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President’s message: Having the right tools

I’ve done a lot of remodeling and woodworking projects over the years. Most of what I’ve done has been self-taught, and my lack of expertise means that projects take a lot longer than they should—and sometimes need to be redone. My motto is “There are no mistakes that can’t be corrected or covered up.” If I estimate a project to take three hours, my wise and patient wife has learned to expect it to take at least double the time.

But just as important as expertise is having the right tools for the job. When you have the right tools, the work gets done much more efficiently and with much less frustration.

The right tools are even more important when it comes to our worship life and our ongoing study of God’s Word. Amazingly, within a period of only four years, three new tools have become or will become available to enhance our worship and devotional life.

In 2017, our synod produced and published a new edition of Luther’s Catechism, replacing the previous catechism that had been in use since 1982. Unlike the 1982 edition, the new catechism is available in three versions: one using Scripture passages in the New International Version (NIV), one using the English Standard Version (ESV), and one using the Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV). The new catechism is different from the one it replaces in another important way. It is formatted and designed to be used not just by children in confirmation class but also by adults for personal and family devotions. Each section of the catechism features closer looks at biblical doctrines and practical applications of those teachings to our daily lives.

Another tool for personal Bible study became available last year—a new translation of the Bible, the Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV). The translation was the result of a six-year effort by an association of WELS and Evangelical Lutheran Synod professors, pastors, teachers, and laypeople. The goal was to produce a translation that is faithful to the original biblical languages and that speaks to readers in today’s English. In addition, an EHV study Bible is available online in digital form. It’s my prayer that having the option of the EHV will encourage more of our synod’s members to feed their faith with daily reading of the Scriptures in a faithful and accurate translation.

Finally, Lutherans recognize the vital role that the hymnal plays in worship. Christian Worship, the current WELS hymnal, was produced in 1993. Now, after years of careful development, a new WELS hymnal is scheduled for release by Advent 2021. The new hymnal will feature several varieties of the liturgies that the Christian church has used for centuries that focus on Christ and unite our congregations in a common worship. It provides the hymns to sing in our worship—not only the old favorites, but also more recently written hymns. It includes psalms and prayers for public worship and private devotions. The new hymnal will be a valuable tool as we gather as congregations in God’s house or as families around the kitchen table.

We can all be thankful to God for these new tools. What’s important now is that we use them.

Learn more at about the new edition of Luther’s Catechism. Learn more about the Evangelical Heritage Version at Learn more about the upcoming new hymnal at

Author: Mark Schroeder
Volume 107, Number 05
Issue: May 2020

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