As you read these sessions write down your first three choices and select them on the registration.
You can help us plan the sessions by knowing your first three choices when you register.
You can help us plan the sessions by knowing your first three choices when you register.
- To Get Out of the Boat...Get Into the Word! - Rich Gurgel
Our gracious God always equips with strength where he calls. As he calls us to "get out of the boat" as believers, husbands, fathers, employers/employees, congregational leaders (and in other unique callings), we trust he is more than willing to equip us with strength to get out of the boat and follow. With promises for daily strength, God seeks to show us his devotion to us on the pages of Scripture in our daily devotional life. This workshop will explore and demonstrate the four simple questions Martin Luther used in his personal devotional life. We will see how those questions led Luther to dig into the Word and then gave him words to speak in prayer.
For 12 years Rich served as a pastor in Oklahoma City at Gethsemane and then at David's Star in Jackson, WI. For the past 19 years he has taught Christian doctrine, Christian education, and preached at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. He is also the director of Grow in Grace, the seminary's institute for pastoral growth. The heart of that work is encouraging WELS pastors to continue to grow strong in God's grace in their own personal devotional life of Word and prayer. His wife Sue has been a kindergarten teacher at Christ Alone (formerly Calvary) in Thiensville, Wisconsin, for the past 15 years. God has blessed them with five sons, three daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren.
- When the Wind and Waves Threaten - Aaron Bublitz
Peter's fear was real, as real as the wind and waves around him. Overcome by his fear, he began to sink, that is, until Jesus reached out his hand to rescue him. Our lives also have storms that are real, painful and difficult to weather. We admit our fear in the midst of them is real, and we feel as if we're sinking. But that's exactly when Jesus steps in, and his grace calms our fears. Together, we'll find Christ's hope and strength when the wind and waves of this life threaten us.
Aaron has been blessed to serve on the north side of Milwaukee at Mt Lebanon since having been assigned there out of seminary in 2011. He is married and has three children between the ages of 8 and 13. His family has had its share of tests: Their daughter Keturah has epilepsy, their daughter Arianna has a congenital heart defect, and Aaron's wife went through breast cancer last year ... and yet he's excited to have the opportunity to share the hope and strength of Christ with you.
- Get in the Right Boat to Make Your Marriage Float - Jeremy Mattek Scripture describes marriage as a "one flesh" relationship, implying that husbands and wives should be perfectly and harmoniously united in everything. But often marriage can make you feel that you and your wife are in two different boats, sailing along through life in two entirely different directions. This session is designed to help you identify why that is, understand the unique differences between men and women, and also find motivation to take the initiative, get out of your boat, jump into hers, and make your marriage everything God intended it to be.
Pastor Jeremy Mattek has served as pastor of Garden Homes Lutheran Church in urban Milwaukee since graduating from the Seminary in 2004. Garden Homes is a predominantly black church on Milwaukee's north side, where unity in Christ is expressed in uniquely visible ways. Pastor Mattek has been married to Karen since 2000. God has entrusted to their care five children - three girls and two boys - ranging from 9 to 16 years old. He is a regular contributor for Your Time of Grace video devotions and recently authored a book on relationships, Walking Together: Focused on Jesus.
- This is Not a Test - This is for Real and for Life - Don Scheuerlein
There will be no participation trophies awarded for attending this session. Just attending and saying you were here will not be enough. Come with a willing and open mind to be what the Lord has called you to be and learn to do what he has called you to do.
Pastor Scheuerlein has served as pastor since 1982, with the last 28 years at Christ Alone Lutheran Church in Thiensville (Formerly Calvary). He has been blessed with a faithful spouse Amy, seven children, eight grandchildren, and a new in-law-to-be.
- Gunwales, Guts, and Grandpas - Jim Aderman
Grandfathers are perfectly positioned to provide their grandchildren with a spiritual legacy that will impact those children for an eternity. Grandfathers have the experience, the time, and, hopefully, the energy to guide their grandkids in walking with Jesus. But grandfathering also takes guts. There's more to embracing our parenting roles, goals, and strategies than piggyback rides and cookies. This session's aim is to inspire grandfathers bravely to step over the gunwales into the challenging waters of their grandparenting role. And why not step over? Our Savior is there to provide success.
