11:39 pm

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Our second annual Together in Mission event brings together people from across our synod for a day of fellowship, mission conversation, and learning opportunities. We’ll open all together, celebrating our common mission in Christ –  and then we break into 19 workshops on a variety of topics offered over two sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  Boxed lunch is provided in the middle of the day as participants meet in their mission clusters, sharing what God is doing in their cluster communities. This event is for congregational leaders of all interests as well as for pastors, deacons and church staff members. Well over 200 people attended last year’s event and we’d love to see over 250 this year!

Join us on Saturday, February 16, at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 20275 Davidson Rd., Brookfield (at the corner of Barker Rd & Davidson, about a 1/2 mile south of I-94).  Register today and select your workshops right away – a list of all workshops is at the bottom of this page. We are excited to offer an amazing selection of workshops, many inspired by your input received in the fall survey and from conversations with you over the past year.

Childcare is available – if you will need childcare, please register or let us know by January 31, 2019.
Please read the registration form carefully for new information about childcare.

Early Registration, December 11-January 25:  $12/person, includes boxed lunch of your choice and snacks

Registration between January 26 to Noon on February 11: $15/person, includes boxed lunch of your choice and snacks

Registration closes February 11, 2019.


8:15 – 9:00 am    Registration Check-in, Coffee
9:00 – 10:00 am   Opening Devotion and Time with Bishop Erickson
10:10 – 11:25 am   Morning Workshops
11:35 am – 12:55 pm   Cluster Meetings, Lunch
1:10 – 2:25 pm   Afternoon Workshops
2:35 – 2:45 pm   Closing Gathering, Prayer

