Featuring Gloria Nelund, Gretchen Jameson and 20 engaging workshop sessions! Be encouraged, educated and equipped to use your gifts to serve Christ in a complex world.
- Plenary Speaker Gloria Nelund
- Bible Study Leader Gretchen Jameson
- Up to 5 Workshops of your choice
- Access to the WLI National Conference Exhibitor Hall
- Friday night Program & Dessert
- Saturday Lunch
- Saturday Dinner and Entertainment by Comedienne Leslie Norris Townsend
- Sunday Worship with Musician Wendysue Fluegge
The WLI 2017 National Conference is located inside the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee. For your convenience, we have secured a block rate for king and double queen rooms at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee. Book your room(s) early to ensure you are included in this block rate. Rooms are $119.00 a night, $20.00 for each additional person per room. Included with reservation is one breakfast voucher for each paid guest to be used in the Bistro 333 in the lobby. Hotel guests will be responsible for parking fees. The cutoff date for reserving a block rate room is August 29, 2017.
Hyatt Regency Milwaukee
333 West Kilbourn Avenue
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, 53203
Additionally, WLI and Concordia University Wisconsin are proud to present Pressure Points, a forum to discuss the challenges of Christian leadership in the secular workplace.
September 29 9:00am - 3:00pm
Hyatt Regency Milwaukee
$99 general public / $35 undergrads
Designed for both men and women Christian professionals and college students, the Pressure Points event will tackle four topics where workplace expectations and responsibilities can create pressure points. Four experienced speakers will share their personal journeys of being a Christian professional in corporate and public life and share tips for navigating the grey areas when Christian values and workplace expectations don’t always reconcile. Each topic will be followed by reflection time, interactive table discussions with like-minded professionals, and online discussion boards for further connection and engagement.
Participants will also receive lunch and refreshments and have to walk through our exhibitor tables and connect with other organizations that support Christian professionals in the workplace. This will be an event you do not want to miss! Click through to see the schedule, speaker bios and topic descriptions.
- Christian business leaders share how to lead and influence in the secular workplace
- 4 Ted Talk-style presentations with small and large group discussion
- Admission to the WLI National Conference Exhibitor Hall
- Buffet lunch and refreshments
Pressure Points & Gifted to Influence
Friday, Sept. 29, 9am - Sunday, Oct. 1, 12 noon
$224 general public / $85 undergrads
Combine Pressure Points with the Gifted to Influence 2017 National Conference for a full weekend of connections, encouragement, and practical tools and resources for Christ-centered service and leadership.
- Pressure Points Christian leadership forum all day Friday
- Gifted to Influence National Conference Friday afternoon through Sunday morning
- Meals, workshops, networking, social opportunities, and exhibits
- Attend both for a full weekend of connections, encouragement, and practical tools and resources for Christ-centered service and leadership!
Visit our DONATE page if you would like to support this conference planning through our Crowdrise fundraising campaign. The first $10,000 donated has been matched by the Siebert Lutheran Foundation.
Use #WLIgifted to share your excitement on social media!
“How do you do it all?” I’m asked regularly by friends and colleagues. My answer: “I don’t.” I watch their eyes get round and their eyebrows shoot up. They know I’m the solo parent of two young children, a full-time employee, and hold numerous other roles. I explain that I used to try to do it all… yes, I tried to be a SuperMom. I even took multivitamins by that name! But the SuperMom Phenom was a dangerous trap for me. The pressure to maintain control over all the moving parts in my life– or the illusion of control – was utterly exhausting and stressful.
Leaders are prone to high levels of stress. The Bible refers to stress as anxiety, worry, and troubles (Matt. 6:25; Ps. 142:2-3). God wants us to come to Him in prayer with our troubles (2 Sam. 22:7). Prayer is the antidote to anxiety: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Phil. 4:6-7). He wants us to learn to love and trust in Him fully to provide for us (Prov. 3:5-6). Furthermore, our general well-being is at stake. We serve no one well when we are highly stressed because we make poor decisions and/or withdraw from situations and people.
