About the Institute

The Institute for Worship and Outreach is a group of WELS pastors who have become convinced, on the basis of study and ministry experiences, that worship forms and outreach methods can and must intersect confessionally and evangelically in efforts to proclaim the gospel of Jesus. With this perspective, they have come together to assist and encourage pastors as they strive for excellence in public worship and mission outreach.

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Blog
April 11, 2012

Take Advantage of Available Resources

I realized early in my ministry that I needed to take advantage of the expertise of those around me who seemed to be doing things well. In the never ending “to do list” of parish ministry, it seems wise to me that the parish pastor make use of the help that is available to him as he carries out his ministry. In my opinion, there are some good resources available to us to assist us in training our fellow Christians for outreach ministry.

Charles Westra serves as pastor of Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church in Columbia, TN. In addition to his congregational duties, Pastor Westra serves as the chairman for the WELS Board for Home Missions.

Blog
March 27, 2012

Lent and Easter is such a busy time in the worship life of the Church! But it’s also a fantastic time for outreach. Easter is a holiday when unchurched people are likely to come to worship for the first time. Don’t forget to make use of all your resources to invite your prospects to worship with you on Easter.

Here are a few outreach items we’re working on during this week before Holy Week. Can you try any of these in your congregation? Can you expand any current efforts? These examples are offered for your consideration:

Jonathan Schroeder is the pastor of Faith Lutheran in Sharpsburg, GA. He serves as the Moderator of the Institute of Worship and Outreach, pastor-at-large on the Synodical Council, and is actively involved in WELS School of Outreach and WELS School of Worship.

Blog
March 19, 2012

Pastor, we need our worship to be relevant for the 21st century person.” “We need worship to reach the next generation.” “Why do we do what we do in worship?” “We need worship that enables outreach to our friends and neighbors.” “We need worship that means something, not just the mindless repetition of the same words week in and week out.”

David Scharf serves as pastor of Immanuel Lutheran in Greenville, WI. Pastor Scharf also serves as a member of the WELS Commission for Congregational Counseling.

Resource
March 12, 2012

Christian Worship: Occasional Services includes an order for the Easter Vigil along with much of the historical background and meaning of the service. Start there. The service has built-in flexibility that will allow you adapt the service to suit your congregation’s needs.
There are many accessible musical resources available that are tailored for the Easter Vigil. Some of them are included in Christian Worship: Occasional Services. Here are a few others:

Jonathan Bauer serves at Good News Lutheran Church, Mount Horeb, Wisconsin.

Blog
March 12, 2012

The Christian’s life of worship reaches its peak on Sunday morning when he gathers with his fellow believers to be strengthened by Word and Sacrament. Of the fifty-two of these peaks that occur within a calendar year, none is higher than Easter, the Festival of Our Lord’s Resurrection. This single Sunday is the reason for which we gather for worship on the other fifty-one.

Jonathan Bauer serves at Good News Lutheran Church, Mount Horeb, Wisconsin.

Resource
March 5, 2012

The second in a series of articles by Chuck Westra about Creating a Mission Mindset in your congregation

Read the first article in the series here.

Charles Westra serves as pastor of Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church in Columbia, TN. In addition to his congregational duties, Pastor Westra serves as the chairman for the WELS Board for Home Missions.

Blog
March 1, 2012

The following note has appeared in the worship folder for Haugen’s Morning Praise when used at recent Schools of Worship Enrichment (SoWE).

Bryan Gerlach serves as the Director of the WELS Commission on Worship. His parish ministry experience includes congregations in Texas and California. Gerlach has a Master of Church Music degree and continues to serve as a regular pianist and organist at two WELS churches in the Milwaukee area.

Blog
February 24, 2012

In his famous short story The Tell-Tale Heart, Edgar Allan Poe explores the effect of guilt on human behavior. Told as a first person narrative, the main character insists on his innocence throughout. However, in the climax of the story, his guilt overwhelms him, leading him to tear up the floorboards and reveal the subject of his grisly crime.

Adam Mueller serves as pastor of Peace Lutheran in Kokomo, Indiana. In addition to his pastoral duties, he serves the synod as a member of the WELS Commission for Congregational Counseling.

Resource
February 21, 2012

Consider a Community Canvass

Charles Westra serves as pastor of Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church in Columbia, TN. In addition to his congregational duties, Pastor Westra serves as the chairman for the WELS Board for Home Missions.

Blog
February 14, 2012

Ready to try something different for Lenten midweek? Something other than a six week series of sermons called “___________ of the Passion”?

Consider making your midweek worship drastically different than Sunday morning. Make it much shorter. Make it more devotional in style. Can you rearrange the seating to accommodate a more intimate gathering with the smaller number of attendees? Can you rethink midweek services—not as a Hauptgottesdienst when it’s dark out—but rather as an evening devotion for the family of God?

Jonathan Schroeder is the pastor of Faith Lutheran in Sharpsburg, GA. He serves as the Moderator of the Institute of Worship and Outreach, pastor-at-large on the Synodical Council, and is actively involved in WELS School of Outreach and WELS School of Worship.