Rev. Ben Kratz
Rethinking Congregational Partnership: Men and Women Working Together in Christ’s Mission, Rev. Ben Kratz and Dawn Schulz
God is too creative to make carbon copies. Each individual is uniquely gifted. When these differences are rightly aligned, a congregation functions well. Differing viewpoints allow for better-informed decisions. Utilizing different skill sets allows an organization to better accomplish its mission. What a blessing that God has made us different. However, our cognitive and emotional differences, if not understood, can lead to miscommunication and misunderstanding.
A good partnership avoids this breakdown by each person striving to understand how the other thinks. They learn to recognize the value of perspective and expertise others bring to a discussion. It’s the same in a congregation. Workers need to understand how their individual strengths intersect and communicate in a way that is properly understood. The lay leader with a God-blessed, strategic mind needs to understand his well-intentioned analysis of a ministry effort may come across to others as being critical. The pastor or principal with God-given visionary-type leadership skills needs to understand that, if they don’t communicate correctly, they may be perceived as oblivious to current challenges.
The need to understand one another becomes all the more important as men and women work together in ministry. Since God designed the genders to be beautifully complementary, it means generally men and women look at things from different angles. They have different thoughts about what to prioritize and how to solve problems.
Churches often approach ministry by dividing the genders: men serve on this group; women serve on that group. Certainly, there are instances where this is necessary to uphold scriptural principles. However, there are also many gospel ministry efforts where those complementary gifts are best used together. How can we set these partnerships up to succeed? What would be helpful to know and understand to best make use of each other’s gifts? What can be done to avoid miscommunication and misunderstanding?
This practical presentation talks about how to better align the unique gifts of men and women within gospel ministry by answering these questions and sharing tips from leaders and team members serving together.
NOTE: This presentation can stand alone. However, it is also meant to be a partner presentation to the Rethinking Church Governance breakout. That breakout discusses ways congregations can define ministry teams and committees to allow for both men and women to serve together on them.
Rev. Ben Kratz
A 2003 graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Ben has served at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Birmingham, Ala., his entire ministry. He also currently serves as a pastoral advisor to WELS Women’s Ministry, as the South Atlantic District’s worship coordinator, as the chairman of the South Atlantic Called Worker Conference Planning Team, and as a chaplain for the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. Ben and his beautiful bride, Emily, have seven children.
Dawn graduated in 1996 from Martin Luther College. She taught grade school and tutored at Michigan Lutheran Seminary before moving to Canada with her husband to plant a church. There she ran her piano studio, raised her family, and served on various worship, outreach and women’s ministry teams. She currently serves as chairwoman for WELS Womens Minitry. In 2017 her husband was called to Delray Beach, Fla. Here Dawn oversees the shared systems and resources as campus coordinator for Divine Savior Church. Dawn has been married to Joel Schulz for 25 years. They love talking, playing games, watching soccer, and traveling with their children, Jonah and his wife, Tatum, Elijah, and Moira.