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Meet the editorial staff: Richard Lauersdorf

Ever ask yourself, “Who are these people who write for Forward in Christ?” Through this series, you can find out.

This summer, Forward in Christ welcomes Richard Lauersdorf to the staff as the newest contributing editor. Longtime readers may be familiar with Lauersdorf, particularly those who recall when Forward in Christ was titled Northwestern Lutheran. Lauersdorf served as a contributing editor of Northwestern Lutheran for 24 years, penning the devotional page twice per month.

Richard Lauersdorf and his four children (from left): Mark, Beth, Anne, and Jim. The top image shows Lauersdorf and his family about 20 years ago.

Upon graduation from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 1960, Lauersdorf and his wife, Charlene, served a mission congregation in Ontario, Canada. Lauersdorf later shepherded congregations in Wisconsin for 33 years, and from 1997–2001, served as the WELS vice president of mission and ministry. In addition, he was an integral part of the Board for World Missions for 30 years.

An avid reader, Lauersdorf has also “kept his pen busy” by authoring the Hebrews People’s Bible, numerous other books and various essays, and two Lenten sermon series. He especially enjoys writing for laypeople, encouraging them in their spiritual needs through all conditions of life. “It makes you humble when you know how much power God’s Word has. You appreciate the opportunities God gives you to use that Word in special ways with people,” he says.

Even though he is now retired, it’s not a surprise that Lauersdorf remains actively engaged in ministry. He faithfully leads a weekly in-person Bible class of up to 150 attendees at Good Shepherd, West Bend, Wis., where he also preaches every five weeks. He quickly adapted to the recent restrictions on in-person gatherings by having a video recording of his Bible class lecture placed online each week—a true blessing for participants.

Lauersdorf’s involvement with Northwestern Lutheran and Forward in Christ has now come full circle. He recalls that his inaugural writing assignment for Northwestern Lutheran all those years ago was on the book of James—which also happens to be the topic of the Bible study series that he is currently writing for Forward in Christ.

So why was Lauersdorf compelled to write on the book of James then—and now? “I never got to study it at the seminary, so I wanted to expand my own knowledge,” he explains. He also treasures the book of James for the way it compels Christians to “walk the talk” of their faith: “James reinforces the teaching that once we are sure of heaven, we will live like it here on this earth,” he says. “Instead of Christianity being a surface thing, it is something that powers your whole life.”

Volume 107, Number 08
Issue: August 2020

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This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series meet the editorial staff

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