Jim and his wife celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary in July. They have three daughters and nine grandchildren, ranging in age from 1 to 10. (Don't tell his daughters, but being a grandfather is a whole lot more fun than raising them was... but he does love his daughters!) Jim is an administrator for a WELS nonprofit that provides theological instruction and training in pastoral care to Christian leaders in Southeast Asia. He retired as a WELS pastor in 2014 and writes frequently for denominational publications.
- Men Who Mentor - Mark Jeske
Join Pastor Jeske for a time of reflection on the men who have had the greatest impact on your life. Dig into Scripture for some insights on how you can mentor the boys and men who look up to you. Plan a strategy for being with other spiritually-minded men who will lift you up.
Pastor Jeske has been bringing the Word of God to viewers of Time of Grace since 2001. He has served as senior pastor at St. Marcus Lutheran Church, a multicultural congregation on Milwaukee's near north side since 1980. Previously, he started a mission church in South America and taught English, history, and Old Testament at Northwestern Prep. Pastor Jeske has written a Bible commentary and more than a dozen daily devotional booklets. He and his wife Carol, an elementary school teacher, are blessed with four children.
- Utilizing Your Gifts Outside Your Front Door - Jared Oldenburg
All of us have gifts and passions...the very things that give us energy and make us feel whole when we use them. We also all have obligations and deadlines...some of which make us feel empty as we battle these often tedious, boring or just uninspiring activities. Is it possible to pursue the things we love at home, work and church? Come and explore the possibility.
Jared Oldenburg is the founding pastor of Eternal Rock Lutheran Church in Castle Rock, CO. In addition, Jared has presented around the country as a conference speaker and hosts a Church Planter Intensive to mentor new missionaries. He has been published multiple times in Christian publications, is the author of the interactive iBook, Who is Jesus, Simple Answers (Boettcher/Trinklein Inc., 2013), and is part of the online presenting team for Your Time of Grace as well as a guest host for the Time of Grace television program. Jared lives with his wife, Aimee (met when they were 14 & 15 years old at Fox Valley Lutheran), three kids, and Jensie (the manliest of poodles) in Castle Rock, Colorado.
- Love without an Agenda: Showing Love in Hostile Times - Kelly Huet
We live in a divided, divisive nation. We are bombarded with the philosophy "all who don't agree with me must be hated and vilified." The opinion of the mass is the moral compass, and a tweet can send a nation into a free-fall. Yet, here we are, followers where God has placed us. Early believers were known by their love and compassion in communities that were hostile to them and their message. It seems God has placed us in similar times and places. Now we need to step out of our comfort zones, put aside our "always right" egos, and follow Jesus' lead to see how God is calling us to love without an agenda.
Pastor Kelly Huet is a Christ follower, a husband, a father, and a sinner who has been shown unfathomable grace by God. He serves as resident missionary at St. Andrew Lutheran in Middleton, WI. His passion is equipping others to follow Jesus and live as missionaries in their neighborhoods, workplaces, and families.
- Parenting with Love and Logic - Aaron Bauer
Want to feel more relaxed at the end of the day? Put a stop to arguing and whining? Get your kids to behave without having to repeat yourself or raise your voice? Come to this session for practical tips to handle misbehavior in public, bedtime battles, and power struggles over things such as eating or picking up toys. Hear fun potty-training tips, and discover how to discipline your kids without losing their love and respect. Let's up the odds that the teen years will be happy rather than horrific, as you raise respectful and responsible kids while making parenting fun and rewarding!
Aaron spent the majority of his childhood in New Ulm, MN, where he grew up in a family that loves sports and gave him that same passion. He attended Minnesota Valley Lutheran High School and MLC. It was during his junior year of college that he met his wife Sara. They both graduated in 2001 and now have 3 sons: Jayden (13), Justus (12), and Bradley (9) and one daughter, Natalie (6). Aaron has had the great privilege of serving as a teacher at Garden Homes Lutheran School for the past 16 years. He enjoys teaching students about their Savior's love every day. It is also very exciting for him to watch them grow over the year that they are together. When Aaron is not teaching or coaching, he enjoys the outdoors, biking, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, gardening, racquetball, and spending time with his family.
