WordAlone Network - 2009 Annual Convention information
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2009 convention logo

WordAlone Network’s
Annual Convention

and Annual Gathering of Lutheran CORE

April 26, 3:30 p.m. – April 27, 5:30 p.m.

Calvary Lutheran Church

Golden Valley, Minn.

photo of Pastor Lindquist

Keynote address – “How will they hear? Feet first in the mission of God, Romans 10:14-15” by Pr. Charles Lindquist, General Director, World Mission Prayer League, Minneapolis, Minn.

photo of Pastor Dornbusch

Preacher – Pr. Steve Dornbusch, senior pastor, Calvary Lutheran Church, Golden Valley, Minn.

Download the convention Registration Form. Register by April 15 to ensure full participation in the convention.

The 2009 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Churchwide Assembly and its potentially momentous decisions on a sexuality social statement and related matters are getting a lot of attention in the ELCA. As important as the assembly and those decisions are, churches ought not neglect "the main thing" — being evangelists for Christ Jesus and His Gospel.

Christian churches and their members do many worthwhile activities and ministries. However, if believers and churches don't proclaim Jesus Christ and His Gospel, no one else will.

We are all called to be witnesses for Christ. We will have that call no matter what the churchwide assembly decides this year. The WordAlone Network offers its convention as a service to all who want to stay focused on the main thing.

The need to proclaim Jesus Christ in North America is urgent. Average worship attendance at ELCA churches has plummeted six straight years, and it has happened in other churches too. Surveys show that most North Americans, including people who worship in Christian churches, believe that Jesus Christ is only one of many ways to God, rather than “the way.”

Attendees can attend multiple workshops on evangelism:

  • An Urban Approach to Evangelism – Pr. Paul Andell, Philadelphia, Pa.

    Every setting of ministry has its own context. St. James Lutheran Church in Philadelphia seeks to fulfill its mission as a city congregation through its worship and programs. You will hear about its outreach and from formerly unchurched people who were attracted to this growing church. We will discuss strategies for effective evangelism in an urban, multicultural setting.

    photo of Pr. AndellPastor Andell, a fourth-generation Lutheran pastor, has served at St. James since 1975. He is a graduate of Augsburg College, Minneapolis, and Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, PA. He served for six years on the WordAlone board and has been very interested in comparative religions, urban ministry, public speaking, evangelism, pastoral care, Christian education, youth retreats, leadership development, and visioning.

  • Beyond Our Sacred Spaces: Witnessing in Our Judea's and Samaria's – Pr. Johan Hinderlie, Alexandria, Minn.

    photo of Pr. HinderlieJesus said "you will be my witnesses." Where does this happen outside of Church? Examples of witnessing by Chinese Lutherans at Bible Camps, youth on mission trips and Seattle Christians doing service projects will be examples of some of the places where we share our testimony to our Living Lord.

    Pastor Hinderlie acquired his love for evangelizing people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ from his family and from Herb Loddigs. He practiced what he learned from them as a student at Williams College and then in his seminary education at both Luther and Northwestern Seminaries. He served parishes in Washington, North Dakota and Wisconsin before taking on his current ministry as the Director of Mount Carmel Ministries in Alexandria, MN. For many years, he preached five days a week on a radio outreach ministry and at the same time developed the Mount Carmel site where Christians have brought their non-believing friends “to taste and see that the Lord is good.”

  • Evangelical Renewal Program (Monday sessions only) – Pr. Fred Baltz, Galena, Ill.

    Evangelical Renewal is based on the model for the Preaching Teaching Reaching (PTR's) events held in Lutheran churches across America in the 1950' and '60's. It holds many advantages for churches desiring to (1) engage in effective evangelism, and (2) maintain a culture for evangelism in the church. In this workshop you will learn how one church has successfully carried out Evangelical Renewals, the many opportunities ER affords individuals and groups within a church, how churches can work together for their respective ER events, etc. ER declares evangelism central to the church's ministry in a very visible way.

    photo of Pastor BaltzDr. Baltz is Pastor of St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Galena, Ill., where he also directs Bible Alive, a unique Bible learning center complete with a planetarium. He has written confirmation curriculum and several books including: As of First Importance: A Theology and Practice of Evangelism for Mainline Churches; Lazarus and the Fourth Gospel Community which identifies the enigmatic “Disciple Whom Jesus Loved”; and a historical novel, Herod. With his son Warren, a computer illustrator, he has developed a video: “Herod’s Temple, the Temple Jesus Knew” available through Vision Video. Dr. Baltz graduated from Dana College in Blair, Nebraska. He has an M.Div. and a S.T.M. degree from Wartburg Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa, and a D.Min. from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary.

