There are 47 breakout presentations presented by 61 presenters. Download a PDF of the presentations.
All Aboard! A Congregational Approach to Youth Ministry - Rev. Kyle Bitter and Dana Leyrer
Who in the congregation is responsible for youth ministry? In this session, Rev. Kyle Bitter and Dana Leyrer describe a congregational approach to youth ministry developed at St. John’s in Wauwatosa and discuss the impact a vibrant youth ministry can have on other areas of congregational life.
An Honest Conversation with WELS Teens - Rev. Dr. Phil Huebner
A fair number of younger members drop out of church not too long after confirmation. This breakout brings together a panel of younger WELS members who serve as leaders in their schools and among their young peers. We will hear their thoughts about life, church, and ministry.
Ask and You Shall Receive: Fundraising for Your Ministry - Josh Birkholz
For many Christian leaders, asking for money is among the least favorite aspects of their work. In this dynamic session, Josh Birkholz, international fundraising leader and author, will try to make it easier.
Balancing Our Roles in Family and Church - Rev. Don and Mary Patterson
Church leaders and their spouses have a unique challenge as they serve their own families and the greater people of God. Mary and Don will discuss the core values every church leader must follow in order to be a blessing in both family and church.
Building a Foundation to Reach Your Community - Dana Kirchoff
As we seek to reach more people in our ministries, many opportunities present themselves to aid our earthly efforts. Dana Kirchoff will help participants gain an understanding of how to build a strong foundation for reaching their communities.
Christian Giving Now and for the Future - Rev. Kurt Lueneburg and Adam Goede
God’s gifted people, motivated by Christ’s love, overflow in generous giving. This presentation gives pastors and church leaders options and resources for helping WELS members with their regular, special, and legacy gifts.
Congregation at the Crossroads: Five Questions for a Challenged Church - Rev. Jonathan Hein
Everyone knows that overall church membership has been in decline for a half-century. Many churches are contracting to a size which challenges their existence. In this session, Rev. Jon Hein will walk through five questions challenged congregations need to prayerfully consider.
Creating a Congregational Communications Plan - Wendy Kuschel
Many challenges congregations face—from a lack of volunteerism to a general apathy about ministry—stem from poor communication. Wendy Kuschel will help participants understand how they can create a system for effective communication within their congregation.
Critical Theory: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly - Rev. Dr. Michael Berg
What is a Christian to make of our current culture? It seems like the world has gone crazy! This breakout session will explore some of the philosophical underpinnings of our current culture, especially critical theory.
Cross-cultural / Multi-cultural / Intercultural: Which One Works for You? - Rev. Timothy Flunker
What can we do to share the Gospel with the ethnic minorities growing in number around our congregations? This presentation will share questions to ask to find the answers that will best suit your ministry.
Culture Shifting – How to Make It Happen - Kurt Nitz
Your congregation has a culture that can either help or hurt your ministry. Kurt Nitz will explain culture-shaping principles to help plan and start a culture-shifting journey.
Depression and the Church Leader - Rev. Kurt Ebert and Dan Nommensen
Mental health challenges are on the rise. Being a church leader doesn’t mean you are immune. Dan Nommensen and Pastor Ebert will describe important resources available for leaders who want to help others with depression or struggle with it themselves.
Doing Good to All People: The Crucial Role of Compassion Ministry in a Congregation’s Plans to Reach the Community - Rev. Dan Sims and Rev. Ryan Kolander
Preach the Word. How does showing compassion to those in need serve this mission of the church? Rev. Dan Sims and Rev. Ryan Kolander will discuss the theology of compassion ministry and share examples and best practices for an active ministry of compassion in a local community.
Effective, Mission-Driven Meetings - Rev. Justin Cloute and Sean Young
How long do your church meetings last? Do you leave feeling you accomplished anything substantial? Rev. Justin Cloute and Sean Young will discuss general principles for running effective meetings that help a congregation fulfill its mission.
Empowering Your Members to Serve - Lori Lorig
Many churches rely on pastors, staff ministers, and teachers to do ministry. In this workshop, Lori Lorig lays out a system where church leaders are responsible for engaging, equipping, and empowering members for ministry.
Every Member Evangelism: How to Encourage and Equip People in the Pews to Reach the Lost - Rev. Eric Roecker
Today, the majority of Americans have no affiliation with any church. Yet, they are still interested in exploring spiritual matters with people they know and trust. Pastor Roecker will discuss the importance personal witnessing and simple ways congregations can prepare their people to be the salt and light Christ has said we are.
