Best Practices for Ministry Heartland | Cornerstone Lutheran Church | Cornerstone Lutheran Church
Best Practices for Ministry Heartland | Cornerstone Lutheran Church | Cornerstone Lutheran Church

Best Practices for Ministry Heartland

Thanks for attending Best Practices for Ministry Heartland 2019!

Best Practices for Ministry Heartland 2020 will be held September 23-25 at St. Lorenz Lutheran Church in Frankenmuth, Michigan. 

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Best Practices for Ministry: Heartland 2019

Wednesday, Oct. 9 through Friday, Oct. 11, 2019

Cornerstone Lutheran Carmel, IN 


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With the goal of helping other congregations most effectively use their God-given gifts, Christ Lutheran Church in Phoenix, Arizona, started the Best Practices for Ministry Conference. Since it began, the conference has been presented free of charge to all who attend. Participants are greeted with warm hospitality, great speakers and practical workshops. The Conference has grown greatly since its start, expanding to the Midwest.

In 2015, Carmel Lutheran (now Cornerstone Lutheran) brought the concept of the conference to Indiana to make it more easily accessible to more congregations "in the Heartland". Cornerstone hosted in 2016 as well, and St. Peter's Lutheran in Columbus assumed the leadership of the Best Practices for Ministry:Heartland conference for 2017 and 2018. They turned the reigns back over to Cornerstone Lutheran for 2019.

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  • Registration

    The Best Practices for Heartland Conference is free to attend. Participants are responsible for their travel and accommodation expenses. 

    Register for BPM Heartland 2019

  • 2019: Unmistakable

    Heading into its fifth year, Best Practices for Ministries Heartland's theme for 2019 is "Unmistakable". What is unique to the church? Jesus! In all of our mission and ministry efforts, our unmistakable aim is to proclaim Christ.

  • Location/Contact

    Cornerstone Lutheran Church
    4850 E. Main Street
    Carmel, IN 46033

    Vendors contact Karen Minniear 

    Breakout sessions speakers contact Holly Reay and Kate Giger

  • Schedule



    1:30 pm – Registration
    2:15 pm – Welcome
    3:15 pm – Session #1
    4:30 pm – Break
    5 pm – Keynote - Rev. Gerard Bolling and Shelly Schwalm
    6:15 pm – Dinner by Grilliant Foods
    7:15 pm – Worship
    8:15 pm – Party


    THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2019

    8 am – Breakfast
    8:30 am – Worship
    9:30 am – Session #2
    10:45 am – Break
    11 am – Session #3
    12:15 pm – Lunch 
    1 pm – Keynote - Rev. Kevin Wilson
    2 pm – Session #4
    3:15 pm – Break
    3:30 pm – Session #5
    4:45 pm – Break
    5 pm – Keynote - Jim Morris
    6 pm – Food Trucks and Fun


    FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2019

    8 am – Breakfast
    8:30 am – Session #6
    9:45 am – Break
    10 am – Session #7
    11:15 am – Break
    11:30 am – Keynote - Rev. Tom Pfotenhauer
    12:30 pm – Sending and Fare-thee-well
    12:45 pm – Lunch
    1:30 pm – Fin

  • Keynote Speakers

    Gerard Bolling
    Associate Pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in St. Louis, MO

    Rev. Gerard Bolling was born and raised in the heart of Brooklyn, NY. Gerard attended Concordia Chicago from 2008-2012, earning a BA in Theatre with a minor in Languages. He also learned to love American Sign Language (ASL) and see the potential of ministry contained within the Deaf world.

    Gerard graduated from Concordia Seminary in 2016 with a Master of Divinity and received a call to serve at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in North St. Louis City. He currently is a part of the Greater Things Program, where he leads the Deaf Ministry team at Bethlehem while reaching out to youth and families in the Ferguson, MO area.

