Category Archives: Events

Youth Events Compared With Church and Pastor, Home and Parent, and Catechesis

Pastor Phillip Hoppe has written an excellent article titled “What the NYG and Higher Things have in common,” that compares youth gatherings with church and pastor, with home and parents, including catechesis. Here are some excerpts:

What do the NYG and Higher Things have in common? Neither is as important as they seem.  Your church and pastor are.  Your home and parents are.  Find Jesus first and foremost there.

I have nothing against going to these gatherings. But if any of them becomes looked at as way better than what you pastor gives you at church and your parents teach you in your home, there is need for repentance.

These gatherings … are not even close to the most important things in regard to your faith.  So what is?  Two things.  First, connection to and participation in your local church as it gathers around the Word and Sacrament weekly.  Second, daily prayer and catechesis in your home.  Your pastor and your parents are much more important than the celebrities at either youth gathering.

See the whole article here.

Fantastic-looking Conference – The Catechism as Guide to …

Return to Wittenberg (R2W) presents its 2016 conference titled, “What Does This Mean?” This conference will address questions such as:

  • Why do we gather for worship every Sunday?
  • I feel closer to God in nature than in a pew; do I really need to go to church?
  • What is the point of repeating the same old songs week after week?
  • Shouldn’t we be more focused on reaching the lost?
  • I’ve been going to church my whole life and I don’t know why.

R2W describes the purpose of the conference this way:

What is the point of going to Church? Can’t I praise and thank God from anywhere – like in the comfort of my own home? I already believe in God. I’m basically a good person. Isn’t that enough?

R2W’s first annual conference will deal with these and other questions that Christian millennials struggle with by addressing the all-encompassing question posed by the Small Catechism: “What Does This Mean?”

We believe the answer to this question can be found in the Catechism’s Six Chief Parts – 1) the Ten Commandments, 2) the Creed, 3) the Lord’s Prayer, 4) Holy Baptism, 5) Confession, and 6) Holy Communion – which are the essence of the entire Christian faith. Our conference will use the Parts as an outline, around which all our worship, discussions, and presentations will be based.

Through the Six Chief Parts, we will discover that the meaning of all true Christian life and worship is found in Christ Jesus, the Incarnate God, and what He offers us through His Holy Spirit in the blessed Means of Grace.

Why does Return to Wittenberg exist? In their own words:

Many young people struggle to find authenticity in the chaos of the world today. The lines between real-life and online, true and false, moral and immoral have become increasingly blurred. While it should be a source of reprieve, pop-Christianity usually offers very little to aid in the search for something “real.” Churches have resorted to all manner of gimmicks and fads in a fleeting effort to attract young people to their pews. Embarrassing entertainment-based worship services abound. “Cool” youth pastors in jeans and graphic-Ts are all the rage. And congregations insist on dumbing down their traditional teachings to the basest form of spoiled spiritual milk in a self-defeating attempt to keep their kids “interested.” Even if these misguided efforts prove initially alluring, once the limited emotional highs offered by their ear-pleasing theology and practice subside, most people are left asking deeper, life-and-death questions.

500 years ago a monk from the little town of Wittenberg, Germany, was also left asking life-and-death questions by a church that had lost its authenticity. The church of his day invented new, gimmicky methods of “doing church” that were worlds apart from the Way of Christ and His Apostles. Under the pope in Rome, Christian worship became something people did for God rather than what God did for them. The focus of their worship was on man’s effort and action.

Unfortunately, this paradigm is not an isolated 16th-century or papal phenomenon. It is reflected by modern church-goers who believe that “going to church” and “worship” are all about what they have to do for God. It is also present in the attitudes and motivations of those who place the emphasis on man’s desire for entertainment and novelty. In both cases, the heart and soul of the Church’s worship life is lost. In order to find it again, we will return to Wittenberg and re-discover the authentic Christianity that German monk found those many centuries ago…

What is Return to Wittenberg’s purpose? Again, in their own words:

Return to Wittenberg (R2W) is an organization sponsored by pastors and laymen affiliated with congregations of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) and Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS). Our mission is to move beyond the theological fluff and gimmicks of the present age in an effort to promote, develop, and strengthen a Confessional understanding of the Lutheran faith in the millennial generation and beyond. We hope to do this by:

Ensuring proper catechesis from the whole counsel of God’s Word as plainly taught in the Lutheran Confessions

Examining what believers throughout the two millennia of the Church’s existence have taught about the Christian faith and its connection to Evangelical-Lutheran theology and tradition

Emphasizing the centrality of the Means of Grace in the life and work of the Church and her Divine Service

Explaining why we do what we do in the Divine Service through the Lutheran Liturgy

Exploring the ways the Means of Grace affect Christian vocations, to the benefit of family, Church, and state

The conference will present the Catechism as guide to:

  • Preaching and hearing
  • Christian prayer
  • Sacramental life
  • Private confession

The conference will be held July 26-29, 2016 at Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. For the complete schedule, click here. You can register here.

“Keeping Our Children in the Faith” — Concordia Catechetical Academy Symposium 2016

Concordia Catechetical Academy of Peace Lutheran Church in Sussex, Wisconsin presents its 2016 CCA Symposium titled “Keeping Our Children in the Faith.”

This year’s symposium tackles the fervent desire of the Church, her pastors, and her parents that our children, who have been brought into the kingdom of God through Holy Baptism, are kept in Christ in the true faith, willing to suffer all, even death, rather than to fall away from Him.

