There are forty-three members of the incoming junior class at the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. When a person meets and works with them, they can confidently come away with the confidence and impression that the future of the gospel ministry in the WELS continues to be in good hands.
Praise and Proclaim Ministries had the privilege of partnering with Christ Alone Lutheran Church in Thiensville, WI to launch an outreach initiative September 27-28. This was the second of two initiatives conducted in partnership with the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. Two weeks prior, half of the junior class drove up to Fond du Lac, WI to participate with members from Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (see link).
And the Lord blessed our efforts.
Christ Alone Lutheran continues a historic presence of proclaiming God’s Word. In 2017, Calvary Lutheran Church consolidated with Trinity (founded in 1853 in south Mequon) to form a new congregation. Members felt that they were able to do outreach more effectively if they joined together. This is reflected in their mission statement:
To know Christ and to make his love known in our homes, communities, nation and world.
This outreach initiative served to enhance their efforts to make Christ’s love known in the surrounding neighborhoods. Despite stormy weather throughout the week, the Lord provided an umbrella on Saturday morning and afternoon. Thirty participants visited over a thousand homes and talked to over three hundred people. People were invited to attend an “Octoberfest” celebration on the campus of Christ Alone that also included an open house for prospective students to visit the school and preschool.
The participants were able to put their training into action and experience how to transition to proclaim a brief gospel message.
They also learned that when you treat people with love and respect, most people are going to be polite even though they may not be interested in attending church.
Even though some people in Thiensville told us that they already belonged to a church, there were others who expressed interest to learn more about the church and school or attend the Octoberfest event.
Wisconsin is a great mission field.
This was our sixth outreach initiative in Wisconsin this year. Once considered heavily churched, we are helping congregations realize that there are people in their community who don’t know Jesus and are receptive to the gospel. We are meeting people who are appreciating meeting a face from a church. We are meeting young families that may have sporadically attended a church in their youth, but no longer feel compelled to enter a church’s door on Sunday morning. They are reachable and willing to hear a reason for the hope that a believer has in Christ.
We rejoiced that fifteen teams went out on Saturday morning and afternoon and planted 148 “solid” gospel seeds. We trust that the power of God’s Word was unleashed in the words that were spoken.
During debriefing time on Saturday afternoon, the seminarians seemed to enjoy using the expression of planting “solid” gospel seeds. They were referring to times when Christians may mention the name of Jesus in a conversation, or the use the term “blessed” as a definition to profess their faith. However, the reason for the hope we have in Christ is not given. The participants learned a short outline presented by Praise and Proclaim and took advantage of small windows of opportunity to quickly transition to proclaiming a short gospel message. They learned how to utilize tools (postcards, invitations) to engage people and start a spiritual conversation in a comfortable way. They learned that there is a difference between outreach (engaging) and evangelism (proclaiming) and the power of merging both in a congregation’s mission strategy.
Mission minded congregations are far more interested in bringing as many people as possible to heaven than they are in finding new church members. This prevailing thought sustains outreach momentum. It is God’s business to work in the hearts and minds through the gospel message and it is a Christian believer’s business is getting the Word out. It is becoming imperative for congregations to bring the Word to the neighborhood instead of relying solely on inviting people to come and hear the Word.
We thank the Lord for the ongoing gospel ministry at Christ Alone Lutheran Church and ask him to bless the seminary training of the forty-three men (and wives) who participated in this evangelism event.