Posts

Worship Helps

During weekly worship, Christians join with other believers in prayer and praise to God. More importantly, they join with other believers to hear the Word of God. One way the Word is proclaimed during worship is through the assigned readings from the Bible for the particular day in the church year.

Using WELS Worship Helps, Christians can prepare their hearts for worship by studying the assigned readings in advance. Worship Helps are released weekly, on the Monday prior to worship. They are available on the WELS.net web site as well as via e-mail subscription.

Each week, the Worship Helps introduction identifies a theme that runs through the various Bible readings for the week. Each reading is followed by questions and answers related to the reading, and both traditional and supplemental readings are included in Worship Helps.

Application/audience

Personal and group Bible study can be designed around Worship Helps. Time spent studying the worship passages is later reinforced and magnified in the Christian’s worship experience. Share links to the resource in e-newsletters and via social media channels to encourage others to use it to prepare for worship. Consider using Worship Helps for church and school faculty/staff devotion or family devotion.

We actually use Worship Helps in the WELS Technology office for team devotion to start our weekly staff meetings. Different team members volunteer to read the passages ,and we discuss the questions (before looking at the answers) as a group. When the reading comes up in church the next Sunday, I’m always excited to hear it and learn more about it through the songs and sermon for the week.

Related resources

Additional Bible study and devotional resources from WELS include ..

See All Ministry Resources

WELS Video on Vimeo

No one would argue with the fact that video is becoming more prevalent in Internet communication. In fact, a recent study indicates that the average consumer watches 49 minutes of social video every day, and that number is expected to grow. Another study projects that by 2019, 80% of Internet traffic will be video. Perhaps now, more than ever, we might be inclined to agree with this 1964 statement by Marshall McLuhan –

“The medium is the message.”

in the sense that the medium of video is becoming an expectation of online communication if a message is to be heard.

Application/audience

But video creation takes time and strategic thinking. To support and supplement congregation and school needs in this area, WELS offers a collection of 1,100+ videos which can be shared via social media and embedded on church and school web sites. These videos are available on the Vimeo web site at vimeo.com/wels. Video topics include …

and more. The video below gives a brief overview of the site and includes a demonstration of how video can be easily shared and embedded.

Related resources

In addition to the Vimeo hosting platform, WELS videos are also available on YouTube at youtube.com/user/welsstreams.

See All Ministry Resources

Interactive Faith Bible Study

WELS has been providing online Bible studies through their Interactive Faith series for a number of years nows. The brainchild of a few pastors from the South Atlantic District, this form of study has touched thousands of lives with God’s Word. Since the beginning Livestream has been used to stream the one hour presentations to the internet. Through the use of a chat feature viewers can ask questions and provide comments and answers to study question. Many of the participants joined from their homes, but the original model was designed to be presented to groups gathered together for onsite interaction. A study guide is provided.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with almost all the presenters and moderators. This truly is a labor of love for all involved…a love for the Word of God. Most presenters are unfamiliar with the format. They must learn to look into a camera rather than the eyes of students, who can provide verbal and non-verbal feedback. Despite that, the materials presented have been excellent. One of the advantages of this kind of format is that “experts” in the subject matter can be shared with a wider audience.

Application/audience

While the online chat feature can only be experienced during the live presentations, the presentations themselves are all recorded and available online. These by themselves could be used in traditional Bible study formats along with the study materials. We’ve used them for team Bible studies within the technology department at the Center for Mission and Ministry on occasion. Take advantage of the hard work that went into these. They are timeless and will surely benefit any group you can gather together to view them and participate in the built-in discussions.

A sample of the studies so far include:

  • What does this mean? The continuing importance of Luther’s Small Catechism
  • Uncovering Our Calling
  • What’s In A Name
  • The Ministry of Elisha
  • Who Am I & Why Am I Here?
  • I’d Like To Study My Bible, But…
  • The Book of Jonah: God’s Grace to Runaways

These series can be found at https://vimeo.com/channels/976946.

As of this writing, the next series is scheduled to start on Wednesday, February 1 at 6 and 8pm CST. It is called “Mysterious Marriage” by Pastor Randy Hunter.

See All Ministry Resources

The Miracle Morning

The start of a new year and hanging of a pristine new calendar, often stirs in us a desire to review our plans, goals, and personal productivity. Hal Elrod’s book, The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM), details one approach to invigorating and accelerating the goals you’ve adopted. The approach is simple … discipline yourself to wake up one hour earlier and use the time for focused concentration on important areas of your life. While Elrod’s motivation may be different than some, this short read can serve as a springboard to adopting a healthy early-morning habit.

Application/audience

This book and the concept of starting your day with Bible study, prayer, exercise, journaling, reading and planning are something everyone can consider. As Christians, we are called to work while it is day at the tasks the Lord has prepared for us. Many WELSTech-ers have calls in the public ministry while many others are dedicated volunteers and leaders in their congregations and schools. Why not consider adding an early morning routine to your day to find out if it helps you as you carry out your public and personal ministry.

Related resources

There’s no shortage of self-help/personal productivity books on the market. Elrod himself advocates for reading other authors during your designated 10 minute reading time and adapting your “Miracle Morning” regime based on things you uncover during your reading. Here are just a few possibilities to get you started.

See All Ministry Resources

Reformation Reading Plan on YouVersion

As we begin the new year, it is the perfect time to review the available resources for Bible reading plans. Add to that the fact that we will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, and it makes sense to consider plans that identify readings throughout the year that were influential in the life and work of the early reformers. The 365 Day Reading Plan offering from YouVersion entitled “Reformation Reading Plan” is described this way:

We celebrate the Reformation’s 500th Anniversary with a call to the Word. This plan, as did the Reformers, accents:

  • The Word alone — Sola Scriptura
  • A “gospel” order (the Bible organized according to which books most influenced the Reformers)
  • Some grace each week
  • The use of the latest communication technology (from Gutenberg to YouVersion!)

This reading plan was assembled by the Michigan District of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS).

Application/audience

The reading plans contributed to YouVersion take different shapes and sizes. Some take you through the entire Bible, others focus on different themes. Some offer devotional thoughts, others just raw listings of Bible passages. The Reformation Reading Plan in simply a collection of Bible readings without commentary, but are specific to key chapters in the Bible that God used to clarify for theologians like Martin Luther the truth about law, gospel, grace, justification and sanctification.

YouVersion makes these plans available via their website at bible.com, but also on all their apps including iOS, Android, Amazon, etc. Each offers an easy way to check off read selections, enable reminder notifications/emails, as well as integrated solutions for highlighting, note-taking and even sharing with others. Their social features make it fun to share thoughts and also words of encouragement.

Related resources

If you are interested in other Bible reading plans you may want to consider:

See All Ministry Resources