WELS Members Give Generously for Hurricane Relief – Encouraging Word – September 2017

Members Give Generously for Hurricane Relief

Since the media began reporting on Hurricane Harvey just before Labor Day weekend through Hurricane Irma—as of yesterday—WELS Christian Aid and Relief has received 1,408 gifts totaling $291,957 from WELS members motivated by the love of Christ.

According to Rev. Rich Warnecke, a member of the board of WELS Christian Aid and Relief, assistance has begun in parts of Texas and Florida, but further assessment is still needed in both states of how to best work with local congregations to reach out to their communities with Christian love and support. You can read the latest updates regarding Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma and give to help those affected at wels.net.

CMO Setting Begins for 2018 – Encouraging Word – September 2017

CMO Setting Begins for 2018

The web form for gathering Congregation Mission Offering (CMO) subscriptions for 2018 opened Tues., Sept. 5, and will remain open through noon (Central) on Fri., Feb. 2, 2018. Instructions were mailed and e-mailed to congregations.

The CMO setting materials include a link to a video by the district president sharing updates on how the Lord is blessing efforts to spread the gospel. Kurt Lueneburg, director of WELS Ministry of Christian Giving, says, “It is great to see the districts so unified behind our synodical efforts to encourage offerings for the training and sending of gospel workers. I pray for a joyful response to support the many opportunities God is providing to share the gospel of Jesus Christ in an increasing number of places.” Congregational leaders are encouraged to share the video with their congregations.

WELS Endowments Distribute Funds – Encouraging Word – September 2017

WELS Endowments Distribute Funds

This past July WELS Foundation distributed $832,338 for synod ministry from the WELS endowment funds—$372,667 to Ministerial Education and $459,670 to Missions. The WELS endowments are permanent funds that hold $23.5 million at this point and distribute about three to four percent each year depending on investment performance.

Peace in Jesus Vietnamese Lutheran Church, located in Boise, Idaho, is directly funded by the Missions Endowment grant. This congregation has an active Vietnamese ministry that is in the early stages of reaching the lost in their home country of Vietnam. “We pray for the Lord’s continued blessings on this growing mission field,” says Sean Young, WELS director of Missions Operations, “and thank WELS members for their financial support in sharing the gospel with the world.”

Rev. Paul Prange, administrator for Ministerial Education, says of the grant, “When it comes to reducing the educational debt of Martin Luther College graduates, we appreciate the reliable annual distributions from the WELS endowment funds. The gifts there help students every year, which is helpful to the whole synod for the long-term.”

Helpful Hint – Encouraging Word – September 2017

Hold a Mission and Ministry Sunday

As we work together in Christ to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins to all people, there is value to increasing awareness, ownership, and participation in the kingdom endeavors Jesus gives to us. WELS is offering resources for holding a Mission and Ministry Sunday, modeled after the traditional mission festival. This is intended to be a celebration of God’s blessings on his church and a chance to renew our commitment to the Great Commission to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:18-20). Visit mcg.welsrc.net/mission-festival to learn more.

Words of Wisdom – Encouraging Word – September 2017

We Should Not Glory in Our Possessions

“Even if riches were to come to you in a rightful way, from God, do not rely on them and make mammon your God; for possessions are not given that we may rely on them and glory in them, which is futile and foolish, but that we may use and enjoy them and share them with others . . . Our possessions should be in our hands, not in our hearts. Thus St. Paul tells the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 7:31) that we should use the world as though we used it not.”

Plass, Ewald M. (Ed.). (1959) What Luther Says: An Anthology (Vol. 3). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House.