  • Partnering for Mission: Building Authentic Partnerships in the Global Cause of Jesus – Pr. Charles Lindquist, Minneapolis, Minn.

    photo of Pastor Lindquist

    For the first time ever, ours is a truly global church. Yet nearly a third of our global family have yet to hear the Good News! This workshop will describe the growth of the church in broad outline, with a view toward identifying the missionary task remaining today. It will present a few examples and opportunities for partnership in God's wonderful mission in the world.

    Pr. Lindquist and his family have served with the World Mission Prayer League since 1976, in Ecuador and in the Prayer League's Home Office in Minneapolis. In Ecuador, Chuck served as Director of the Lutheran Center for Theological Education (CLET) as well as Coordinator for a regional consortium of Lutheran Bible Schools in the Andes. In 1986 Chuck became the Prayer League's Personnel Secretary in Minneapolis, and in 1997 he was installed as General Director. Chuck is an ELCA pastor. He has attended Augsburg College (B.A. 1974), Luther Seminary (M.Div. 1979), and Fuller Seminary (M.Th. 1991). Chuck and Cindy Lindquist have three children, Ruth, Nathan and Joel - and a son-in-law and daughter-in-law. They are grandparents to three little boys. The entire family lives in the Twin Cities. The World Mission Prayer League is a Lutheran missionary society, fielding some 120 missionaries in seventeen countries around the world.

  • Raising the Church — Reaching Up and Reaching Out (Monday sessions only) – Pr. Dennis Hill, Galena, Ill.

    Will explore: the Case for Evangelism, the Church and its Responsibility, Practical Principles for Church Growth, and the Sharing of the Lutherans' "Secret Message."

    photo of Pastor HillRev. Dennis Hill is Founder and Pastor of New Beginning Community Church, Dubuque, IA. And Founder and Director of Bear Hugs for Health, an organization helping those hampered by medical bills. He retired from Staff Training and Development after 30 thirty years in the Dept. of Mental Health, State of Illinois. Previously he was Pastor of, New Life Baptist Church, Logan Street Baptist, and Progressive Baptist Church, all in the Chicago, IL area. Recently he was Parish Evangelist for St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Galena, IL., where Dr. Fred Baltz is the Pastor. Rev. Hill has lectured and taught extensively on Evangelism and Ministry to Youth.

  • Rural Evangelism — Tailor Made (Monday sessions only) – Pr. Kevin Ruffcorn, Surprise, Ariz.

    Forget the canned programs that never seem to fit right. Discover how to tailor make evangelism that will fit into the life of your congregation and meet the specific needs of your community. Discussion will focus on reviewing the purpose of evangelism, harnessing the time and talents of congregational members, and discovering ministry/mission needs within your community, and casting the vision for evangelism.

    photo of Pastor RuffcornPr. Ruffcorn is currently serving as pastor of Desert Streams Lutheran Church in Surprise, Arizona—a mission congregation of the ELCA. He has previously served congregations in Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois and North Dakota. He has written numerous magazine articles and has authored five books: Share the Word, Augsburg, 1982; Bible Readings for Growing Christians, Augsburg 1984; The Book of Encouragement, Augsburg 1987; Rural Evangelism: Catching the Vision, Augsburg 1994; and Playing Games, University Press, 1998. He received his BA from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota; a M. Div. from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota, and a D. Min. from Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky. Kevin has been married to Faye for 37 years, and they have two grown sons (and will soon become grandparents).

  • Yes, You Can! Local Congregations Successfully Planting Churches – Pr. Richard Riley, Bloomington, Ill.