    Gerard has been married to his beautiful wife Lorenda for 5 years. They have 2 amazing children named Lincoln (3) and Monroe (1). Lincoln and Monroe are exactly 2 years apart to the day (October 5th is their shared birthday!).

    Shelly Schwalm
    University Ministry Associate, Concordia University St. Paul

    Shelly Schwalm, DCE, is a University Ministry Associate at Concordia University, St. Paul, which means she drinks a lot of coffee with college students and reminds them who God says they are. Raised in Kansas, Shelly grew to love the city during her time in college at CSP. Shelly is a musician, a writer, and a proud auntie who loves hitting a trail or a lake (when it’s not frozen). Her recent highlights include getting to be a Morning Session leader (along with THE Gerard Bolling and Scott Giger) at the LCMS Youth Gathering and finishing her MFA in Creative Writing.


    Kevin Wilson
    President, Ohio District LCMS

    Kevin Wilson has served as the President of the Ohio District, LCMS since 2018. Joining the Ohio District staff in 2006, Wilson previously worked as Executive Director of Mission and Ministry and as a Regional Facilitator.

    Wilson came to the Ohio District from the Phoenix area, where he started Word of Life Lutheran Church and School as a Missionary-at-Large for the Pacific Southwest District. Wilson previously served in Kansas, where he was Senior Pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Leavenworth, KS and founding pastor of Trinity Family of Faith Lutheran Church in Basehor, KS. Prior to entering the ministry, Wilson worked as a journalist.

    Wilson and his wife, Dorinda, are blessed with three children. The Wilsons live outside of Columbus, OH.


    Jim Morris
    Vice-Chairman, Pacers Sports and Entertainment Group

    Jim Morris is the vice chairman of Pacers Sports and Entertainment. A graduate of Indiana University with a master’s degree from Butler University, he was former Mayor Richard G. Lugar’s chief of staff from 1967 to 1973, before joining the Lilly Endowment where he served for 16 years as president from 1984 to 2002. He was also the chairman and chief executive officer for IWC Resources Corporation and Indianapolis Water Company. Before going to Pacers Sports and Entertainment, Trustee Morris was the executive director for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), where he led the world’s largest humanitarian agency from 2002-2007.

    Jim Morris has received many honors, including 16 honorary degrees and IU’s Distinguished Alumni Service Award. He has been a trustee and board chairman for both Indiana State University and Indiana University, serves on the national advisory board for the Boy Scouts of America, and was treasurer of the U.S. Olympic Committee. He served as chair of the board for Riley Children’s Foundation, is a former member of the IU Foundation board of directors, and serves on a number of corporate boards.

    Currently he serves as the United States permanent representative to the Executive Board of UNICEF.


    Tom Pfotenauer
    Senior Pastor at Woodbury Lutheran Church in Woodbury, MN

    Tom Pfotenhauer serves the people at Woodbury Lutheran Church located in Woodbury and Stillwater Minnesota. WLC is a multisite congregation with three campuses and a focus on Multiplying Disciples/Transforming Lives. Besides all the pastor stuff, Tom loves to hang out with his wife Stephanie, daughter Peyten and Goldendoodle Harry. He also enjoys running with Team World Vision raising awareness and funding for clean water in Africa and of course cheering for his beloved Vikings.

  • Breakout Sessions

    The Eager Conversationalists: A Hopeful Look at What Prepares Christians for Witness

    Jesus called His disciples to go as witnesses throughout the world (Acts 1:8). But how do you do that when more and more of us every year are reluctant to even talk about our faith in everyday life? The latest research from Lutheran Hour Ministries and the Barna Group has revealed five key characteristics shared by Christians who are comfortable,and even eager,to talk about their faith. Come discover this important EAGER Profile, assess your own readiness for witness, make a spiritual growth plan.

