2020: A Lutheran Life of Devotion

     The theme for this year’s conference was chosen because, though we confess that God’s Word is our life and our salvation, still our old Adam tempts and coaxes us away from that Word. Many Christians did not grow up having daily devotions in their family. Many of us struggle to have daily personal devotions. Sometimes it is a lack of knowledge or experience that intimidates us so much that we don’t even begin, worried that we might do something wrong. Or perhaps it is simply that we haven’t thought daily devotions are that important if we go to church with some regularity. Or perhaps you and your family have daily devotions (personal and family), but you are looking for ideas to deepen or broaden your meditation.

    Since Christians have been meditating on God’s Word since Adam and Eve, we don’t need to completely reinvent the wheel in the 21st century. Our presenters will cover three different time periods, investigating how they meditated, considering what thoughts and resources they left for posterity, and how we might learn from them.


Devotion in the Early Church
Presenter: TBA
Devotion in the Reformation Era

The period of the Reformation not only shaped the doctrinal confession of its adherents, it also established a distinct piety among faithful Lutherans. That is, the Reformation taught them to pray. In the writings of Luther, his colleagues, and subsequent generations of Lutheran pastors, these Christians were given a way of prayer and devotion for use by individuals, families, and congregations. The primary manual for this devotional life is the Catechism. But their fervent meditation on God’s Word also brought forth hymnals, meditations, and prayer books which all contributed to rich devotional lives. These were built on the treasures inherited from the church of old, but still useful for their own time and for ours.

Presenter: Rev. Johann Caauwe
Rev. Caauwe is the pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Wood Lake, MN.Rev. Johann Caauwe Previously he has served parishes in Modesto, CA and El Paso, TX. Together with his wife Sara, they have nine children whom they teach at home. He loves to learn ever more about Lutheran hymnody, the historic liturgy and church year, the music of Bach, and classical education.


Devotion Today


Presenter: Dr. Joshua Mears, Psy.D. LP

Dr. Joshua MearsDr. Mears is a Christian Psychologist who has practiced since 2011 with Christian Family Solutions. He has five years of experience working as an in-home therapist with adolescents and their families. During his work as a Christian Psychologist at CFS Dr. Mears has focused on the specialty areas of psychological testing, trauma restoration, and the treatment of addictions. Dr. Mears also serves as a member of the Board of Regents at Bethany Lutheran College and previously served on the Board for Youth Outreach of the ELS.  He is an Elder and the Youth Group Leader at his local church, Heritage Lutheran in Apple Valley, MN.  He is married to Laura and together they homeschool their four children; Magdalena (12), Josiah (7), Marie (6), and Kyrie (2).  


The Emmaus Conference 2019

Click the picture below to download a PDF poster.

Emmaus Conference 2019

The 12th annual Emmaus Conference will be held May 4th, 2019. The topic selected for the 2019 conference is “The Divine Service: Our Life in Christ”. The conference speakers will include:

The 2018 Emmaus Conference

From left to right: Rev Sam Gullixson, Rev Michael Schultz, Rev Jon Vieker, Rev. Dennis Marzolf

The 11th annual Emmaus Conference will be held April 13, 2018. The topic selected for the 2018 conference is “Singing the Faith into the Hearts of the People”. The conference speakers will include:


The Tenth Annual Emmaus Conference

The 10th Annual Emmaus Conference is Friday, April 28th, 2017, with a banquet the evening prior on Thursday, April 27th. The topic for the 2017 Emmaus Conference will be: “The Unsuspecting American Luthers”. The backgrounds, challenges, and impact of several Lutheran theologians in the 20th Century will be explored and discussed.

Daniel Preus

Daniel Preus

 John Brenner

John Brenner

Markos DeGarmeaux

Markos DeGarmeaux

2016 Emmaus Topic & Speakers

The 2016 topic for the Emmaus Conference is entitled, “Are We Experiencing the Lutheran Reformation Eve or Twilight?” We are excited to have the Rev. Dr. Lawrence Rast, Jr. from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana, as our lecturer.

Rev. Dr. Lawrence Rast, Jr.

Lawrence Rast, Jr.

Dr. Lawrence Rast serves as the sixteenth president of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne and is a professor of American Christianity and American Lutheranism. Dr. Rast joined the Department of Historical Theology in the fall of 1996 after serving as pastor of Ascension Lutheran Church, Madison, Tennessee (1992-96).

The following speakers will give the lecture and reactions.

2016 Emmaus Conference Speakers:

  • Lecturer: The Rev. Dr. Lawrence Rast (LC-MS)
  • Reactor: The Rev. Pres. Paul Wendland (WELS)
  • Reactor: The Rev. Prof. Erling Teigen (ELS)