Presenter Topics – Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller

  • DOXOLOGY Collegium Fellow
  • Pastor of Hope Lutheran Church, Aurora, CO

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St. Paul and the Pastor’s Work of Prayer (1-3 Hours)

One of the promises every pastor made before God and the world was “to pray for the flock entrusted to you.” St. Paul was a faithful example of this good work. Nineteen times in his epistles Paul tells us how he prays for the church. Paul’s example of prayer will encourage and inform us to this most important pastoral task of praying for the souls entrusted to our care.

  • Session 1  “Paul’s Pattern of Prayer”

We will look at the pattern of Paul’s prayer. When he prayed. How he understood prayer and the presence of God. We will see his primary pattern of thanksgiving and petition, and his secondary pattern of faith, love, and hope. We will notice how Paul prays the news (“When we heard… we gave thanks.”)

  • Session 2  “Three Prayers for the Thessalonians”

We will consider the three prayers Paul mentions in 1 Thessalonians (1:2-3, 2:13-16, 3:9-13), and how his prayers match up with his pastoral work.

  • Session 3  “Paul’s Theological Prayer”

How does Paul’s theology inform his prayers? How is prayer bound up to preaching, of spiritual warfare? We will dig into the longest of Paul’s description of his prayer, Colossians 1:3-14, and see what encouragement and instruction we can find there for our own prayers.

Pastor and Project Management (1-3 hours)

The pastor is called to preach, teach, and administer the sacraments, but all the little stuff seems to get in the way. Many pastors feel the mental fuzz of all the little tasks, the phone calls, meeting agendas, reports, side projects, and paper-work that distract and take away from the most important work. In these sessions we will take a very practical look at some tips and practices to help us keep our inboxes, our desks, and our minds clear.

  • Session 1  “The Fuzz: Seeing the Problem to Identify the Solution”

“Your mind is for having ideas, not holding ideas.” We’ll consider all the things we are asking our minds to do, and reflect on this. We will consider tools to externalize our commitments and clarify our next actions. We’ll walk through the five steps of capture, clarify, organize, reflect, and engage, and we’ll end this session with a brief mind-sweep.

  • Session 2  “Getting Things Done, an Overview”

In this session we will build the places (eight of them) we need to put every piece of information we receive. We’ll walk through the flow-chart and, by the end of this session, we’ll have a place for everything that’s currently cluttering your mind.

  • Session 3  “Natural Project Planning”

How do you plan a project? From deciding where to go for dinner to starting a new church, every well-organized project follows a similar plan. We’ll look at the parts of the plan, and start putting it in place. We’ll organize some of our own projects, and start building our own comprehensive project management system.

Preaching and the Conscience (3 hours)

“The end of our commandment is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and faith unfeigned” (1 Timothy 1:5). What is a good conscience, and how do we have one? How do we deliver a good conscience to those who hear our preaching? In these sessions we will investigate the Biblical teaching of the conscience, and consider how this teaching practically shapes our preaching.

  • Session 1  “The Strange Terrain of the Conscience”

We consider three pictures of the conscience: the home plate umpire, the window, and the courtroom, and let this push us into the Scripture’s teaching of the conscience.

  • Session 2  “A List of Lists, All About the Conscience”

Four things your conscience knows, four things that inform the conscience, four ways the conscience can be bad, and three walls to protect the conscience.

  • Session 3  “Justification, Preaching, and the Conscience”

We’ll start with the distinction between a troubled and terrified conscience, and consider how this shapes our preaching of the law. We’ll take a look at a few comments from Luther’s Isaiah commentary on our way to imaging how this understanding of comforting the conscience shapes our preaching of the Gospel.

Pastor as Partner in Tribulation (3 hours, or more)

“In this world you will have trouble.” Jesus promised it, but we are still surprised when trouble comes along. We will consider:

  • Session 1  “Job: Suffering as an Assault on Justification”

We give a new look to the book of Job, and see how the devil used his trouble to attack Job’s theology, especially the doctrine of justification. This will give us the eyes to see suffering theologically, and offer theological comfort to those who suffer.

  • Session 2  “Christ Also Suffered: The Six Councils on Suffering from 1 Peter”

St. Peter writes as a pastor to comfort the church in suffering. In his first epistle he has six councils for the sufferer in which he points to Christ and strengthens our hope.

  • Session 3  “Suffering and Sanctification”

In this session we will consider the Law and Gospel of suffering. How does the Lord use suffering to shape our faith? Our love? Most especially, we will consider how the devil uses suffering to attack our hope, but Jesus uses our trouble to strengthen our hope.

  • Bonus Session 4  “Persecution and the Preaching of Blood”

The church is always assaulted by the world, the flesh, and the devil. This means that our Christian suffering is a constant reality. We will consider how the church in America is persecuted for confessing the First Article, and what our response is to it. We’ll consider Paul’s varied responses to trouble in the Book of Acts, and sort out what this means for us.

Church and Culture:  The Three Estates (3 hours)

We live in a time of “liquid modernity.” Like a boat tossed in the waves, all the old institutions are falling. But there is a structure to the world established by God that cannot be destroyed. Luther uncovered this order, and spoke often about the three estates: the Church, the Family, and the State. We will work to rediscover this fundamental essential teaching of the Scriptures.

  • Session 1  “Luther Discovers the Estates”

We’ll let Luther set the table, tell us how he saw the three estates, contrast Luther’s three estates with the medieval understanding of the estates, and contrast the three estates with the doctrine of two kingdoms, and suggest that the three estates is, in fact, more helpful for the Christian understanding of the world.

  • Session 2  “Getting to the Roots, The Institutions of the Estates”

We’ll look at Genesis and hear the voice of the Lord establishing the estates. We’ll see the three estates in Paul and Peter’s table of duties, and even in the outline of Titus.

  • Session 3  “The Anti-Catechism: How the Devil Assaults the Estates”

The devil attacks the estates to destroy life and consciences. While the devil loves to work in the dark, but we can see what he’s doing when we see the light (and the institutions) which he attacks. We’ll look at the devil’s attacks, consider how the Lord fights back, and rejoice, in the end, in the confidence that what the Lord builds on one can tear down.