    The Spiritual Conversation Curve: A Practical Tool for Reluctant Witnesses

    Paul encouraged all Christians to wisely discern “how to answer” each non-Christian in their life (Colossians 4). But how exactly do we do that in an age where many non-Christians have experienced “church hurt” and don’t show any interest in Jesus at all? Learn the simple but revolutionary tool developed by Lutheran Hour Ministries that can help you, and your congregation, discern how to talk with the non-Christians in their lives. 

    Faith Sharing Tools for Energizing and Equipping God’s People for Witness!

    Most people in our churches desperately want to share the Gospel with family and friends but can’t find simple and effective tools to help. In this session, we’ll explore a host of proven and new witnessing tools and set you up for training your folks to be ready for spiritual conversations that will make an eternal difference. Come and explore our new Spiritual Conversations starter kit!

    Dionne Lovstad-Jones joined the LHM staff in February 2014 as a ministry advancement officer. Prior to her tenure at LHM, Dionne was the manager of development outreach with the Lutheran Malaria Initiative. She earned her bachelor's degree in parks and recreation and tourism from the University of Missouri and is a Certified Fund-Raising Executive (CFRE). Her prior work experience includes advancement positions at Valparaiso University and La Lumiere School, and tourism marketing work for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and tourism offices in: La Porte County, Ind., Collinsville, Ill., Maryland Heights and St. Charles, Mo. Dionne is married to Howard Jones and has a son, Zachary, who resides in the Chicago suburbs.

    A New Confirmation Approach

    Two years ago, we launched a YouTube-based confirmation program to reach our kids online. 20,000+ views and nearly 400 videos later, we've learned a ton about how to connect with our digital-native children. We will share our philosophy and materials with all who are interested in considering how to leverage these technologies and our approach to enhance their ministry!

    Senior Pastor at Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, Daniel Lepley is a Wabash Pastor Leader and leads the ConfirmationYou team. DCE Joel Marquardt brings a cutting-edge understanding of reaching our youth in the digital world with Christ's love. Media Director Kimberlee Mourer rounds out our team with her expertise in videography and video production.    

    Why Muslims? Why now?

    What do you think is the number one reason for Muslims not believing in Jesus? no one told them! It is Muslims’ time on God’s calendar, they’re high on top of His To-Do list! God is doing unprecedented work among Muslims today, unheard of in all history since Islam existed. More Muslims came to faith in Christ since the year 2000 than in the past 14 centuries combined since the rise of Islam. It’s about time the church fully embraces the Great Commission and engage what is now one-fourth of the world population—namely Muslims. Come to know more about what God is doing and how you and your church can be a part of it.

    Islam 101

    You probably haven’t heard about pastor Muhammed! He’s a real person serving our Lord and Savior and making disciples among people from his own background –Muslims. Did you know that there are LCMS pastors and seminary professors who are converts from Islam? Before 9/11, very few Americans knew or cared to know about Islam and Muslims. All of a sudden, after 9/11, the interest level of the American public spiked. For those of us who are concerned with fulfilling the Great Commission to “go and make disciples of ALL NATIONS”, it is always a good time to preach the Gospel and to know the background of the people to whom we’re preaching the Gospel. It is important for us to know what Muslims believe and practice and how is it different from our Lutheran faith. It is crucial to communicate the Gospel to them in a culturally relevant way that makes sense to them and resonates in their hearts, to be ready to make a defense(apologya) for our faith and hope while inviting Muslims to receive salvation by grace through faith in Christ, and join the family of God.

    Vicar Nader Hanna was born and raised in Egypt, a Muslim Arabic speaking country, currently lives in Huntington Beach CA, and works as an evangelist and itinerant speaker. Nader helps launch Disciples making movements among Muslims, and helps churches know more about Islam and how to reach Muslims in their communities with the message of God’s love and salvation in Christ Jesus. Nader is a regular guest speaker at several Christian Arabic TV networks. He is currently colloquizing to enter the ministerium of LCMS and serving as a vicar at Faith Lutheran church in Huntington Beach CA.

