Here We Stand – October 2016 Update

Running the Race for Here We Stand

Tri1406 by Mark Milatz

Last summer, Drew Gruenhagen and I were on a camping trip with our families. I threw out the idea of doing an Ironman Triathlon. It was a combination of seeing an inspirational YouTube video, the start of a bit of a midlife crisis, bonfire bravado, and my relentless prodding that led him to agree. Before we knew it, one thing led to another and we found ourselves signing up at last year’s District Pastors’ Conference for Ironman Louisville in exactly one year. Pastors Ben Vogel and Evan Gaertner decided to join us on the journey.

At the same conference we learned a little about the Here We Stand initiative in the Michigan District. The campaign encompasses many worthy endeavors, but we were most intrigued by the chance to help increase the scholarship amounts given to aspiring church workers. This is a very personal cause for me, as I truly would not have been able to go to Concordia Chicago or Concordia Seminary without all the financial help given to me. We figured that people would take notice of our Ironman effort, so we decided to pair the race with Here We Stand. It is a privilege to be able to play a small part in raising up qualified workers for our churches and schools.

The race is 140.6 miles. We would be honored if people would consider a gift in the amount of $14.06, $140.60, or $1406 (or any other amount). 100% will be used for church worker scholarships. Simply go to and click on the donate button. You can follow our journey through the website, and also at

We are totally motivated to finish this race on October 9th. It is going to be very difficult, but our load is lightened by knowing we are helping to lighten the load of debt for future pastors, teachers, and other church workers.

Rev. Mark Milatz is senior pastor at Shepherd of the Lakes, Brighton. Joining him at the Ironman will be Shepherd of the Lakes’ associate pastor, Rev. Ben Vogel; Rev. Drew Gruenhagen from St. Michael, Wayne; and Rev. Evan Gaertner from St. Paul, Hamburg.

Campaign Progress

Over $1.94 million gifted to date.

Resource Tip

Are you just beginning to introduce HWS to your congregation?

You can find the HWS PowerPoint, HWS video, bulletin inserts, pledge forms, and more on our HWS website. Visit to download materials today.

Need campaign booklets? Contact the Development Office of the Michigan District at 888.225.2111 ext 265 or by email at

Congregation Highlights

We would like to thank Immanuel, Leland; St. Luke, Harrison; and Gethsemane, Rochester Hills for their recent gifts to the campaign.

We would also like to thank Trinity, Oscoda for their recent pledge to the campaign.

Download this October Newsletter