2019 Together in Mission - Workshop Options

Morning SessionsAfternoon Sessions
Session 1. What is God Calling Us to Be and Do as a Synod? (Bishop Paul Erickson) The Greater Milwaukee Synod is in the midst of crafting a statement of vision, mission, values, and core practices. Come and be a part of the conversation as we explore how we will engage in God's mission in this next generation of our life together. Facilitated by Bishop Erickson. [Also offered as afternoon session.] Session 12. What is God Calling Us to Be and Do as a Synod? (Bishop Paul Erickson) The Greater Milwaukee Synod is in the midst of crafting a statement of vision, mission, values, and core practices. Come and be a part of the conversation as we explore how we will engage in God's mission in this next generation of our life together. Facilitated by Bishop Erickson. [Also offered as morning session.]
Session 2. Reimagining Church (Matthew Short) In every generation, faithful Christians have found new ways to communicate the story of Jesus and his love. Rev. Matthew Short, Assistant to the Bishop for Evangelical Mission, will facilitate a conversation about the shifts happening in culture, new ways to connect with neighbors, and concrete actions that help us discover where God is already leading the Church in the 21st century. [Also offered as afternoon session.] Session 13. Reimagining Church (Matthew Short) In every generation, faithful Christians have found new ways to communicate the story of Jesus and his love. Rev. Matthew Short, Assistant to the Bishop for Evangelical Mission, will facilitate a conversation about the shifts happening in culture, new ways to connect with neighbors, and concrete actions that help us discover where God is already leading the Church in the 21st century. [Also offered as morning session.]
Session 3. LGBTQIAA+... What Do All Those Letters Mean Anyway? (Debra Trakel) As the church seeks to welcome LGBT members and celebrate their gifts, some folks are asking the good question, “what do all those letters really mean?” During this time together we will learn what each letter means and how the meaning is changing for some individuals as our culture changes. We will also spend some time exploring issues related to gender (i.e. Do we identify as male or female or something else?) alongside the intersection of gender and sexuality. Facilitated by Rev. Debra Trakel, LCSW, M.Div., Interim Pastor. Session 14. Being a Reconciling in Christ Community - Why? How? (Bill Beyer) More and more congregations are beginning to realize that LGBTQ members have amazing gifts to offer. In the ELCA we have a distinction that allows us to share an intentional welcome to our congregations to members of the LGBTQ community. However, there are often questions that congregations need to explore in regards to this ministry. “We are already welcoming, why should we become an RIC congregation?” “How do we become an RIC congregation?” “What happens if we lose members by becoming an RIC congregation?” This workshop will begin to explore some of these questions. Facilitated by Rev. Bill Beyer, pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Thiensville.
Session 4. Phones, Fears, and Faith: The Spiritual Life of Young Adults. (Rachel Young Binter) This generation of adults is perhaps defined most by the fact that they have always been deeply connected into the whole world through the internet. The news comes to them all day through the device they hold in the palm of their hands and they are constantly processing what is happening around them. On the one hand, this seems to have led to heightened anxiety in this generation as their minds are rarely at rest. On the other, it has allowed them to see the world through many eyes and value human diversity in a way that is prophetic and true to the Gospel. As communities of faith, how do we provide a resting place for fears and a community where prophetic faith can be lived out? How do we meet the spiritual lives of young adults? Facilitated by Rev. Rachel Young Binter of Lutheran Campus Ministries. Session 15. Why Not? Insights on Millennials BY Millennials. (Aliliywa Mbise) Why are Millennials not going to church? This is a highly discussed topic in our church today but a discussion that rarely includes the perspectives of millennials. We welcome you to this workshop led by millennials and hear how they see the church and the world. It will be a time of listening and sharing to hopefully come away with a deeper understand of the world millennials live in and how the church effects that. Why not come come and learn? Facilitated by Aliliywa Mbise, Young Adult Representative on the Greater Milwaukee Synod Council.
Session 5. Hope for the Journey (Maripat Monahan & Tim Larson) Join Outreach for Hope in a dialogue about the impact of urban-suburban congregational Partnerships. In this interactive session you will: Hear and share stories and questions about how Partnerships work as a two-way relationship among churches of diverse membership; Deepen your understanding of the role Outreach for Hope plays in facilitating Partnerships; Learn about the various ways you can participate as an individual or a congregation to advance Partnerships and the vision of Outreach for Hope. Come, explore the journey we are all on as we grow stronger together. Facilitated by Tim Larson, Executive Director and Maripat Monahan, Advancement Director, of Outreach for Hope. Session 16. We Are All Immigrants: God's Story of People on the Move (Kelly Nieman Anderson) The Bible is full of immigrants, refugees, and other people on the move. Lutheran immigrants spread a German-based reformation all over the world. How do we talk about immigrants, refugees, and welcoming the stranger in our own congregations and communities today? In this interactive workshop, we will connect Bible Stories and our American immigration experiences with Lutheran advocacy in support of Immigrants and Refugees around the nation and the world. Rev. Kelly Nieman Anderson (Pastor at Christ the King in Port Washington and Living Hope in Saukville) is passionate about sharing her experiences with immigrants and refugees around the world through workshops and forums for pastors and congregations, and has recently led forums in Cedarburg and Port Washington.
Session 6. The Work and Leadership of Church Councils (Joyce Caldwell) This workshop will focus on the scope and responsibility of the Church Council, the shape and meaning of Council meetings and church leadership, and best practices for leading effective meetings. We will begin with a brief overview of the church constitution as the foundation in defining the work of the church council. Discussion will focus on how councils give life and leadership to a congregation’s mission and ministry, where and how they can get stuck, and the joys and challenges in between. Facilitated by Dr. Joyce Caldwell, Vice-President of the Greater Milwaukee Synod Council. Session 17. Staffing for Mission & Ministry Impact (John Holm) Times change. Culture changes. Church size changes. Ministry priorities change. Finances change. What about church staffing? How do you know what staffing configuration is best for your church today? Too often we end up with a particular staffing model by default instead of by intentionality. Too often we stay with the same thing even when everything around us is changing. This workshop will explore ways to look at the unique mission and ministry context of your church. We will learn the right questions to ask and the right goals to meet for staffing your unique church today. Facilitated by Rev. John Holm, ELCA Pastor-Retired, Former Consultant with TAG Consulting.