- Christians in Culture - Pastor James Hein
In a post-Christian climate, Christian churches are becoming desperate as interest continues to wane in local church engagement. Sometimes they over-assimilate, reflecting the values of the culture. Sometimes they under-assimilate, refusing to become all things to all people in order to save some. So how do you reach out without selling out? This presentation will explore the tension of the juxtaposition between Christians and culture.
Pastor James Hein is Lead Pastor at St. Marcus Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, WI. He began ministry in 2008 in Rochester, MN. After 7 years of learning about ministry to Millennials, he and his wife Adrian moved to Milwaukee to focus on urban gospel work – embracing ethnic diversity, exploring modern technology in church, and navigating the post-Christian cultural climate.
- Using Your Gifts in Your Community - Timothy Spiegelberg
God has not called us to hide ourselves away nor to be absorbed by our communities. Rather we are to be salt and light in the places we live. In this session we will work through some of the ways we can use our unique gifts where we live: chamber of commerce, 5k runs, citizen advisory committees, coaching, historical walking tours, school boards, help centers. There are more entry points into your community than you know. We will learn how to engage the places we live for the good of our communities and for the sharing of the Gospel.
Tim currently lives in Firestone, Colorado, where he planted his current church, Carbon Valley Lutheran. He grew up in mission settings in Alaska and Colorado. Ministry has taken him to rural setting (North Branch, Michigan), urban (Toronto, Canada) and most recently exurb/suburban (Firestone, Colorado). He's married to Jamie, a nurse, and has four children, ages 16, 14, 12, and 10. Tim loves hiking, soccer, softball and trying not to break more bones.
- Accessible Worship - Mike Westendorf
Why do you attend a worship service? What is it that you hope happens? If you are responsible for putting together services and liturgies, you feel great responsibility. Why should people come? How do you pray people leave after the worship? With your desire to see the story of grace communicated in contemporary, traditional, modern and blended worship environments, we will wrestle with the heart of these questions, looking at John 4 and the peace, joy and hope of the full Gospel message. We will explore worship excellence and the great freedom God has given us in communication styles to make that Gospel message accessible.
"Life to the full!" That is the heartbeat of this Christian recording artist, meteorologist, husband and father of three. With a passion for sharing the life changing power of grace in music and speaking events, Mike loves the "aha" moments when God's word connects to real life. He has been sharing this story while leading worship in the WELS since 2007. His full time work is with UW Milwaukee in the meteorologist intern program. He is also the contemporary worship coordinator for St. Paul's Lutheran in Muskego. In addition, Mike is the director of Awake and Alive, an event for the 18-25 generation and has served for over 7 years as music director for The Point of Grace Campus Ministry in Milwaukee.
- Harnessing the Power of Technology without Having It Control Us - Martin Spriggs
We live in amazing times! With a computer, tablet or smart phone we have a gospel channel that the Apostle Paul and Luther could only dream about. The promise that the Gospel will reach every nation has become a reality, and God has chosen us to live in this critical time. However, that same technology has become one of the devil's favorite tools to control us, ruin relationships and spoil gospel opportunities. This session will include frank conversations about technologies like social networks, online video, and whatever might be next. We will then explore how God's gift of accountability can restore the control to use these powerful tools to His glory!
Martin Spriggs has been serving as WELS Chief Technology Officer since 2004. In this capacity, Martin speaks at numerous workshops and conferences on varied technology topics including building evangelistic websites, promoting your church and school, digital Bible Study, creating the efficient church office and effective time management through technology. He is the host of the podcast "WELSTech" which explores the intersections of technology and ministry, and has also co-authored the book, With All Your Heart: Project Management for Churches, Christian Schools, and Faith-based Organizations. He is more than eager to help our members, churches and schools make effective use of technology to aid their ministries. A former WELS pastor, Martin earned a Masters degree at Keller Graduate School of Management, Chicago. He and his wife Debbie live in Slinger, WI, and attend Peace Lutheran Church in Hartford.
