Workshops



Grow Workshops (Friday, February 9th)


Teacher/ECE Professional Growth

  • Praiseworthy Parenting, for Parents and Teachers (Tania Kopplin)      
“No, I don't want to. You can’t make me. But why? Because I said so! Sit down and be quiet!” Sound familiar? Would like to know what some parents and teachers do about this?? This workshop will introduce strategies to help YOU, parents and teachers, discover that parenting or teaching really can be fun...and Kids really can learn to be responsible, respectful, and fun to be around.

Tania graduated from DMLC in 1992. In 13 years of teaching she has taught or substitute taught grades prek-8 in NE, WIS, FL and TX. She is currently teaching first and second grades at Calvary, Dallas. Tania is married and a mom of a 19, 16, and 13 year old. Through her years of teaching and parenting, she has read, studied and become passionate about parenting. Tania has facilitated "Parenting with Love and Logic" classes at Calvary for 3 years. Her motto for parenting is Proverbs 22:6.
  • Music Workshop (Dawn Aswege)
Looking for the perfect piece of music for the classroom or for worship? Then join us at this round table workshop to share our best picks from the past. We’ll have some selections to share, but bring your favorite music and sources so we can all grow together at this workshop.

Dawn Aswege has been involved with music at Calvary both in the classroom and in worship.
  • Reaching Out With Family Friendly Schools – Passion, Preparation & Procedures - (Tom Hering)    
How family friendly is your school? This presentation will help you wrestle with that question (including the use of a Family
Friendly School Inventory) and provide some ideas regarding important characteristics, attitudes and behaviors associated with family friendly schools. These concepts are important whether you are reaching out to people in your community or to those in your church family.

Tom graduated from Dr. Martin Luther College (MLC) in 1980. He served as a principal and teacher in WELS schools in Carlsbad, CA (19 years) and Grafton (5 years). Fourteen years ago he accepted a Staff Minister Call in Grafton, where he has focused on pastoral support duties. Tom has remained connected to school ministry by serving on some consulting and accreditation teams, serving on the local ALHS Board of Directors, and occasionally substitute teaching. His wife, Linda, has taught Family and Consumer Education classes at Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School for the past 19 years, and together they have 6 children and 7 (8) grandchildren.

  • Special Ed – Brenda Wagenknecht 
Special Education in WELS Schools: Are you a teacher who wants to address the needs of all your students? An 
administrator who wants resources to develop a plan to meet special needs in your school? Are you a parent or member 
who wants ideas on how to support your WELS school as an inclusive setting?

Brenda Wagenknecht is a special education teacher with experience as an inclusion specialist. She will address ways our schools are poised to meet the needs of students with varying challenges: learning disabilities, physical disabilities, intellectual and developmental delays. Learn the terms IEP, 504 Plan, Accommodations, and Modifications and how WELS schools can use them to address student needs. Take away tools and resources that you can use immediately in your school setting! 

Pastoral Professional Growth

  • Expanded study on opening service sermon (Donald Patterson) 
Information coming soon!

  • Evangelism Round Table Discussion (Paul Seager) 
The way you store up treasures in heaven is to invest in people on earth. How? You share Jesus with them. Join us at the invigorating round table discussion about evangelism. Share your ideas. Take home some new ideas.

Pastor Paul Seager is the chairman on evangelism for our South Central District and stands ready to serve you and your congregation in this regard. He is the pastor of Christ Alone Lutheran Church, a mission in Keller, Texas.

  • Street Level Preaching (Jon Enter) 
The Bible gives the 30,000 foot view. And for good reason! If everything Jesus did was recorded there wouldn't be enough books to contain all his teaching and transforming of people. (John 20:30). And that's just the gospels! The hearts of our people yearn for knowledge and depth in God's Word. In street level preaching, the sermon writer is intentional about drawing his listeners into the emotion and backstory the Bible characters. When our people connect to the emotion of why someone acted as they did in the Bible, they more easily connect the message of the Bible to their own lives. If we preach 
at a 30,000 level, our people can easily find the sermon to be a history lesson about what happened to those people then. If we draw our listeners into the tension of the text at street level so they can feel the emotion of the bible characters, suddenly it's a relatable message aimed at the hearts of our people now. How do you make Bible characters relatable and real? How do you transport your listener across centuries to apply the Bible as personally relevant today? Come to this workshop to sharpen, calculate and listen to techniques to add more tools into your preaching toolbox. 