I was in a position of leadership at work and in a low place in my personal life when I realized I couldn’t function well anymore. I was no longer challenged in a positive way; I was just overwhelmed. My adrenaline was pumping almost constantly. After prayerful consideration, and to the shock of many, I requested a demotion at work. It was the hardest and best decision of my professional life.
How did I know I was stressed out and not just stretched? At first, I didn’t. Like most of us, I just tried to “power through” the daily grind of managing work, family, and Everything Else. I told myself it would get better after I adjusted. It didn’t. Looking back, I can see I exhibited some of the signs that are commonly associated with stress:
- Negative emotions being close to the surface, such as irritability and frustration
- Resentful attitude
- Feelings of being overwhelmed, especially at night and upon waking
- Sleep disturbances (too much or too little)
- Over-reliance on over-the-counter medications for headaches and other ailments
- Lack of self-care, such as exercise
- Increased escapism activities, such as television
But I’m an overachiever, classic Type A, so I had trouble discerning the difference between the challenges that stretch us – those that are positive, healthy, productive, and growth opportunities – and challenges that stress us, which are those that might debilitate us.
Here are some signs of being stretched:
- Feeling energized by the new role, task, event, life change, etc., even if scared about it
- Brain automatically begins visualizing possibilities
- Able to manage negative emotions reasonably
- Sense of accomplishment surrounding it
If you are exhibiting signs of stress, what can you do about it? I’d recommend the following:
A. Pray. Read Scripture, such as Psalm 118:5-9, John 14:27, and Matthew 6:25-34. Trust in the Lord to provide the necessities of life.
B. Identify the top 1-3 stressor(s) in your life (macro level) or regarding one particular aspect of life (micro level).
1. Decide if the stressor(s) can be fixed with a technical solution. For example, I don’t mind cleaning the house. But I do mind the time that it takes to vacuum snack crumbs out of the carpets, scrape silly putty off the fireplace hearth, and pick up two dozen toy trucks and half-finished art projects. My technical solution was to add a household budget line item for a housekeeper.
2. If a technical solution is not readily apparent, you might need to consider if you have a deeper, philosophical issue. Maybe it is fear of changing or delegating work to someone else, and thus, losing control.
C. Ask yourself what could or will happen if you do nothing? What are the short- and long-term consequences? What will you regret?
D. Consider what you could do for others to help ease their troubles and anxieties (Luke 11:46). Are you creating obstacles for your co-workers or family members? Could you help them overcome their obstacles? Could you serve them in a meaningful way, and thus, experience their tranquility and joy by proxy?
I’m proud to say I’ve shifted away from the SuperMom trappings. But since I’m Type A, I’ll rebrand myself as a TopMom.
Outline. When you hear that word, you probably groan and think of English 101 in high school. Just how were you supposed to place those capital letters and Roman numerals? Don’t worry—outlining a life-changing presentation isn’t about perfecting the mechanics of outlining. It’s about organizing your information in a way that helps audience members listen to and remember your words.
Most of us have had the experience of listening to a speaker roam through a topic without seeming to have any particular destination in mind. His words strolled through the subject without purpose. And he wandered on so many side paths that at the end of the speech you were left wondering what he was trying to say.
Well-organized speeches are:
- Easier to understand. With a clear and logical order, listeners can follow your thoughts.
- Easier to remember. Clear organization helps audience members identify and recall your key points.
- More credible. Speakers who offer well-planned speeches are perceived as more authoritative on their subject.
To begin to formulate a creative outline for Bible-based presentation, look at your chosen Scripture and identify the main ideas. Divide the Scripture into sections and title each section. Make sure the title of each section relates to the key point you want to convey.
Next, play around with the titles. Use your creativity to come up with titles your audience will remember.
For instance, imagine you were going to give a presentation on Colossians 3:5-14, where the apostle Paul talks about putting off the old self and putting on the old self. Here are three creative ways you could structure the talk:
- Use an analogy. Help your audience envision this passage as an exercise in cleaning out their spiritual closets. Employ the terms closet organizers use:
- Toss (vv. 5-11) Toss out anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk.