Force-Multiplied Lutheran Leadership - Prof. E. Allen Sorum and Chuck Ulland
Expanding your ministry efforts doesn’t necessarily mean you need to expand the number of called workers at your church. Mr. Chuck Ulland and Prof. E. Allen Sorum will discuss how the current shortage of pastoral leadership allows for the development and platforming of lay leadership in a way that directly expands efforts to share the gospel.
Intergenerational Ministry That Works - Rev. Bill Monday
64% of Generation Z are leaving the church. Millennial stats historically show the same. What will this mean for the future? Intergenerational ministry is key. So, what does intergenerational ministry look like? Learn the answers to these questions and more.
Leadership in a World That Does Not Recognize Jesus - Steve Hansen
In a world that is openly hostile to Jesus and his followers, how are we to be effective leaders in our vocation, that station in life the Lord has assigned to us? How do we have confidence to lead in our world when so many openly criticize what we stand for? Steve Hanson will share thoughts and experiences which will provide some leadership guidance in approaching such situations.
Leadership Matters: How to Identify and Develop Leaders to Multiply Ministry - Prof. David Scharf
Prof. Scharf will lead participants to look at the importance, not just of identifying potential leaders, but providing the organizational and spiritual training needed to lead in Christ’s church.
Leadership Skills Used in Industry and Ministry - Chip Woods
Chip Woods will dive into leadership skills and abilities developed in industry that can also be used for Christ’s glory in gospel ministry.
Light in the Darkness: Engaging the Unchurched through Community Involvement - Rev. Matt Vogt
In an increasingly secular world, how do we establish relationships and build bridges with the unchurched in our communities? Rev. Vogt will talk about innovative ways to do just that.
Living in Godly Wisdom: The Pressure on Women to “Have It All” - Naomi Schmidt
In this presentation Naomi Schmidt helps women think through how to maintain a Christ-centered balance in a world that is screaming, “You can have it all! You should do it all!”
Making It Real: Intentional Strategies for Modeling Gospel-Centered Unity - Dr. Joan Prince and Rev. Dr. Kenneth Fisher
In this keynote follow-up, Dr. Joan Prince and Pastor Ken Fisher continue the conversation around modeling gospel-centered unity with intentional strategies for moving from concepts to reality.
Marrying Truth and Love: Preparing For and Speaking about LGBTQIA+ - Rev. Greg Lyon
Many of us are trying to figure out what to do for the individuals we care about who are struggling with LGBTQIA+ issues. Pastor Lyon will discuss foundational biblical truths and tips for how to share them in love.
Moving the Needle: What Matters (and What Doesn’t) in Ministry - Rev. Adam Mueller
Few topics are more important to Lutheran leaders than congregational health. Learn and discuss what ministry and forms of ministry are worth our focus and attention, and which others amount to little more than pious activism.
Not Just True, But Also Good - Rev. Caleb Bassett
The challenge facing our churches may no longer be the question, “Is Christianity true?” but “Is Christianity good?” This breakout session will offer analysis of significant cultural challenges facing Lutheran churches as well as a roadmap and toolkit for leaders.
Opening Minds to Closing the Funding Gap: Financial Sustainability in Our Schools - Paul Patterson
In previous generations WELS Lutheran elementary schools operated with low (or even no) tuition. Today, that has become challenging, for multiple reasons. In this presentation we will explore some best practices for addressing the financial sustainability of your WELS school.
All Things Christian Worship - Panel Discussion
Many congregations have questions about the new Christian Worship and the volume of resources that are available. In this presentation, you will have the opportunity to bring those questions to a panel consisting of leaders of the Hymnal Project.
Plan, Execute, Evaluate: Implementing an Integrated Outreach Plan in Your Congregation - Rev. Jonathan Schroeder
We want our congregations would reach more people for Christ. But it rarely happens naturally. What can we do? Pastor Schroeder will lead a discussion on how to develop and execute plan that builds a culture of outreach in your congregation, that encourages personal evangelism, and that implements harvest strategies across your congregational ministries.
Preaching for the Unchurched: Remembering the Non-Member Audience - Prof. Joel Russow
How should the presence of visitors impact a pastor’s sermon preparation and proclamation? The reality is that sermons will have two audiences—church members and non-members. Prof. Russow will discuss the importance of preaching with the non-member audience in mind, while edifying members too.