- Be Like Mike - James Buske
I remember that Gatorade commercial: "Sometimes I dream - that he is me - You've got to see - that's how I dream to be - I dream I move - I dream I groove like Mike." Mike was the role model every kid craves, but sadly, one in three children lives in a fatherless home. This "father factor" leads to nearly every one of the issues that produce kids in crisis. What better place to stand up and "Be like Barnabas" than in our own homes and with the youth who have no role models? In this session we will look at this void, identify the spiritual traits of Barnabas, "the son of encouragement," and apply them so all youth can move and groove now and for eternity!
A 2002 graduate from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Pastor Buske served as tutor at Luther Preparatory School and then as associate pastor in Bremerton, Washington. Presently, he serves as pastor and executive director of the Lighthouse Youth Center and has brought this exciting ministry to the youth on the north side of Milwaukee. He has experience organizing and recruiting volunteers, and through his Christ-like love for his members, he has proven to be a strong mentor for the Lighthouse youth. Pastor Buske and his wife Terry have four children.
- A Map to Manhood: A Backpacker's Guide to Adulthood - Pastor Leon R. Ehlert
Backpacking takes skill, determination and know-how. Mistakes can have serious consequences. In this sense, moving from boyhood to manhood is similar. In this breakout session we will learn how to navigate the terrain of the adult world in light of the guidance God gives in His Word.
Pastor Leon R. Ehlert is both a backpacker and pastor. He presently serves at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Green Bay. He spent the previous 19 years in ministry to young adults at Fox Valley Lutheran High School.
- "Let's Try It!" – Developing a Culture of Ministry Permission - Peter Panitzke
How many gospel ministry opportunities are lost simply because it is too hard to get a new idea approved in your congregation? How many ministry leaders are frustrated and give up because good ideas go nowhere? Vision and congregational structure can encourage or impede a culture of ministry permission. Innovation principles can alleviate fears that lead congregations to immediately say, "No!" to new ideas. Let's begin the discussion so that yours can grow into a "Let's try it!" congregation.
Pete Panitzke has served at St. Paul's Lutheran Church of Muskego, Wisconsin, for twenty years and as the Ministerial Team Leader for the last twelve. Pete has led St. Paul's through a number of ministry innovations including the starting of a preschool, a contemporary service, a daughter congregation, a second worship site called The Bridge on St. Paul's campus, a reorganization of the congregation's governance structure and several staff reorganizations. Pete is married to Joni and has four children, all married, providing Pete with nine grandchildren.
- "Thank You, Lord, for Your Gift of Anger" - Pastor Phil Merten
We've all experienced the destructive power of out-of-control anger, and we want to keep that out of our lives and our homes. What if the first step isn't getting our anger under control? What if the first step is gratefully acknowledging that our ability to be angry is a blessing from God? Pastor Phil Merten, chaplain with Institutional Ministries, has spent years ministering in prisons and other institutions to people who have anger issues; he will lead a discussion on living gratefully with the emotion of anger.
- Top Ten Science Questions of the Bible - Kevin Peil
This session will cover a wide variety of science-related questions regarding the Bible: How old is the earth? Did God really create it in six 24-hour days? What about dinosaurs? What about the Flood and Noah's Ark? Was there really an Ice Age? What is the truth about Carbon 14 and Radioisotope Dating? Join us as we delve into these topics and many more.
Kevin is a lifelong member of the WELS and has been speaking on topics related to Science and the Bible for more than 25 years. He has a PhD in Chemical Engineering and currently works as a research scientist for The Dow Chemical Company.
- The Spiritual Side of PTSD - Rev. Paul Ziemer
In this session we will look at how PTSD makes a person more vulnerable to satanic attacks--and how to defend against them. As we explore this condition, we will gain insight for victims and for those who love them.
Reverend Ziemer has served numerous mission congregations on the East Coast. He was also principal of Luther High School, Onalaska, WI, and then began serving as a civilian chaplain to the military in 1970. He became the WELS National Civilian Chaplain in 2006 and made four trips to minister to troops in the Middle East war zone. He counsels both active duty and veteran troops suffering from PTSD. In addition, Reverend Ziemer teaches two online courses through Martin Luther College: "Frontline Chaplaincy" and "The Spiritual Side of PTSD."