Session 7. Stewardship’s Flip-side: Recognizing and Removing Obstacles to Generosity (Richard Wehrs) Too often our church stewardship is focused solely on the church member’s obligation to give – and fails to recognize the church’s obligations to its donor base. This workshop will focus on the twelve “donor confidence” factors which can either enhance or undermine your congregation’s stewardship efforts. Learn what you can do, throughout the year, to reduce the gap between your supporters’ financial capacity, and their financial will. Facilitated by Rev. Richard Wehrs, Regional Manager for the Mission Investment Fund. Session 18. Interpersonal Communication Insights for Congregations (Kristin Nielsen) Good communication is so important in congregational life. If we are to listen well to how the Spirit is leading us collectively, we need to listen well to one another. Come explore what good interpersonal communication entails and how we can strengthen our communication practices to build missional ownership and capacity. Facilitated by Rev. Kristin Nielsen, Assistant to the Bishop for Congregations in Mission.
Session 8. (This session was moved to the afternoon.) Session 19. FAITH5 (Carolyn Karl) A way to connect with all ages at home and together in the congregation. An interactive workshop teaching a foundational technique which empowers all ages in your congregation to live out our Baptismal promises in the congregation as well as at home. Participate in the basics of FAITH5 and learn several ways congregations are using this basic technique in different ways. Facilitated by Carolyn Karl, Minister of Cross+Generational Ministry at Kingo Lutheran Church, Shorewood and Bay Shore Lutheran Church.
Session 9. Dwelling in the Word: The Bible Tells Us So (Scriptural Guidance for Racial Reconciliation Conversations) (GMS Anti-Racism Team) Throughout the Bible, God encourages humankind to work towards being the Beloved Community. Join the Synod’s Anti-Racism Team as we explore some biblical passages and questions that will help us explore how God longs for us to be reconciled to one another. Take home a useful congregational tool for your continuing racial justice conversations. Facilitated by the Greater Milwaukee Synod's Anti-Racism Team. Session 20. What’s Old and New in Prison Ministry? (Joe Ellwanger) Mass incarceration still plagues our nation. Wisconsin still leads our country in mass incarceration of African Americans. As people of the Gospel, we are seeking ways forward in the spirit of Luke 4 to address this injustice. The good news is that we are living into prison ministry that has meaningful impact upon people while they are incarcerated, when they are released, and prior to incarceration. In this workshop we will offer opportunities for Gospel engagement with our synod's prison task force committee, with Circles of Support re-entry ministry, with Breaking the Chains Church (inside of Felmers Chaney Correctional Institution), with efforts to close the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility, with Project Return and efforts to end crimeless revocation, ....so we might proclaim the favorable year of the Lord. Facilitated by Rev. Joe Ellwanger, ELCA Pastor-Retired, Breaking the Chains.
Session 10. Social Media For Your Church: When to Use What and For Who (Sarah Christiaansen) We will discuss various social media platforms and talk about which are appropriate for your church, how to use them and for what audience, and what each offers. This will not be a workshop about how to set up the platforms, so please come with your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/etc. apps ready to use. This is the one workshop where bringing phones, computers, and tablets is encouraged. Facilitated by Sarah Christiaansen, Synod Communicator for the Greater Milwaukee Synod. Session 21. Ministry With and Among our Senior Community: Exploring the Spiritual Needs and Contributions of Older Adults (Laura Gerstl Beukema) For many of our congregations, seniors represent the single largest age group of our members. We often think of special ministries for youth and families, but how about special ministry with and among seniors? Please join us as we explore the unique spiritual needs and contributions of seniors. Bring your questions, your ideas, and your stories as we engage in dialogue and discover partnership opportunities for ministry with and among seniors in our community. Facilitated by Rev. Laura Gerstl Beukema, Director of Pastoral Care- Luther Manor.
Session 11. Leading with the Congregation’s Spirituality, An Introduction (Dr. Michael C. Rehak) Each congregation has its own unique personality, which shapes its Spirituality. Healthy leadership depends, in part, on both clergy and lay leaders acknowledging the power of that reality, with its unique preferences. Workshop participants will identify their perception of the congregation’s core personality; exploring its communication needs and its spiritual posture with its own spiritual language. Leading with the Congregation’s Spirituality will enhance your ability to affirm the congregation’s personality; reflecting who it is; the grounding for what it does. Aligning mission with the congregation’s personality will increase commitment and engagement in congregation's life and mission. Facilitated by Dr. Michael C. Rehak, Director of the Institute for Congregational Identity. Session 22. (moved from morning sessions.) Seeing the Congregation Through a Family Systems Lens. (Carol Jeunnette) Congregations are not families, but in many ways they operate as families do. At times, they are clear on what is important to them, and are working toward well thought-out goals, with well thought-out guides and principles. At other times, they seem to lose track of what they are about, or conflicts arise, and relationships get difficult. This workshop introduces a systems perspective on congregations, drawing on the family systems theory developed by Dr. Murray Bowen and applied to congregations by Rabbi Edwin Friedman and several others. Stories of several congregations will be used to help illustrate this perspective. The workshop presenter, Pastor Carol Jeunnette, has a Ph. D. in pastoral theology and Bowen Family Systems theory. She works with congregations facing challenges.


February 16, 2019
8:15 am - 2:45 pm