    More Volunteers?! 8 Tips for a Strong Volunteer Team

    Picture your volunteers as passionate, committed, equipped and even joyful! That's not just a healthy volunteer team, that's the Body of Christ at its best. It’s easy to see the importance of building volunteer teams, but not as easy to see how to establish their foundation. Join counselor and author Karen Tripp as she shares 8 tips that have worked amazingly well for Cancer Companion volunteer teams. 

    Reduce Cancer Stress: Step-by-Step Cancer Caregiver Plan

    Cancer is not like other illnesses. The treatments can make you feel worse as they make you better, the fatigue can be nonexistent or chain you to the couch and the people around you cannot figure out how to help. Add on top of this the stress on the caregiver and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Let Family Counselor Karen Tripp teach you a care-giving plan to relieve stress for all concerned.

    Compassion Fatigue and Burnout for Church Workers

    Can working in the ministry field wear down a person’s ability to cope emotionally with the hardships surrounding them? Can this effect not only their work environment but outside interests as well? What is the difference between Compassion Fatigue and Burnout? Learn ways to prevent both and improve your connections at church, work and at home.

    Karen Tripp MS LMFT Author, Counselor and President Cancer Companions. As author of Christian books including God is Bigger Than Your Cancer and a daughter of a colon cancer survivor, Karen brings her training as a Marriage and Family Therapist to her work with cancer families. Whether in her counseling, writing or administration of the nonprofit Cancer Companions, Karen gives wisdom and meaning to coping with the chaos we call cancer.

    Hope Doesn't Let Our Story End: How to Continue Sharing Your Story and the Story of Jesus in a Heavy World

    Tanner incorporates story, spoken word, and scripture as he shares what he has learned when it comes to evangelism, relationship building, and spreading hope.

    Tanner Olson is an author, storyteller, and the creator of Written to Speak, a spoken word and writing project that seeks to share hope and announce love. Tanner formerly served at Camp Luther in Northern Wisconsin and with the ACTS Church Lakeline in Austin, Texas. He is currently on tour, sharing poetry and stories across the country. Tanner now lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife, Sarah.


    Giving a Good First Impression

    First Impressions are NOT a separate ministry area, but a CULTURE OF HOSPITALITY. When we understand the guest and decide to be a place that welcomes them, we must have a clear strategy to do this - across ALL ministry areas. While God’s Word is preached from the pulpit, there is the Gospel that we live. We are modeling to our faith community how they should love and care for people as they are out and about in the communities where they are planted.  

    Jeni Walker is an alumni of Concordia St. Paul and has been serving as Director of Children’s Ministry at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church for 16 years, but has over 30 years of ministry experience. She has a passion for connecting the home and church, and modeling radical hospitality to all as Jesus modeled for us.   

    Religious Expression: Equipping educators

    There are many misconceptions about what is legally permitted in regards to religious expression in public schools. Whether educators work in the parochial or public school setting, they have a unique opportunity to live out their calling. In this workshop, participants will explore how they can minister to educators by looking into current issues, identifying pertinent laws, examining our vocation from a new perspective, and taking steps to work within the law. We will change the conversation from “why has God been removed from schools”, to “what are Christians doing to practice their faith in their day to day lives as educators”?

    Jake Osborne serves as a 4th grade teacher for the Bay City School District. He recently received a master’s degree in Educational Leadership, and is an active member of his schools leadership team as a teacher representative. His experiences as a student growing up in a private school, a first-year teacher in a charter school, and current experience in a public school offers a unique perspective. He understands the challenges educators face every day, but also recognizes an opportunity to connect with people and build relationships. He hopes this message will equip, excite, and empower educators.

    Mike Osborne is the superintendent of Hudson Area Schools. He has experience as a public school superintendent (9-years), principal (7-years) and Lutheran School teacher and administrator (13-years). He has extensive experience in curriculum and instruction, leadership, school finance and policy. Throughout his career he has lived first-hand the challenge and opportunity of living your faith in the public and parochial school systems. He looks forward to supporting others in considering how to live out their faith in their role as an educator.

