The Parts of the Resource Center
Why another WELS website? The primary audience for wels.net has been very wide. WELS members can go there for news or devotional thoughts. Non-WELS members can go there to learn about our church.
This site, welscongregationalservices.net, is meant for all types of congregational leaders: pastors, teachers, councilmen, elders, or simply members who play an active role in the volunteer life of the congregation. It is meant to be a resource center, one, central, easily-navigated location where congregational leaders can find training and tools dealing with every topic under the sun.
Here are some of the things you will find of the resource center.
A module is a collection of resources that deals with one often-identified issue or challenge within our congregations.
Think of the module page as a filing cabinet. There are currently eight drawers: Leadership, Worship, Evangelism, Discipleship, Youth Ministry, Schools, Compassion Ministry, Facility.
Each drawer contains multiple folders. For example, the Leadership drawer holds L001-Congregational Planning Overview, L002-Producing a Mission Statement, L003-Clarifying Core Values, and so on. Located in the Evangelism drawer are E001-Equipping Members for Evangelism, E002-Personal Evangelism vs. Corporate Outreach, etc.
In each folder, you can find a wide variety of resources: Bible studies, articles, videos, MP3s, templates, and so on. It depends on the issue being addressed. The module also contains suggestions of a sequence for using the resources to deal with the issue or challenge.
Again, a module deals with an issue or challenge. For example, your congregation has trouble finding enough volunteers to carry out your ministry. That is a discipleship issue. You would select the discipleship drawer. In that drawer is the folder D004-Increasing Volunteerism.
We need your help. All the other modules will be produced over the course of the next two years. As you look through the file cabinet, you can see what is available now and what modules are in the pipeline. The issues and challenges are ones that have come up repeatedly in the consultation work of the Commission on Congregational Counseling and the Commission on Lutheran Schools, which are the two commissions that help congregations do some comprehensive self-analysis in those respective areas: church and school. We do not assume we’ve covered every possible issue a congregation might want help with. So, what are we missing? As you look at the target launch dates, is there something that needs to be prioritized more highly? Let us know. You, ultimately, are the ministry experts, as the ones who are on the front lines of gospel proclamation.
In surveys of congregational leaders and servants, the clear majority felt they received inadequate or no training to fulfill the duties the congregation placed upon them. A man elected to church council is just tossed into the leadership process and expected to learn as he goes. Someone is recruited to teach Sunday School. They are shown how to use the ChristLight leader guides and invited to watch maybe one or two classes, but that is the extent of it.
Congregational Services wants to build a servant training component into the resource center. Obviously, this would not be intended to replace the pastor or other congregation leaders in their role as “equippers of the saints.” It would simply be a tool to make that responsibility easier.
Once again, we need your help. You see some examples of the training courses we will be producing over the next two years. What is missing? What is a service position in your congregation for which you believe members would like to receive additional training?
Here is where we share ready-to-use Bible studies, worship plans, evangelism materials, etc. It is also where we will “push” ministry resources tied to synodical efforts.
For example, C18 is a synod-wide effort to reach one-million people with the gospel prior to and on Christmas Eve 2018. There will be worship templates, outreach resources, a service for children with special needs, even outreach training material for our Lutheran schools. The materials will all be available under ministry resources.
To the Ends of the Earth is the fourth of Commission on Evangelism’s outreach movies, this one geared toward training to people to witness. Accompanying training materials will be located under ministry resources where you can use them to equip your people for C18.
We believe there is great potential to help congregations in multiple areas. For example, consider a season of the church year, such as Lent – Year A. We might publish a worship plan that includes files to be loaded into the new hymnal’s Service Builder software, giving you ready to go (yet editable) worship folders. We could provide royalty free evangelism materials: invitation cards, videos you could use on your website or Facebook page. We could provide home devotions and/or small group discussions based on the previous week’s lesson. This would all be free. Our prayer is that it would utilize the principles of giftedness and stewardship to take work off the plate of those in the local congregation, freeing them up to do more gospel ministry.
I was working with a congregation the Sunday after the 2017 Las Vegas shooting. It was not mentioned at any point in the service, not even the Prayer of the Church. That can make a congregation seem unaware of its surroundings; but worse, it can miss opportunities to make gospel application to challenging life circumstances.
Timely topic posts are meant to help congregations utilize on those opportunities. If there was a national tragedy, we might push out a customized Prayer of the Church and perhaps take-home devotionals that families might use to process that tragedy.
Timely topic posts are also how we will share new resources that correspond to the Church Year or calendar.
Blogs provide a way for us to discuss ministry issues before us. They allow us to share some “best practices” in our circles, ministry tactics that seem to be bearing fruit. They provide us opportunities to share details about upcoming synod initiatives, such as C18.
An ongoing effort
This is the Alpha version of the Congregational Services resource center. The skeleton is in place. Each week, you will see meat on the bones as new modules are added and the servant training component is built out.
At the bottom of the homepage, you can register for our Congregational Services newsletter. It will let you know when new resources become available.
Written by Jonathan Hein
You can make a difference. Your prayers and gifts can help WELS ministries carry out their missions.