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
December 9, 2011

“Bring a friend with you to worship.” We regularly offer encouragement along those lines to the members of our congregations. For good reason. Experience has taught us a valuable lesson: more people show up for worship at the invitation of someone they know than as the result of a full-color postcard they received in the mail or a thought-provoking message on the church sign they read as they drove by. (I have nothing at all against full-color postcards or church signs; they have an important place in the overall outreach strategy of a congregation.)

Pastor Treptow serves Zion Lutheran in Denver, CO, and serves the synod as Nebraska District President.

Blog
December 7, 2011

When Jesus invited a set of brothers to join his outreach committee, he told them about the work that they would be doing. He did so by comparing it to work with which they were already familiar. “I will make you fishers of men,” he said. It’s a metaphor with which you’re undoubtedly familiar. But have you ever stopped to wonder what Jesus meant?

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

Resource
November 29, 2011

Long range planning on the way

If you like the look of some of the sample worship planning resources that we have, look for more in the coming weeks from Pastor Aaron Christie. We asked him to provide us a bit of sample material, to let you look it over and give us your reaction.

We’ve asked Pastor Christie to give us the festivals first, and then Sunday by Sunday planning.

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.

Resource
October 6, 2011

Bulletin Announcement Explaining the Season of Advent:

You might wonder what the Season of Advent is all about. Christmas decorations are already out in all the stores. Why not just start singing Christmas carols this weekend at church?

Aaron Christie serves pastor at Trinity Lutheran in Waukesha, WI. He also serves the synod as a member of the WELS Commission on Worship and a frequent presenter and consultant for the WELS School of Worship Enrichment.

Resource
October 4, 2011

Bulletin Announcement Explaining the Season of Advent

You might wonder what the Season of Advent is all about. Christmas decorations are already out in all the stores. Why not just start singing Christmas carols this weekend at church?The season of Advent is a season of preparation. Advent (Latin for “coming”) helps us prepare for the high festival of Christmas much like Lent helps us prepare for Easter. The roots of Advent go back all the way to the 400’s in France and Italy. The length of Advent was fixed at four weeks by about 600 A.D. There are three major themes to Advent:

Aaron Christie serves pastor at Trinity Lutheran in Waukesha, WI. He also serves the synod as a member of the WELS Commission on Worship and a frequent presenter and consultant for the WELS School of Worship Enrichment.

Resource
October 7, 2011

Opening Hymn

There Is a Higher Throne
CWS 727

Lessons

Ezekiel 34:11-16, 23-24
A Shepherd-King will comfort the Lord’s people

1 Corinthians 15:20-28
All things are subject to Christ

Matthew 27:27-31
Christ reigns even in his suffering

Psalm
Psalm 47 - Hymnal p. 85

Aaron Christie serves pastor at Trinity Lutheran in Waukesha, WI. He also serves the synod as a member of the WELS Commission on Worship and a frequent presenter and consultant for the WELS School of Worship Enrichment.

Resource
October 7, 2011

Opening Hymn

Opening Hymn
Around the Throne, a Glorious Band (CW 549)

Lessons

Isaiah 52:1-6
Without money you will be redeemed

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
We will be with the Lord forever

Matthew 25:1-13
The parable of the ten virgins

Psalm
Psalm 84 - Hymnal p. 96

Aaron Christie serves pastor at Trinity Lutheran in Waukesha, WI. He also serves the synod as a member of the WELS Commission on Worship and a frequent presenter and consultant for the WELS School of Worship Enrichment.

Paper
October 8, 2011

Some years ago a brother in the ministry cornered me at a social gathering and told me that the fact that the church that I serve was growing had nothing to do with me. God grows his Church when and where it pleases him. God does this through (and only through) his means. I thanked him for his theological insight, his mastery of the confessions (AC, V,2) and asked him if I had ever given him any other impression.

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.

Paper
October 8, 2011

God placed the treasure of the Gospel within jars of clay – weak, flawed, sinful human beings – “to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” If this treasure were dispensed from something that was itself strong and powerful, then as enlightenment was received some of the credit might go to the treasure’s vessel, rather than to the treasure itself. The metaphor in this portion of Scripture depicts the relationship between mankind and the Means of Grace in God’s plan of salvation. The Gospel is the treasure. It is what has value. It is what has power.

Jonathan Hein serves at Beautiful Savior Lutheran in Summerville, SC. He serves WELS as the chairman of the Commission on Congregational Counseling and serves his district as the chairman of the South Atlantic District Mission Board.

Paper
October 8, 2011

In an effort to clarify something that was written – and to be at peace with his own ministry (and, I presume, his conscience) – one pastor questioned another: “Do you think I am being unfaithful in ministry if the extent of my ‘outreach’ is preaching the gospel to visitors who come to worship?” By his own admission, he and his church had neither an active evangelism committee nor any planned outreach activities. Behind his question was an acknowledgement that some outreach should be done. By his question he was asking for a second opinion as to whether he was doing enough.

Pastor John Steinbrenner serves as Cross of Christ Lutheran Church in Boise, Idaho. In addition to his service on The Institute for Worship and Outreach, he serves WELS as the vice-president of the Pacific Northwest District.