    America is experiencing a growing evangelistic deficit. In the last decade, the combined membership of all Protestant denominations has declined by 9.5%, while the national population has increased by 11.4%. If the current trend in church attendance continues, only 11.7% of America will attend church by 2050. Existing churches planting new churches is the most effective means of reaching unchurched people for Jesus Christ. This workshop will discuss biblical roots, vision, models, and planning strategies for fruitful church multiplication.

    photo of Pastor RileyPastor Riley has served thirty years in ministry. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. He holds Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. Pastor Riley is an adjunct faculty member at Heartland Community College in Normal, Illinois, where he teaches in the area of religious studies. He has also taught religious studies at Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois and for The University of St. Francis, Joliet, Illinois. Pastor Riley and his family reside in El Paso, Illinois.

Attendees can attend more general workshops:

  • Sola Publishing (3:40 p.m. on Sunday and 11:00 a.m. on Monday only) – Pr. Steven King, Maple Lake, MN

    Come hear about WordAlone's publishing ministry and see the several new education resources that are "hot off the presses." Among its many publications, Sola has added two new books to its children's "Luther's Small Cat" catechism series, a new Vacation Bible School curriculum, an adult study of Luther's Catechisms, and a new Women's and Men's Group study for 2009. Come to the workshop and receive samples of Sola's reproducible education brochures and a children's poster for your church.

    photo of Pastor KingThe Rev. King serves as Senior Pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Maple Lake, Minnesota. He is a graduate of Luther Seminary, and has served his years of ministry in Southwestern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA. Among his broader pastoral duties, he has had a particular focus on Christian education, for both children and adults. He has produced a number of Bible Studies on various theological topics and books of Scripture, and has written and illustrated educational materials for Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. One of his most recent projects is a children’s paraphrase version of Luther’s Small Catechism. Pastor King has been active in the leadership of the WordAlone Network, on both the synodical and national level, and was a voting member at two ELCA churchwide assemblies. In 2007, he joined the staff of the WordAlone Network to serve part-time as Education Director, producing educational materials for the network’s new ministry, Sola Publishing. Pastor King and his wife Becky are involved in music and theater. They have written a number of songs together, as well as a full-length musical based on the biblical story of Ruth. They have two teenage children, Brandon and Molly.

  • Institute of Lutheran Theology - Dr. Dennis Bielfeldt and Institute staff, Brookings, South Dakota

    photo of Dennis BielfeldtJoin Institute of Lutheran Theology staff for conversation about the M.Div. and Rapid Pastoral Certification programs beginning next fall. Come and talk to us about the offerings and schedule of our Christian Life Series and are theological conferences. Dialogue with us about our new partnership agreements, our theological direction, the present situation within the ELCA, and the opportunities you have to help us in this effort. We are always open to new suggestions!

  • A ReClaim Resources Update (11:00 a.m. on Monday only) – Lead by ReClaim team members —

    ReClaim logoThis workshop offers an opportunity to learn more about how ReClaim is “equipping congregations to make Christians” through its worship and devotional resources. Ask questions, gather ideas for use in your congregation, and see how you can give your needed support to this expanding ministry.

  • Overview of the Reform Movements in the ELCA (Sunday, 3:40 p.m. only) – Rev. Mark Chavez, WordAlone Network Vice President and Lutheran CORE Director

    photo of Pastor ChavezThe alphabet soup of reforming and confessing movements in the ELCA can be very confusing. Get an overview of the reforming movements in the ELCA and learn about WordAlone’s and Lutheran CORE’S (the coalition for reform) roles in the soup. You will also learn how you and your church can work more effectively to help with the reform efforts. Information about the efforts of parallel groups in other Protestant denominations will be shared. This workshop is helpful especially for those who are new to the reform movements.

  • Overview of 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly (11:00 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. on Monday only) Lutheran CORE Steering Committee Members

    Learn about the churchwide assembly in August at the Minneapolis Convention Center, including the major items on the agenda and Lutheran CORE’s plans to be present and involved at the assembly. Churchwide assembly voting members, congregational observers and visitors will find this workshop helpful.

Lutheran CORE Annual Gathering

(Monday, 3:30 p.m.)

The annual Lutheran CORE gathering and it is open to visitors and observers. Lutheran CORE members are those who subscribe to the seven-point Common Confession. Hear reports about the coalition for reform within the ELCA and learn about its goals and priorities. Find out how you can work with this coalition to be effective in bringing about change at synod and churchwide assemblies, and take responsibility for leadership within the ELCA. Learn about Lutheran CORE’s long-term vision and plans.