- Keep (vv. 12-13) Keep compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.
- Donate (v. 14) Give away love.
- Use the same word. Start each section title with the same word. This gives a clear and memorable structure to your speech. For instance:
- Put to death (vv. 5-11) Put to death anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk.
- Put on the new (vv. 12-13) Put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.
- Put love over all (v. 14) Put on love—above all–which binds everything together.
- Use an acronym. Create titles that begin with a letter of a word that relates to your topic. When I speak on this passage, I use the concept of spiritual STYLE and spell out that word:
- See the Need for Change
- Toss Out the Old
- Yearn for Something More
- Learn God’s Style
- Embrace the New
Remember, outlining your speech is not about getting every Roman numeral in the right place—it’s about helping your audience internalize your message. Use your imagination and pray that God will give you a practical and fun way to present your topic.
Sharla Fritz is the author of three Bible studies: Soul Spa, Divine Design, Bless These Lips, and a study for teens: Divine Makeover: God Makes You Beautiful. Check out her online course on Christian speaking at Women’s Leadership Institute Academy. Watch for more information about her speaking workshops at the WLI 2017 National Conference.
I was initially introduced to WLI in 2011 when I came up for the last day of the national conference to participate in worship via liturgical dance with my mom, sister and some other ladies from my church. I don’t remember very much from that experience, other than that I thought it was an amazing opportunity to get to share the Lord through dance – an art form that I love.
My second experience was at the national conference in 2014. The theme for the event was Christ-Connected Women with the theme verse being Hebrews 10:24 which says, “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” A friend of mine and I were blessed to be asked to speak about how the women attending the conference could relate to and foster relationships with younger women of our generation. I was so honored that women who were so much wiser and learned than me would want to sit down and listen to what I had to say. This was a humbling experience, but more than anything it was a learning experience. I was surrounded by SO MANY amazing women leaders. This is my favorite part of WLI: it brings the best female leaders in the Lutheran Church together in one place so that all can learn and grow from their experiences there at the conference and from the experiences of other women and speakers.
My most recent experience with WLI was receiving the call to be a member of the WLI marketing committee to assist with the Twitter and Facebook accounts (the username for both accounts is @wlicuw so check out our pages for upcoming events and other wonderful, encouraging content!). I have already learned a lot, just from listening to the other women discuss how the marketing committee plays into WLI’s bigger picture of educating, encouraging, and equipping women leaders for Christ. I know that in my time on the board I will gain valuable life skills and continue to grow in leadership.
I think Paul sums it up best in his letter to Philippi. He says “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:3-6). This is what WLI has been for me. The work that this group is doing is truly Kingdom work. God is working in amazing ways through this organization: touching lives and bringing gifts to fruition that many women never even knew they possessed.
Hope College 2020
Marketing Committee Board Member
By Sharla Fritz
“I know you’ll do a great job! I have every confidence in you!” the pastor says with a smile as he turns toward his office. As you watch him walk away, you wonder how he was able to talk you into this. Me? Lead a Bible study? I’ve never done anything like that before!
Before you panic, I’d like to share some simple principles that will help you fulfill your role as Bible study leader without stressing out. Guiding a Bible study group can be a very rewarding experience as you delve into God’s Word and develop relationships with your brothers and sisters in Christ. You will be helping others discover life-changing truths in God’s Word.
To enable you to serve God and fellow Christians, let’s look at four basic principles spelled out by the word LEAD: Look to God, Examine the Study, Ask Excellent Study Questions, and Direct the Discussion.
LOOK TO GOD
The most important thing you can do as a Bible study leader is to begin with prayer. Ask God for guidance and wisdom as you prepare. Pray over every detail of the study experience: Pray for:
- wisdom in choosing the right study
- the participants who will be in the group
- guidance for your role as leader
- time to adequately prepare for leading the study
- God’s peace and love to be evident
EXAMINE THE STUDY
When you accepted the role of leader, the Bible study materials may have already been chosen. Of course, we can study the Bible with no other book but the Bible, but you might want to choose some published material to guide you. If you are responsible for choosing the study, consider the following elements:
- Topical study or book of the Bible study. What would best meet the needs of your group—a study that tackles a subject or issue of particular interest to the members? Or a detailed study of a book of the Bible? You might want to alternate between these two types of studies so that members can gain a deeper knowledge of Scripture and understand particular challenges to the Christian life.
