Our vision is Reflecting Christ, Transforming Communities. Also, the mission of the Wisconsin Conference is to grow passionate disciples of Jesus prepared for Christ’s soon coming. In the recent years, we focused on four areas where the relationships are considered the building blocks for God’s Kingdom.
Every church was invited to be a welcoming spiritual community, where members and guests experience genuine belonging and interconnectedness. The goal of this initiative is to provide a transformative spiritual and relational environment that fosters spiritual growth and Christlike characters.
Both 2018 and 2019 saw us grow a number of our church plants into companies, and a number of our companies into churches.
Also, during the last five years, almost 1,000 new members were welcomed to our church family. In spite of the COVID-19 challenges, we praise God for the more than 100 people who gave their lives to Jesus in 2020. 2021 was the big surprise for us. God blessed us with the largest harvest we’ve seen in almost a decade. We saw growth that was equal to about 9 percent of our average attendance in 2021! What an amazing blessing!
The main focus of this initiative is to create a partnership which is comprised of parents, churches and schools to fulfill the mission of our Education Department: “Developing leaders today who will walk with Jesus through eternity.”
Our schools have continued to thrive academically and find creative ways to engage in S.E.E. activities (Students Engaging for Eternity) such as raking leaves for church members, making cards for the sick, collecting food for a local food pantry, Operation Christmas Child, helping provide beds for kids in need, “glowing” (passing out GLOW tracts and praying with people) in communities around the conference, and cleaning snow off cars at the local hospital.
Our conference has partnered with the Lake Union to adopt Kosrae, a Micronesian island, and help raise money for a gym. Wisconsin Academy hosted two walk-athons, one elementary school made challah bread and sold it at a vendor show and raised $217, and another school has been collecting loose change and dollars.
Our conference provides various educational programs such as Education Fair, Outdoor School, Science Experience and Music Fest. In the fall of 2021, the conference Education and Ministerial departments arranged a Pastor/Teacher Retreat to promote positive connections between church and school.
A high priority for the Wisconsin Conference was to promote an intergenerational discipleship and spiritual growth. All members were invited to become disciples of Christ and God’s ambassadors on earth, using their spiritual gifts to extend God’s Kingdom in our territory.
Recently rebranded as Wakonda: Wisconsin Conference Youth Evangelism, we’re proud of what our Youth Department has been able to accomplish over the past five years.
We hosted Chosen, the fifth International Pathfinder Camporee in Oshkosh, with more than 55,000 in attendance. Our Club Ministries have been thriving—reaching over 220 Pathfinders and more than 150 Adventurers at a high point between 2017 and 2019.
Even during the season of COVID-19, our previous Youth director, Pastor Eric Chavez, pioneered Wakonda On Wheels: a program that brought summer camp activities to the smaller of local young people across the state. Camp WOW, as we referred to it, saw over 124 kids, impacting 16 churches in Wisconsin, all during a time that normal summer camp was impossible.
This past summer, our current Youth director, Pastor Zack Payne, was able to hold a mostly-normal and full-capacity summer camp by having cabins rotate together, with less mixing and mingling throughout the day.
We’re looking forward to another five years of reaching young people so they can be empowered to GO wherever God calls them.
Through this initiative, churches and schools across the state were encouraged to create more bridges with their respective communities. A variety of services, resources and assistance were provided to meet personal and community needs.
Disinterested benevolence was manifested by coordinating free dental/vision clinics, health expos, counseling sessions, community services, food pantries, special assistance for refugees, and numerous other social services and crisis interventions. Basically, it was providing hundreds of thousands of dollars total value of services without expecting anything in return.
Showing the love and extending the touch of Jesus, alleviating the pain, and offering spiritual assistance was the ultimate goal of the Community Connect initiative.
The past five years have been a blessing in the Wisconsin Conference. We witnessed God’s miracles in transforming lives for His Kingdom and numerical and spiritual growth. We look forward to the amazing opportunities God will provide to connect and serve until Jesus comes.
Titus Naftanaila, Wisconsin Conference president