Keynote Speakers

Rev. Kurt Wetzel

Rev. Kurt Wetzel

Cross of Christ, Boise, Ida.

Better Together: Men and Women Embracing Interdependence in Ministry

Jenn Nobui

Jenn Nobui

General Manager, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Neenah, Wis.

Better Together: Men and Women Embracing Interdependence in Ministry

Rev. Adam Mueller

Rev. Adam Mueller

Redeemer, Tucson, Ariz.

Crucifying Consumer Mentality: The Vital Need to Commit Ourselves to Christ’s Mission

Rev. Jon Schroeder

Rev. Jon Schroeder

Faith Lutheran, Sharpsburg, Ga.

Finding Our Voice

Rev. David Rosenau

Rev. David Rosenau

St. Mark, Leesburg, Fla.

One by One: Revitalizing a Congregation

Rev. Joel Heckendorf

Rev. Joel Heckendorf

Light of the Valleys, Reno, Nev.

Serving Together without Serving Together: A Closer Look at the Relationship between Lay Leaders & Called Workers

John Tappe

John Tappe

Laymember, Immanuel, Medford, Wis.

Serving Together without Serving Together: A Closer Look at the Relationship between Lay Leaders & Called Workers

Breakout Presentations

Do you wonder if your constitution fits your congregation? Pastor Huenber will share some best practices about how to organize your congregational governance in a way that best serves the gospel in your context.

Apologetics is vital in our effort to prepare our children to face a post-Christian world. It is crucial in helping our members share the gospel. Dr. Berg shares how congregations can make better use of apologetics, incorporating it into various aspects of congregational ministry.

Moved by the love of Christ, the early Christian church embraced all sorts of compassion ministry: helping the sick, the poor, the lonely. It won them an audience for the gospel. Pastor Behringer shares why and how we can do the same.

If your congregational plans consist of nothing more than a calendar, budget, and mission statement, you are not using planning to its full potential. Pastor Hein will share some best practics, demonstrate how to accomplish more with your plans.

How well do the people in your community understand your church? Just as importantly, how well do the leaders in your church understand your community? Pastor Bourman will help congregations understand the importance of connecting to community.

There perhaps is an assumption that an early childhood ministry (ECM) will always have outreach potential. Is that true? Cindy Holman helps congregations consider if they should start an ECM and share best practices for trying to evangelize unchurched parents.

The Great Commission urges us to “make disicples of all nations.” Those nations are not just oversees. Your congregation’s parish area may be multi-ethnic. The opportunity is there! Dr. Fisher discusses how to lead your congregation to embrace that opportunity.

How do we better equip our leaders to guide our congregations through the myriad of challenges before American Christianity? How do we identify and motivate the next generation of congregational leaders. Dr. Sorum helps us answer these questions.

Does your congregation have a system in place that not only helps people discover their gifts and passions but also connects them with meaningful ministry. Lori Lorig gives an example of such a system that could be utilized in any congregation.

Pastor Roecker explains why, in post-Christian America, corporate outreach is not enough. Personal evangelism is paramount. He shares some best practices in equipping and encouraging personal witnessing.

Your Lutheran elementary school is most likely funded out of congregational offerings. Do the demographics of your church allow for that to be a long-term funding model? If not, what is the solution? Dr. Lemke talks about ways to ensure your Lutheran school is sustainable.

Does your congregation use social media, yet it seems like it gets little traction? Trish Nitschke runs the social media for Time of Grace. Her posts get tens of thousands of views. Let her share some best practices that are applicable to any church or ministry.

Millennials and Generation Z have opted out of church in unprecedented numbers. Pastor Thompson will explain why this is happening. He will also lay out some best practices, tactics that have proven fruitful in reaching these generations with the gospel.

You probably know that American Christianity is in decline. Did you know that congregations that have a culture of high expectations for members are faring better than most? Pastor Dobberstein shares how to establish high expectations in different areas of congregational life without being legalistic.

If you just change the music, will prospects be pounding down your church doors, eager to join? If you alter your worship style, does that mean you will retain all your young people? Is it that simple? Pastor Christe leads us in a discussion of best practices for worship in the 21st century.

Of all the positions of service within a congregation, perhaps none has evolved more over recent generations than that of principal. Jim Rademan, director of the Commission on Lutheran Schools, discusses how to structure the principal position in a way most conducive to gospel ministry.

Do you want to retain young members? There is one factor that is substantially more important than anything else — the spiritual activity and discussions that take place in the home. Dr. Huebner shares some best practices for encouraging and equipping parents to be the primary disciples of their children.

Some have suggested churches in small-town America are doomed. Not only is that patently false, the reality is that in some ways congregations in small towns can impact more people with the gospel than congregations in dense population centers. Pastor Fricke shares some best practices for rural ministry.

Is ambition in the church a good thing or a bad thing? It depends on if we are seeking God’s glory or our own. Pastor Leyrer explains how the Spirit, through his Word, channels ambition into a desire to attempt great things for God. He also lays out practical ways for a pastor to engage in ambitious ministry.

With the proliferation of the internet, the way people consume content has changed. People wonder, “If I can watch a sermon online, what do I need to go to church for?” Part of the answer: Christian community. Pastor Hein shares some best practices for establishing that community through small groups.

If your congregation is not using social media, it is missing out on one of the most powerful communication tools available to the church today. It allows you to communicate with thousands of people quickly. Trish Nitschke shares some simple tactics to get your congregation started.

St. Paul encouraged Titus to train women to teach other women. Why? Kathie Wendland explores the different ways men and women deal with information and make applications. She also shares some best practices for establishing more women’s led Bible studies in your congregation.

Collaboration and shared decision making between pastor and lay leader is important, no matter wha the congregation’s size. It becomes of paramount importance in a larger congregation. Mark Reinemann shares some best practices for organizing and managing operations in our larger churches.

What constitutes healthy youth ministry? It takes more than lock-ins or camping trips. Pastor Enter shares some best practices to help your congregation conduct a youth ministry that disciples children, helps retain them in their high-school years, and prepares them for leadership.

Women are leaving the church in greater numbers than men. Many cite the reason being that their gifts were not utilized. The body of Christ needs the gifts of women to be unleashed. Sally Valleskey shares some practical ways women’s ministry can be organized in your congregation.

Why Should I Attend this Conference?


  1. The gospel is the power of God for salvation. It alone has the power to create and sustain faith in Jesus Christ. There is no way to God except through Christ. Therefore, the mission of the Church is to proclaim the gospel, carrying it to every corner of the world.
  2. God expects the Christian to use his reason and intellect, gifts God himself gives as part of his image, to formulate how to best proclaim the gospel in his corner of the world.

Questions? Contact Us.

Please use the WELS contact form to submit any questions you have about the WELS National Conference on Lutheran Leadership.