If it Ain't Broke...
When I was a boy, my grandfather used to say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” While his philosophy could have stemmed from a personal aversion to change, it probably had more to do with the fact that on more than one occasion, I managed to break the very thing I was “fixing” with his tools. While “change” can sometimes be difficult, or seem unnecessary, it can also provide exciting new possibilities, which is how I would characterize recent changes in our ministry. What’s changed? Quite a lot actually.
It started late in 2013, when we decided to “overhaul” our website in order to take advantage of the mobile device Tsunami (smartphones, tablets & laptops), which is literally placing the internet into people’s hands. For better or worse, access to the “web” has increased exponentially in the 21st century, and we wanted to take advantage of this growing trend to promote our ministry. Well, one thing led to another, and like a maze of toppling dominos, our project soon began to impact things far beyond the website.
With your help, we came up with a “tag line” —Sharing hope with those who need it most— to help us communicate our mission in a memorable way. We created a new logo to provide, not only a visual representation of our ministry, but one that communicates the very “heart” of our ministry. We’ve also streamlined the way we “identify” ourselves (as you can see in our logo). We did this, not to make it easier to answer the phone (“Wisconsin Lutheran Institutional Ministries, Pastor Radsek speaking,” although that is a mouthful), but because our name often gives people (especially outside the WELS) the impression that our ministry is limited to the state of Wisconsin, or that we only share God’s Word with our fellow Lutherans (when in truth, the majority of our efforts have always been to share the gospel with those who have no “church home”). Furthermore, many people (within the WELS), see the “Wisconsin Lutheran” and mistakenly conclude that we are funded through the synod, which we are not. Then, of course, there is our newsletter which we redesigned to give it the same look and feel as our website. As you read each issue of our Compassion newsletter however, I think you will see that while some things have indeed changed, our work in the institutions remains unchanged. In fact, a major focus of our redesigned website is to better communicate the work being done within the institutions.
Today, more and more people are using the web to stay informed about things that interests them (especially on their tablets and smartphones), and we want to take advantage of this growing trend. We love to tell people about the great things God is accomplishing in the hearts and lives of those we serve, and now the Holy Spirit’s work is “front and center” on our new website for everyone to read about. In the Ministry Insight section you can check out the interesting things that happen each week in some of the places where our staff and volunteers are serving. On the Events page we let you know when a member of our staff will be coming to your area to preach, give a presentation, or conduct a workshop. We’ve also created a Library page to make it easier for people to view our ministry videos, like Ricky’s Story, a brother in the Lord that you’ll probably never meet this side of heaven. These are just a few of the “changes” you will find on our new website.
Regardless of whether you buy into the “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy or not, whether you like change or like to avoid change, I hope the changes you observe here at Institutional Ministries, only serve to impress upon you all the more, the great things God is accomplishing through our unchanging ministry of the gospel — sharing hope with those who need it most!
Chaplain Joseph Radsek