart, convinced you of who you are in Christ, and motivated your every action. And you have never missed an opportunity to share that biblical identity with me in the hopes that mine would be the same.

You aren’t just one person. You are the many people God has used in my life. My mom, grandma, aunt, and sister. My teacher, my friend, my coworker, and even the lady I hardly know at church. Some of our relationships have lasted a lifetime, while others have been a brief season. Each of you has different backgrounds, talents, challenges, and strengths. But there is one thing all of you have in common. You have shown me an example of what it is to be a Christian woman because you have followed the example of Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:1).

Your mentoring hasn’t always been as direct as handing me a Bible and telling me to read. Often a subtle glance or tap on the shoulder was all it took to remind me I was heading toward the cliff of slander or disrespect. You rarely told me what to do, but rather helped to reveal pure motives or selfish intent through questions of genuine interest in my life. When you shared frustrations or disappointments from your own life you always ended with thanksgiving to God for his salvation, guidance, and answer to prayer. You never spoke as if you had all the answers. You didn’t need to. God had them. And that was what mattered.

Even more than words, I observed your practices. If “actions speak louder than words,” your life has been a megaphone. I’ve watched you make wise use of your time for the benefit of family, friends, and God’s kingdom of believers. Often that meant sacrifices of sleep, resources, and personal comfort. But that didn’t matter. You did it as if serving the Lord. I’ve witnessed you make tough decisions despite ridicule because they were in line with God’s standards. I’ve observed you navigate the work world as a professional who never forgets she is God’s child first. You’ve demonstrated limitless generosity that freely gives—even through hurt and rejection. You have shown me that sometimes a harsh word needs to be said, but there will always be forgiveness and reconciliation. ALWAYS. Your heart has been changed by the grace of Jesus Christ, and you live it every day. Everything you do is a way to honor him and say thank you.

You also knew the best way for me to learn would be to invite me into your life instead of watch as an outsider.

The thing is, I’m pretty sure you didn’t even know you were doing this. You’re probably horrified I’m making all this fuss. But Jesus said it would be like that on the Last Day, right? “ ‘Lord, when did we see you . . .?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’ ” (Matthew 25:37-40).

I’m taking the time to finally say thank you because I realize with great appreciation what a blessing a Christian mentor is. In my naïveté, I assumed everyone had you in their life. I thought every woman had a mentor to nurture, encourage, and equip her according to God’s Word. But that’s not the case. I look around and see the selfish and inconsistent icons of our culture luring the unaware down confusing and destructive paths. The world today tells women their value and identity comes from what they do instead of who they are because of Jesus. The cheap alternatives of title, achievement, and appearance are promoted by society instead of the qualities of biblical womanhood like diligence, wisdom, generosity, and dignity found in Proverbs 31.

I often talk with women caught in the middle of these conflicting standards. They want the answers to life’s questions about relationships, parenting, career choices, and womanhood. They are frustrated, confused, and about ready to be DONE!

And that’s when I think of you and smile. I tell them they don’t need to quit. They just need to change their perspective. And then we open the Bible to see the guidance God’s Word has to give.

You’ve showed me that’s what a mentor does. She lovingly shares her faith and life through relationships in order to build up believers and show Christ to unbelievers. Thank you for giving me a picture of what that looks like. And thank you for the encouragement to let me know I can do the same.

May God continue to bless the lives of those around you as you have blessed mine.

Love,
Dawn


Dawn Schulz is a member at Cross of Life, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

 

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Author: Dawn E. Schulz
Volume 103, Number 5
Issue: May 2016

Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2019
Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us

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Women’s Ministry committee meets

The Women’s Ministry Committee, part of the WELS Commission on Adult Discipleship, met last week at the WELS Center for Mission and Ministry, Waukesha, Wis. The gathering included all members of the executive, development, conference planning, and congregational ministries teams. The full group meets once every two to three years.

Naomi Schmidt, a member of the executive team, says, “Having the opportunity to sit down at a table, face to face, allowed us to make tremendous strides on several important projects. It also allowed us to spend several hours in Bible study together, giving us the strong foundation of Scripture to guide and motivate all we do. The unity we experienced deepened friendships to the glory of God and was a blessing that makes the communication so much easier.”

The women used their time at the conference to make headway on conference planning for their upcoming 2016 Women’s Ministry Conference on July 21-23, 2016, at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wis.

In addition to conference planning, the committee made plans to continue developing resources such as devotions, Bible studies, and Advent by Candlelight programs for women and women’s groups in congregations. All resources are available for free online atwww.wels.net/women.