  • TRANSFORMED: Equipping Youth Leaders – Jon Enter
More than two-thirds of young adults who attended church regularly in high school will completely stop attending church after high school graduation. How sad! How spiritually dangerous! One of the greatest mission fields we have for the Church is in the church, in our pews...for now. The strategies we have used over the years to keep youth connected to the Sacraments and their Savior have not been fruitful for nearly 70% of young adults. Let's give God something new to bless by examining how we can refocus our ministries to be less lecture or program based and to, Lord willing, transform youth in their relationship with Christ by the power of the gospel.

Jon Enter is a pastor at Divine Savior in West Palm Beach, FL and has been serving as a pastor there for more than a decade. He is married to Debbi and has four daughters. He serves as a speaker on Your Time of Grace and a leader for our Youth in the WELS.



General Education
  • Social Church: Building a Modern Communications Framework for your Congregation (Alli Pappathopoulos)
Facebook, Instagram, email, websites, mobile apps – digital platforms like these have changed the way we communicate. Is your church keeping up? More importantly, should your church keep up?
The good news? The Church has something that many businesses, board rooms and influencers wish they had: the perfect message of grace and peace in Jesus. The world is longing to hear this truth!

But, the world is a noisy place, and only those who speak clearly will be heard and understood.
In this workshop, we’ll dive into the key components of a communications plan, including:
  • Identifying the platforms and content your church should focus on…and the resources required to do it well
  • Developing a profile for the people you’re trying to connect with
  • Examining how your communications are reflecting and impacting your ministry plan
Participants will also walk through interactive exercises and receive ready-to-customize documents and tools to help simplify your communications for greater impact.

Alli Pappathopoulos has more than 10 years of marketing strategy, creative direction and web design experience. As partner & creative director at Twelve Two Creative, she helps churches share the gospel through engaging design, modern outreach techniques and sound communications strategies. Twelve Two Creative takes a holistic approach to outreach, marketing and church communications, diving deep into your ministry and your message to create websites, outreach campaigns and design programs that matter to the people you’re trying to reach.

  • NOT How to do a Ministry Plan, but DOING a ministry plan (Ed Schuppe)

Flying by the seat of your pants does not work in aviation? And "flying by the seat of your pants" usually does not work in the church if you want to get more and more people involved? So what do we do? Planning. Mission Counselor Ed Schuppe will share with you some basics of planning and will help you develop a ministry plan before you leave the conference. Planning has been a lifelong study and passion of Ed. He guarantees you will learn a lot and have fun doing it.

  • Marriage Digging Deeper and Role Play (Annie Drake)
Information coming soon!

  • Praise and Proclaim training (Dave Malnes)
Proclaiming the gospel is scary and intimidating for many Christians. We often wonder what to say. We feel guilty for not taking advantage of opportunities to give a reason for the hope we have in Christ. I know. I have struggled with fear throughout my ministry. And I know I am not alone. For this reason, Praise and Proclaim Ministries exists to help Christians like myself overcome fear and verbally share the gospel with friends, relatives, acquaintances and friends. This workshop will focus on how our ministry is training WELS & ELS Christians from across the country to conquer their fears by discovering first-hand that evangelism is far more about trusting God’s promises than about ourselves.

Dave Malnes has been serving as a WELS staff minister/evangelism for almost twenty years. After launching a Hmong outreach ministry in St. Paul, MN, Dave took a call to help start Peace in Jesus Vietnamese Lutheran Church in Boise, ID. From 2007-2015, Dave helped launch Truth in Love Ministry [Mormon outreach]. Praise and Proclaim Ministries officially began in January 2016. This ministry has already launched twenty-five outreach initiatives with WELS/ELS churches in fourteen states and trained almost 500 members to proclaim the gospel. Our training includes an important component of providing a live experience to go out door-to-door to practice on a stranger.

  • Elder Visits Made Practical (John Koelpin)
Elder’s work is vital for the church’s health to proclaim Jesus to God’s people. Even if you didn’t come to this workshop last year, you will be able to jump right in to this practical workshop for Edlers. We will share practical approaches to various situations.

  • Understanding Millennials and Church Culture (Nate Sutton)
Millennials! I know – this term has probably been worn out at your church, too. Would you like to better understand the challenge that is facing us regarding this church culture phenomena? Join us at our workshop to better understand ourselves and how we can better reach those who need to hear about Jesus.

Pastor Nate Sutton serves on our South Central District Mission Board and recently lead his circuit through study on this topic that comes highly recommended for leadership at our churches.

