Mission Update


Pastor Peter Kelm, Missions Exec

December 2013


"I have other sheep that are not of this  
sheep pen. I must bring them also. They  
too will listen to my voice..." (John 10:16)

May each of our readers enjoy true peace and joy at Christmas as you celebrate the Gift of the Christ-child, born for you so that you may be His forever! 
In these times when the true story of Christmas is often ignored, may you and your family be eager to share the Gift of Jesus Christ--our Savior and Lord--with the next generation!


"Nones" on the Rise


You've probably heard about the numbers, but even if you haven't, they won't surprise you. "Nones" are on the rise. That is, Americans who describe themselves as atheist, agnostic, or "religiously unaffiliated" have increased to just under 20% of the US adult population, according to a 2012 Pew Research report. Now, please keep in mind, the other 80% aren't necessarily beating down the doors of their local Christian church. In fact, they may attend worship sporadically--or not at all. But they are still "affiliated" by their own reckoning.


As bad as those stats are, what really strikes me about the article is how generationally divided this 20% is. While only 9% of the 65+ crowd fall in this category, a full 32% of those 18-29 do. Do we dare imagine what percentage of those under 18 will be in this group eventually, when given a chance to participate in the adult survey?


What does this all mean? Well, I guess we're all pretty used to talking these days about how our American culture is fleeing from Christ's church. But when we truly analyze the shift that is going on in our country, we realize that our grandparents are living their lives completely differently than their grand-kids.

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"Without the support of the South Wisconsin District, this could not have been done!" Duane Tweeten said of the annual distribution of Thanksgiving dinners to 1,056 families through our local LCMS food pantries. "Thanks to the generous donations that have come through the District over the past three years, this Brookfield Lutheran outreach ministry has really stepped up in size and the number of families touched by your generosity," he said.

Through the many generous donations of congregations and individuals, we as a District were able to contribute $8,530 toward Brookfield Lutheran's effort to bring 1,056 Thanksgiving dinners to needy families through LCMS congregations in Milwaukee.
The actual cost of each box of food came to $24.91. Those dinners included vegetables, potatoes, rice, yams, apple juice, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and topping, rolls, and of course a turkey! Nine food pantries received the food baskets thanks to the work of 143 volunteers who packed and delivered them.There were seven additional locations and organizations that received and distributed some of the boxes as well. Each box contained a note with the Gospel message of salvation, thanking the Giver of all Gifts.

Special thanks from the pastors and leadership of Brookfield Lutheran, and also from me. Let's all do this again next year!


Many of you know that a coalition of people has been working hard to re-imagine and re-envision the ministry of the SOS Center, with the goal of re-opening it! This community center, at 47th and North in Milwaukee, for many years served its community with the love of Jesus in word and deed. It closed a year and half ago, leaving a void. By God's grace, and the generosity of some congregations and LCEF through SWD, we are looking to open SOS on a limited basis on January 27, 2014.

A group from Trinity-Freistadt is helping to get the building in good shape. Though SOS has done all kinds of different mercy ministry in the past (after-school programming, summer camp, GED preparation, food bank, clothing bank, ESL classes, etc.) we will be focusing initially on the after-school program, which provides not only tutoring and a safe place, but time in the Word and Christian fellowship. We hope and pray that it can in the future meet the spiritual and physical needs of many in that area. This coalition includes urban and suburban congregations, and lots of people who care about LCMS ministry in the city. We ask for your continued prayers, and if you want to get involved more directly, don't hesitate to contact Peter Kelm or Herman Strozier here at SWD (414-464-8100).

Multi-Ethnic Symposium at Concordia, St. Louis
January 28-28, 2014

This year's theme focuses on Ethnic communities as "Communities of Hope" not only because Christ has given them the sure hope of eternal life in the new creation, but also because they are communities that bring this hope into the diverse communities around them. This symposium will explore how ethnic communities confess that hope through diverse cultural expressions, and celebrate both the differences among us and the unity of the faith that we share.


If you have a good book that will help others in ministry, let me know. Or, better yet, write a little book review and send it to me! Following is a start from me. This book is unlike anything you've read, I guarantee it. Rev. John David Duke Jr., LCMS Pastor and Adjunct Seminary Professor in the Buffalo area, (and good friend of mine) recently wrote a book entitled: The Death of Anxiety Driven Ministry. The honesty about ministry from a Christ-centered perspective will be refreshing to all, especially to church workers and their families. Think of this book as the exact opposite of anything written by Joel Osteen! Duke has a way with words...and with the Word. You can find it on Amazon. It's available in paperback or Kindle version. Makes a great Christmas gift!

Rev. Peter Kelm SWD logo

In a constantly changing world, the South Wisconsin District discovers, celebrates and advances vibrant models for growing discipleship, missional leaders and church worker wholeness.