About a month ago, on the last Sunday of the church year, I had the privilege of preaching for a mission festival at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Watertown, WI. In the sermon, we marveled at the greatness of Christ. He is the Shepherd-King who came from the Father in heaven. He came with the authority to lay down his life for the sins of all people (no one excluded!) and the authority to take up His life again (to guarantee eternal deliverance and victory). In the sermon, I shared some of the amazing ways God is using Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, our sister seminaries around the world, our PSI program, and our WELS home and world mission efforts to train men around the world to serve as evangelical Lutheran pastors. Specifically, I told them about theological training among the Sudanese (in the US and Africa), the Hmong (in the US and Asia), and at Asia Lutheran Seminary in Hong Kong (and beyond).
After the worship service, one young lady shook my hand and said in reference to our PSI team (Sorum, Bare, Wordell): “You have the greatest job ever!”
A comment like that will put a spring in your step on the way back to the sacristy!
In the sermon, we had talked about the vital role that all God’s people play in the work of the gospel. People who pray. People who support. People who encourage. People who let their light shine here. People who go and let their light shine there. Believers who are always ready to give the reason for the hope they have. Parents and congregations who train their children to know and love the Good Shepherd.
And now how quickly this young woman offered a powerful word of encouragement!
As the World Mission Seminary Professor, I have the privilege of teaching on the WLS campus during the first semester and teaching in many different countries during second semester. Yesterday, I completed my first semester of teaching Dogmatics (doctrine) to all 30 Middlers. Because I served as a missionary to Japan for 16 years, in Japanese fashion we took a final group picture and even made the V-for-victory sign.
When you look at this picture, perhaps you think the following:
- “Wow! What fine young men–gifts from the Lord!”
- “Think of all the parents, pastors, teachers, and church members who have taught and encouraged these men from the time they were born!”
- “I will pray for their ongoing studies and for their vicar year which will start in June.”
- “I will continue to support the gospel ministry of WELS so these men may serve someday as Lutheran pastors in North America and around the world.”
When I look at this picture, I think those things too! But these words also come to mind: “I have the greatest job ever!”
Have a blessed Christmas in Christ the King!
—Professor Bradley Wordell