    How Can They Understand? Providing Christian Books for Immigrants in Your Community

    Immigrants in large numbers are an increasing reality not only for cities, but for towns as well, so how can they be reached for the Gospel? I will explore how LCMS parishes can and have used LHF books to reach out to immigrant groups in their respective communities.

    Matthew Heise is a 2003 Concordia Seminary (St. Louis) graduate. He also received his Ph.D. in May 2018 from Concordia Seminary, writing about the persecution and martyrdom of Russian Lutherans in Joseph Stalin’s USSR. Since April 2014, he has been serving as the Executive Director for the Lutheran Heritage Foundation, based in Macomb, Michigan.

    Competence and Confidence: Creating Fearless Influencers within Your Church and Ministry

    Help your ordinary people become extraordinary, fearless influencers for the cause of Christ and His Kingdom. In this session, we will examine the practices, priorities and principles of Jesus with His followers—equipping you to implement them intentionally in your local ministry. God has great things in store for you and your congregation! Join Kurt and Eric for a discussion of the principles behind an effective ministry of equipping laypeople to lives of depth and influence.

    Desert Days: Practicing the Power of Silence and Solitude

    In a time of increasing distraction, what can you do to remain focused in your walk with Christ and what can you do to help your people practice silence and solitude? Join Kurt for the whys and hows of "desert days" – practical ways to implement solitude and silence into your life.  

    Election 2020: How to Handle Politics in the Church

    With the upcoming election and increasingly divisive politics, how can you talk about politics effectively without compromise and without promoting disunity. Hear from a Christian economist about how to address politics and public policy from the pulpit and in conversations. 

    Kurt Sauder is a long-time pastor with years of experience as a lead pastor, men's minister, and campus pastor at a mega-church. Kurt is a co-author (with Eric Schansberg) of two discipleship curricula (Thoroughly Equipped and Getting Equipped) and two books on making disciples and disciple-makers (Enough Horses in the Barn and Roll Up Your Sleeves). Currently, Kurt ministers through Solid Steps Radio and Further Still Ministries—with a focus on discipleship, spiritual transformation, and leading others into lives of greater depth and influence. 

    Eric Schansberg is a professor of economics at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany. He is a prolific author with work ranging from dozens of op-eds to two books on public policy and a commentary on Joshua. Eric is also co-author (with Kurt Sauder) of two discipleship curricula (Thoroughly Equipped and Getting Equipped) and two books on making disciples and disciple-makers (Enough Horses in the Barn and Roll Up Your Sleeves). 

    A Call for a Contextually Conscious Church Revitalization

    Jesus said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” – Luke 10:2 (ESV) We pray for laborers, but would we be ready if God sent them? Are we inadvertently turning away those who are being sent to our door steps instead of encouraging, engaging, welcoming, listening, learning and growing with them. Join us as we discuss how to have time-tested, contextually-conscious, Great Commission-driven conversations with your community as your church engages in revitalization. The revitalization process is not a trending terminology of our times, but a humbling tool that God uses to revitalize us personally, along with our churches and community.

    Rev. Dr. Johnson Rethinasamy serves as the Senior Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Whitestone in the borough of Queens, NY ( He also serves as the Mission Executive overseeing church planting initiatives for a regional judicatory of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Pastor Johnson has been engaged in initiating several worshiping communities/church plants for the Lutheran and non-Lutheran tribes around the globe. Recently, he founded (Global Evangelical Leadership Network) - a think-tank and hands on mission planting and mission leaders and church planters networking platform. GELNET is an alternative space for local congregations which are looking to seek help to engage, encourage, equip and partner with indigenous leaders and churches around the world.

    Practice Makes Perfect: A Weekly Rehearsal of Life

    In this session, we’ll explore together how our weekly church services cultivate various practices and habits in us. These habits and practices, such as hospitality, reconciliation, proclamation, intercession, communion, and the like, are the foundation for our daily discipleship and Christian life in the world. We’ll discuss best practices for how to center our worship services and Christian witness around these behaviors.