Renewing Expectations of Church Membership: The Post-COVID Challenge - Rev. Donn Dobberstein
COVID-19 has changed American Christianity forever. Churches leaned heavily into technology to share the gospel. Now congregations have members who prefer to worship at home when they want. Pastor Dobberstein will explore ways to lovingly and evangelically communicate expectations for church members and their connection to the means of grace.
Rethinking Congregational Governance - Rev. Jay Zahn and Haley Meier
Many WELS congregations have consistent trouble filling elected positions. Also, WELS women often feel they have no way to share thoughts about congregational ministry. For these reasons, many congregations are rethinking the organizational structure and governance model of their church.
Rethinking Congregational Partnership: Men and Women Working Together in Christ’s Mission - Rev. Ben Kratz and Dawn Schulz
Churches often approach ministry by dividing the genders. 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. This practical presentation talks about how to better align the unique gifts of men and women within gospel ministry.
Safeguarding Our Schools - Panel Discussion
It’s not if you get sued; it’s when you’ll get sued. In our changing world, it’s critical to position our schools for success while minimizing potential lawsuits. This panel discussion will cover many topics that challenge our schools today.
Second-Career Ministry: Serving the Same God in a Different Way - Rev. David Rosenau
Has changing careers crossed your mind? If so, have you considered full-time ministry? Pastor David Rosenau, whose first career was in law enforcement but now serves as a parish pastor, will walk you through the considerations.
Strengthening Your Ministry Teams - Rev. Don Sutton
The Lord’s work is far too important to let something like inadequate teamwork stand in the way. Pastor Sutton will explore ways to enhance teamwork through The Five Essentials of a Ministry Team.
Stretching Your Worship Within Lutheran Parameters - Prof. Aaron Christie
A principled approach to worship comes with a significant possible pitfall: That our worship becomes stayed or stagnant. In this workshop, Professor Christie will encourage your congregation to spot that which is stagnant and then stretch your worship life.
The Least of These: Implementing Child Protection Policies, Personal Safety Education, and other Reforms to Keep Safe the Children God has Entrusted to our Churches and Schools -Victor Vieth
Most Christian churches and schools lack child protection policies and training or, if they have training and policies, it falls well below what child abuse experts recommend. Victor Vieth provides an overview of best practices for implementing training and policies for called workers, volunteers, children, and parents.
The Possibility and Power of Small Group Ministry - Rev. James Hein
Every single WELS church has small groups—smaller segments of members that come together outside of worship. How can these groups be organized for gospel ministry? This session will include practical discussion on how to start up a vibrant small group ministry program.
The Relationship Between Lay Leaders and Called Workers - John Fowler and Rev. Charles Westra
Lay Leader. Called Worker. It’s fascinating how we describe the people who serve side-by-side in God’s kingdom. Mr. John Fowler and Rev. Charles Westra will share thoughts and tools for strengthening the vital ministry partnership between these two groups.
There Is a Time to Build - Tom Schermerhorn
This presentation will discuss how to organize and prepare a congregation for a successful building program while avoiding some potential pitfalls.
They’re Here! Now What? Connecting School and ECM Families to Your Church - Cindi Holman
In recent years, many of our Lutheran schools and early childhood ministries (ECMs) have welcomed a significant number of new families. Cindi Holman will discuss strategies that help build relationships with prospect families, relationships that can lead to opportunities to share the gospel with both the children and their parents.
Tools and Guidance in Times of Teacher and Leader Vacancies - Jim Rademan
WELS schools and early childhood ministries continue to operate, and many are enjoying growth at a time of high school leader and teacher vacancies. This sectional will provide both tools and guidance for dealing with teacher and leader vacancies.
Transformational Discipleship: A Holistic Rethinking of Discipleship Ministries - Rev. Ben Workentine and Laura Albers
What if we could guide every Christian towards his or her purpose and mission inside their Great Commission calling? This breakout session will introduce the concepts of transformational discipleship to help orient better discipleship efforts within your congregation.
What’s Big Starts Small: Six Threats to the Great Faith God Wants to Grow in You - Rev. Mike Novotny
In the parable of the sower, our Savior warned us about the six specific threats to great faith. This presentation will help you identify the specific threats to your faith and, with the Spirit’s help, protect God’s Word until it grows into the harvest that our Sower in heaven always intended.
“Who Am I?” – The Crisis Among Teens Today - Rev. Dr. Phil Huebner
The pressures, challenges, and real-life problems that teens experience today could not have been foreseen by previous generations. The presentation will offer real life counseling suggestions to those who work with, teach, pastor, or lead teens.