2011 - Milwaukee Worship

The Great Commission On a Great Lake
2011 ~ Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. . .  Matthew 28:10 

Opening Service - Thursday

The 47th Annual Convention of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society (LWMS) began with a worship of praise and thankfulness to the Triune God. More than 1,500 people attended the communion service held at Frontier Airlines Center and more than $27,000 was collected during the offering. Jeffrey Mahnke, pastoral advisor to the LWMS Board of Directors, conducted the service and Mark Schroeder, president of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), gave the sermon based upon the convention theme.

President Schroeder compared Christians who carry out the Great Commission with astronauts traveling in space. Just as the astronauts need special skills—the right stuff—to carry out their work, so Christians need special skills to carry on God’s work. Unlike the astronauts, however, Christians don’t need to worry whether or not they have the necessary skills—God provides them to us.

Despite three years spent listening to and learning from Jesus, the disciples’ faith was weak and they lacked confidence, but God gave that weak, frail, doubting, fault-filled group an amazing task. As surely as he gave them the task, God gave the disciples exactly what was needed to do the job—the right stuff. Jesus gave them a powerful message, along with unshakeable, unbreakable promises to be with them and strengthen them. The Great Commission has been handed down to us and is also our mission statement; it keeps us focused on the work to be done. The message—“whatever I have taught you”—is the truth about the eternal condemnation we all face under the law followed by the sweet message of Jesus, our Savior, who died on the cross as a substitute for us, earning us the free gift of salvation. God also opens doors to opportunities to carry out the task.

Just as Jesus’ disciples proclaimed the gospel in villages and communities in Israel, then began preaching to Gentiles across the known world, so we are to joyfully carry out the mission. Despite the challenges thrown into our paths by the devil and the sinful world, we know that we have the blessings of God and are empowered with the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. We are to carry the gospel message throughout the world—and we will one day meet hundreds and thousands of people who have also heard that message and believed—at the foot of the throne of God.

Closing Service - Sunday

This was the first time the LWMS convention included a contemporary service. Vocal and instrumental music was provided by the group, Koine’, with everyone joining in on the hymns. The group’s credo is common language, common people, extraordinary message. The hymn arrangements were beautifully different but very recognizable; the hymn classics were preserved but with a new beat, syncopation, or melody. The common WELS liturgy was used. The convention choir also joined the group for the song “Behold, a Host Arrayed in White” by singing a descant. Dustin Blumer, pastor at Amazing Love in New Lenox, Illinois, preached the sermon—energizing the worshippers by reinforcing the message that we ALL are missionaries and every believer has been called… so just go….start in your backyard. There are people all around us who need to hear the message. Keep it simple and just tell the love of Jesus. The Holy Spirit will do the rest. Just go and tell. The new board members were installed and the flags from the countries where WELS has a mission presence were explained along with mission statistics and interesting facts. As always, it was hard to say good-bye to dear as well as new friends, but we wait to see them again next year. Jackie Hieb, the new board president, adjourned the convention.

2011 Highlights PowerPoint