  • Hot and Cold Cultures (Steve Wagenknecht)
How does your congregation's culture relate to culture of your local community? Cultures can be divided into 2 camps: hot-climate cultures and cold-climate cultures. Each culture has different values that express themselves in daily living and interpersonal relationships. When individuals or congregation cross cultural camps; they can unknowingly create social barriers to gospel outreach, experience frustration, and even spark conflict. This workshop will provide a forum to discuss general cultural observations and ways to cross the cultural gap and work towards effective communication of the gospel. 

Pastor Wagenknecht has extensive ministry experience working across cultures in WELS Latin American world missions and in stateside congregations. He serves at Abiding Savior in Weslaco, Texas. Abiding Savior's membership is currently 80% Anglo; located in a city on the U. S. - Mexico border with 90% of the population of Hispanic descent.

  • Your Baby Boy and His Names: Martin Luther on Isaiah 9:6 (Nathaniel Biebert)
At the end of 1531, an ailing Martin Luther preached six Christmas sermons in the span of four consecutive days, and five of them were a series on just one Bible verse, Isaiah 9:6. These sermons are a colorful microcosm of Luther and his reformation, but more importantly, Luther clearly and beautifully proclaims the gospel of Jesus Christ in them. We will put our hand in Father Luther’s, so to speak, and walk with him through Isaiah 9:6. Luther will help us answer such questions as: Who are the “us” Isaiah is talking about? What does it mean that Jesus’ “government will be on his shoulders”? How many names does Isaiah actually give Jesus in that verse? How can Isaiah call God the Son “Everlasting Father”? Along the way, Luther will give us plenty of his impressive quotes, but above all, he will magnify for us the impressiveness of our Savior. (It is recommended, but not necessary, to read the book Luther at the Manger[NPH, 2017] beforehand.)

Pastor Nathaniel Biebert graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 2009. He has served as a tutor at Nebraska Evangelical Lutheran High School (1 year) and as a pastor of a dual parish in rural Wisconsin (6½ years). Since February 2017 he has served the members of Risen Savior in South Austin. He married Katherine née Sternberg in 2012, and they vacationed in Germany together the following year, visiting a number of Luther sites and others. At Martin Luther College (MLC), he minored in confessional languages, helping to found Studium Excitare, which is now the official journal of confessional language studies at MLC, and being awarded The President August F. Ernst Grant for Confessional Languages for German and Latin during the 2002-2003 school year. Since then, his translation work has been published in both the Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly and the WELS Historical Institute Journal. He has been interested in the life and theology of Martin Luther for as long as he can remember, and Northwestern Publishing House recently published his translation of a series of Luther’s sermons under the title Luther at the Manger: Christmas Sermons on Isaiah 9:6 (2017).

  • Establishing An Endowment Fund (James Holm)
By the grace of God, WELS Foundation currently administers more than 300 endowment funds valued at nearly $80 million. We have noticed a growing interest on the part of congregations to establish endowment funds benefiting their local ministry. WELS Foundation can provide an “easy button” to simplify the process of establishing and administering an endowment fund.

An endowment fund can provide a source of ongoing revenue to support the ministries of your congregation until the Lords return. In this session you will learn how your congregation can establish and benefit from an endowment fund.


Topics include:
What is the difference between a true endowment and a quasi-endowment?
How should an endowment fund be invested?
How much should be distributed each year from an endowment fund?

Benefits of an endowment fund include:
Provides members with the opportunity to leave significant financial gifts to their home congregation, generally at their death, without the funds significantly distorting the congregation’s annual budget.
Provides a framework for receiving cash gifts, appreciated property (stocks or real estate, and other planned gifts, such as through a will, trust, beneficiary designation on a retirement account, or insurance proceeds.
It is an ongoing reminder for members that estate plans (e.g. wills, etc.) are a part of Christian stewardship.
An individual can use an endowment to continue his or her offerings to a ministry even after being taken to heaven.
An endowment provides additional funding for current operations as well as money for future and expanded efforts.

James Holm is the executive director for the WELS Foundation.

  • WELS Shepherd Plan 403b Update and Income Planning (Verlyn Hahn)
Are you in the WELS Shepherd Plan? Come and find out the benefits that you receive from your WELS denominational 403b. If you are not involved in the WELS 403b, come and find out why you and your entity should be. There are specific benefits that the denominational 403b provides to you as called workers. We will also discuss retirement income planning and portfolio options. See us at our booth as well!

Verlyn Hahn, CFP, and Kelly Hahn, Investment Advisor Representative, are part of Hahn Financial Group, the plan advisor for the WELS-ELS Shepherd Plan 403b. They have 26+ years of experience in the industry and are fellow WELS members here to serve you!