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Mission Update
Rev. Peter Kelm, Missions Executive 
South Wisconsin District
414-464-8101 Kelm@swd.lcms.org
Passionate believers... confessing Christ
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St. Martini Multicultural Celebration
  • SEPT. 26, 5:30 p.m. at St. Martini's Lutheran Church, Milwaukee 
Center for US Missions
"Churches planting churches"
Rural & Small Town Mission's National Conference
"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)
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July 2014

When I was growing up, I was pretty confident that of all the commandments, number One was going to be pretty easy to keep throughout my Lutheran lifetime. No idols. Check. I had a vision of the golden calf Bible story in my head, and I was pretty sure that I would not be so stupid as to worship a statue made of gold - or any other metal for that matter.


But now that I'm a couple decades into teaching the commandments, it's the First one that's driving me a bit crazy. And since the golden calf-maker, Aaron, was a clergyman, too...


Am I an idolater?


Well of course I am. We all are. Idolatry is simply making something more important than God. We see it clearly in the world around us. People run after wealth, fame, sex, and power. Silly pagans.


We pastors have our idols. Position or paycheck or prestige. Alcohol or some other addiction. Perhaps it's authority or influence. Maybe it's control. (Not exercised like the world, of course, but in a much more sanctified way). Sometimes the idolatry is simply our vision of the way things should be, even if that vision is nothing more than a strongly-held opinion.


Congregations make idols of all sorts of things. History or tradition. Novelty or the "next great thing." Buildings. Events. People. Programs. The old way of doing things. The new way of doing things.


Idolatry in churches tends to pick up in anxious times. We are in anxious times. Cultural decay and church decline are the perfect cocktail for anxiety. And when that happens, congregations and pastors can make idols of anything and everything that they hope will see them through. Anything to make life more comfortable.  

Save the date!
Churches planting churches... 
The South Wisconsin District will be hosting a "Churches Planting Churches" Seminar on Friday, October 17-Saturday, October 18 at Divine Savior, 3200 Highway K South, Hartford. This seminar is led by the Center for US Missions (an LCMS RSO), and is intended for congregational leaders (pastors and lay leaders) whose congregations are interested in beginning the conversation about the possibility of planting a church.

"A great way to work together with my staff and develop an exciting vision for reaching the lost in our community," (said a pastor, MNS).

"It got our group thinking outside the box, thinking of new ways to reach more people!" (said a lay person, IDW).

Even if you aren't sure if your congregation is being called in this direction, the seminar is a great way to explore the possibilities. Why plant churches? So many reasons, but primarily because planting new churches helps us to reach the lost!

Please click here for more information. Registration can be made online (register with a user name and password first), or call Peg Raabe at the District office (414-464-8101).
Deadline is September 30.
Campus ministries want to hear from YOU!   

Here we are in the middle of summer, but parents of college students are already making preparations for their students to return to campus life by mid-August!

Whether this will be your son or daughter's first year away from home, or they have experienced life away from home before, you will want them to know that there's a place where they can go to stay connected with God's Word while they are attending school.

Our District has campus ministries serving the various campuses of the University of Wisconsin. They would love to share God's love with your child! Give them a call:
  • UW-Milwaukee, Rev. Ken Wieting, 414-332-5732   Meet & Greet planned for Sept. 7 
  • UW-Madison, Vicar Dan Anderson, 608-215-9526
  • UW-Stevens Point, Rev. David Emmrich, 262-473-5274
  • UW-Plattville, Rev. Thomas Reeder, 608-348-9901 
St. Martini multicultural celebration     
St. Martini Lutheran Church and School will host a multicultural event on Friday, September 26, at 5:30 p.m. Those attending are asked to bring a dish of food from your culture to share, or just come and enjoy!

If you would like to have your multicultural group represented by a display, dance, or musical number, please contact Pastor Prada at 414-233-0569, or email alfonsorosmy@yahoo.es.

St. Martini is located at 1500 S. Cesar Chavez Dr., Milwaukee, 53204.
Summer in the city    

A welcome sight in the Bethany community this summer has been Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity. They have been at work in several locations near Bethany Lutheran Church, and let Pastor Chris Ikanih know when and where they were scheduled so that he could meet and greet the volunteers with a brief devotion and prayer to begin their day. Bethany church also graciously opened her doors to provide a kitchen and dining space for the Habitat workers to eat their lunch, which was largely funded by private donors. What a great way to reach out in Christian love and appreciation!


Rev. Tony and Connie Booker  
LCMS Missionary of the Month    
Rev. Tony and Constance (Connie) Booker serve the Lord as missionaries through The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in Prague, Czech Republic. Tony serves as the pastor to a growing congregation of English-speaking expatriates and helps build closer relationships between the LCMS and Lutheran churches in the region, so that they might work together in mutual mission and ministry. He also coordinates cultural exchange events with members and institutions of the surrounding community, is supervising a Czech vicar to help build the long-term strength and growth of the local Lutheran church, and serves as the LCMS supervisor for local short-term mission teams and projects. Please pray for Tony and Connie as they serve in the Czech Republic!

Read more about them and the mission they serve in Prague here.
Small Places, Big Mission--Standing in the Gap

The LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission
is holding a National Mission Conference November 6-8, 2014 at the Marriott Kansas City Airport, Kansas City, Missouri, for LCMS congregational leaders in rural and small-town settings. This conference will address the blessings and challenges facing rural and small-town congregations today as well give encouragement for cultivating healthy churches that are eager to bear witness to Christ, show mercy to those in need, and develop a robust life together with their fellow members. Online registration. Deadline is Sept. 15.
The following article, by Thom Rainer, is an excellent primer for starting the conversation about why churches die. Certainly, there are many more variables than can be fully accounted for, but this is a helpful place to begin for those who desire their church to reach their community.

Autopsy of a Dead Church: 11 Lessons Learned
Need a guest preacher?  I'd be happy to preach for a mission festival or District Mission Sunday...or just to give your preacher a break.  My calendar is filling up!  
Rev. Peter Kelm, Missions Executive, Kelm@swd.lcms.org
Peg Raabe, Administrative Assistant, Raabe@swd.lcms.org
You may call us directly at 414-464-8101