- Book only or video driven. Does your group enjoy the added element of a video lesson? Or would they rather have more time for discussion?
- Doctrinal agreement. Examine the study for issues that might not agree with your church’s teaching. Minor disagreements might not disallow a study if it brings an opportunity for discussion on the subject. But you probably would not want to choose a study that contained basic doctrinal differences from your beliefs.
- Length of study. If your study is to be completed in a prescribed amount of time, pay attention to the number of lessons.
- Amount of homework. Some groups love to delve into the Bible between sessions and enjoy having extra questions and readings. Other groups are made up of members who don’t have time for extra homework.
After you have chosen the study, remember that as the leader you need to come to each session prepared. Do each lesson thoroughly and prayerfully. Most of all, study to see what God wants to teach you for your life. God’s Word is most importantly a tool for heart-change. Plus, when the others in the group see the leader applying Scripture to her life, they will be inspired to follow.
Next, study to present the material to your group. Find key lessons. Underline important points. Highlight probing questions.
ASK EXCELLENT QUESTIONS
Studying Scripture with a group of people allows you to gain their insights and life experience. We do this through discussion.
Examples of questions that encourage discussion:
- Questions that ask How? or Why?
- Questions that ask for personal reaction: What do you think about…” What stuck out to you in this passage? Why do you feel that way?
- Questions that ask members to apply Scripture to their lives: What challenges you most in this passage?
- Questions that link the reader’s experiences with the Bible story: When have you experienced this Scriptural principle?
Examples of questions that discourage discussion:
- Questions with a yes or no answer: Is Genesis the first book of the Bible?
- Questions that have only one right answer: What was the name of Adam’s wife?
- Questions with an obvious answer: What was the name of the place where Adam and Eve lived?
DIRECT THE DISCUSSION
Even if you have a supply of excellent questions, you may run into some discussion potholes. One member of the group talks too much, someone else barely says one word. The discussion swings way off topic or you feel unqualified to answer a member’s honest question. Here are some tips for leading a lively discussion:
- Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” if someone asks a question you are unsure about. Promise to research the answer for the next meeting. Ask your pastor or consult some reference books in the meantime.
- Try to get everyone involved in the discussion. Encourage quieter members by sometimes calling on them personally, “Amy, what do you think about question 3?” If someone, seems to be dominating a conversation, gently cut them off by saying something like, “Thanks for sharing Patty. Does anyone else have something to add?”
- Allow time for personal sharing. A Bible study group is not just about improving our knowledge of Scripture. We also want to build relationships. You might include time for small talk and relationship building at the beginning of each meeting.
- On the other hand, if the conversation veers totally away from Scripture gently bring the discussion back on topic. After all, the participants signed up for a Bible study.
- Make allowances for life emergencies. If a member has suffered a tragedy or devastating experience do not feel you have to ignore their needs just to finish a lesson.
Enjoy the privilege of being a Bible study leader. The experience will help you grow in your knowledge of God’s Word as you prepare for each lesson. You will expand your people skills as you lead discussions and help members connect with each other. You will grow in faith as you pray for guidance. You will increase your capacity for love and compassion as you and your groups members share life’s ups and downs.
Learn and love as you lead.
Sharla Fritz is the author of three Bible studies: Soul Spa: 40 Days of Spiritual Renewal, Divine Design: 40 Days of Spiritual Makeover, Bless These Lips: 40 Days of Spiritual Transformation, and a study for teens: Divine Makeover: God Makes You Beautiful.
For more great articles like the one you just read, explore the EQUIP page of our website. Get inspired to lead by reading through the ENCOURAGE page, then visit one of our campus EVENTS near you. Stay connected by following us on FACEBOOK and TWITTER.