The Concordia Catechetical Academy (CCA) is an auxiliary organization of Peace, Sussex, dedicated to the promotion of Luther’s Small Catechism and faithful Lutheran catechesis. The symposium will be held jointly at Peace, W240 N6145 Maple Avenue, Sussex and Country Springs Hotel, Waukesha on June 15–17. Contact Matt Gatchell, (262) 246-3200, or visit the website, for more information.

The full schedule is available here. Below are highlights and the list of featured presenters.

Wednesday, June 15

2:00 to 4:00
Catechesis Workshop: Question & Answer Forum on the Task of Catechesis and the Lutheran Catechesis Series
Peter C. Bender

2:00 to 4:00
Children’s Choir Rehearsal

Divine Service for Catechesis: The Parable of the Prodigal Son
Peter C. Bender

Reception: Wine, Bear, and Hors d’oeuvres

Thursday, June 16

8:00 Registration
Master of Ceremonies
Walter D. Otten

Matins: Let the Little Children Come to Me
Aaron Koch

Steadfast in His Word & Faith Until We Die: How the Head of the Household Teaches His Children to Pray and Confess
Richard Stuckwisch

The Liturgy Is for Children
Burnell F. Eckardt

12:00 noon Lunch (on your own)
Children’s Choir Rehearsal

2:00 p.m.
Biblical Families: What’s the Portrait?
Karl F. Fabrizius

3:30 p.m. “We believe…in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church” – Treating our children as if they were saints, because that’s who they are!
Jason D. Lane

5:30 p.m.
Divine Service: The Parables of the Lost Sheep & the Lost Coin
Preacher: Karl F. Fabrizius

Friday, June 16
8:00 a.m. Matins: The Boy Jesus in the Temple
Aaron Koch

8:30 a.m.
The Broken Heart of a Christian Parent
Peter C. Bender

10:15 a.m. Panel Discussion
Bender, Eckardt, Fabrizius, Koch, Lane, Stuckwisch

11:30 a.m.
The Litany

12:00 p.m.
Augsburger Barbecue


Peter C. Bender, M.Div.
Pastor of Peace Lutheran Church and Academy
Director of the Concordia Catechetical Academy
Sussex, Wisconsin

Burnell F. Eckardt, Jr., S.T.M., Ph.D.
Pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church
Kewanee, Illinois
Editor-in-Chief, Gottesdienst: The Journal of Lutheran Liturgy

Karl F. Fabrizius, Ph.D.
Pastor of Our Father’s Lutheran Church
Greenfield, Wisconsin

Jason D. Lane, S.T.M
Assistant Professor of Theology
Concordia University Wisconsin

Richard Stuckwisch, MA, S.T.M., Ph.D
Pastor of Emmaus Lutheran Church
South Bend, IN

Aaron Koch, M.Div.
Pastor of Mount Zion Lutheran Church
Greenfield, Wisconsin

From Font to Grave: Catechesis for the Lifelong Disciple

From Font to Grave: Catechesis for the Lifelong Disciple
27th Annual Theological Symposium, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis
Sept. 20-21, 2016

“We have entered a millennium in which people claim to be spiritual but know next to nothing about religion. And the people in the pews are no exception. The rote way of confirmation ministry a generation ago is failing our children in a society marked by religious pluralism. We need to think afresh how we form disciples of Christ not only in eighth grade but throughout their entire lives. Does this mean we abandon the Catechism? Exactly the opposite. More than anything, we need to recover and renew the church’s catechetical tradition, discovering anew what it means to be Christ’s own and to live under Him in His kingdom today.

Check back soon for more details and registration information.”





Free Stuff — Conference Registration Gift to Next Three Registrants

The next three people who register for and attend the Brothers of John the Steadfast Conference, February 4-6, 2016, will receive free at the conference in Tomball, Texas, the “Gerhard-Pless Package.”

This package is a gift from It is a selection two books by Johann Gerhard and two by John T. Pless. It includes:

»   Sacred Meditations, Johann Gerhard

»   Handbook of Consolations, Johann Gerhard

»   Handling the Word of Truth, John T. Pless

»   Didache, John T. Pless

The Conference features:

  • Rev. Larry Beane – Reformation Worship Then and Now
  • Rev. John Pless – Reformation Catechesis
  • Rev. Chris Hull – Reformation Preaching
  • Rev. Hans Fiene – The Real Reformation vs. the World’s Take
  • Rev. Warren Graff – The Reformation and the Ministry
  • Rev Joshua Scheer – Conservative and Radical Reformation – Then and Now
  • Dr. Matthew Phillips – Reformation Laity – Then and Now

As if that were not enough …

LONGER CONFERENCE – Three days of speakers and fun instead of two

BREAKOUT SESSIONS – Not only will we have our normal major speakers, but there will also be breakout sessions as well.

CHILDCARE PROVIDED – Bring the kids. We will have childcare provided.

EXPANDED NO PIETISTS ALLOWED PARTIES – Instead of the normal three, there will be likely five different events spanning the two nights.

OTHER GROUPS FROM STEADFAST LUTHERANS – Sisters of Katie Luther will be there; PLUS some surprise stuff.

Click here to register for the Conference.

This is going to be a groovy deal, ya know. So let’s head there!