    The Way They Should Go: Raising Up Young Leaders in the Church

    In this session, we’ll share stories and best practices on raising up young leaders in the church. As one example, we’ll share the stories of raising up young leadership at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lisle, IL, where a daughter of the congregation has now grown into full-time music ministry and leadership. As she was raised up in ministry, she is now raising up the next generation of young leaders! We’ll describe this process and some of its possible practices that might be shared in all our churches.

    Dr. Jim Marriott serves as the Director of Musical Arts at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, where he teaches a variety of courses on worship and oversees the musical life of the seminary community. He cherishes daily life with his wife, Kristi, and his two children, Joel and Kirstin. He is an active runner and an even more active consumer of ice cream!

    Mrs. Erica Mertz serves as the Director of Worship at the Green Trails campus of Trinity Lutheran Church in Lisle, IL, where she leads, oversees, and equips the music ministry of that faith community. She is also an active songwriter and performer. Erica recently celebrated her first anniversary in marriage to her husband, Kaleb Mertz.

    Why RGOH Tutoring & Mentoring Program Works!

    Rebecca’s Garden of Hope will present our foundation of the program. We will also present the specific successful partners. RGOH will present our challenges and how we are growing.

    Pamela Elliott and Jim Boyd serve as Co-Directors of Rebecca’s Garden of Hope Tutoring and Mentoring Program at Our Savior Lutheran Church, Indianapolis, IN.

    Finding & Focusing Your Church’s Future

    How can you cast a compelling vision for your church that gets people excited about what’s ahead and pulling in the same direction? The answer is in the hard work of clarity. Vision clarity unlocks sacrifice and empowers people to contribute to a big unifying dream. And it doesn’t have to be complicated. Using a simple tool, and a commitment to the unique work that God has given to you and your people, you can communicate a picture of the future that stirs hearts and fuels execution like never before.

    What Can Your Church Do Best?

    With so many resources at our fingertips, it seems as though the options for ministry possibilities are endless. Every day we’re bombarded by a new idea or practice that promises to help us grow our church. In the face of so many “can do”s how do we hone in on our one “MUST DO”? The answer lies in uncovering what makes your church unique. God has gifted you with unique people with unique talents in a unique time and place. Let’s name that uniqueness to empower doing the things your church an do best. Your church was born one-of-a-kind. Don’t let it become a carbon copy on your watch.

    Healthy Marriage in the Midst of Ministry

    We all desire to put God first in the way we live our lives and lead our families. But does it ever feel like a call to ministry means putting work first and giving the leftovers to spouse and family? Or does it seem that one of you experienced a call to ministry and the other is just along for the ride? It is possible to have a unified marriage in which you both experience the good gift of missional sacrifice while continuing to grow in love for one another. Join us as we share about our own victories and valleys of journeying together along the way of loving others in ministry as we grow in love for one another. We’ll discuss honoring your respective individual callings, making space to welcome others into your lives while protecting the safety of home, and loving one another well as you roll with the rhythms of ministry.

    Rev. Jacob Hoyer pastors a new LCMS church in central Florida while also working as a Clarity Navigator, partnering with churches to help them clarify “who we are” and “where God’s taking us”. In the last two years he has worked with more than 15 churches across 6 states to help them get stunning clarity on their unique identity and direction.

    Erin is married to Jacob and they both grew up in ministry families, met while doing international missions work, and have been married for almost 9 years. Five years ago they led the planting of a new church in DeLand, Florida. Along the way they’ve shared the high points and hard times of ministry while continuing to discern and distinguish their respective callings to serve God by serving others. They continue to enjoy exploring what it means to be missionaries to God’s people individually and together.

    The 5 Questions We Get Most About Passwords

    We get questions about passwords and password policies all the time, from how complex they need to be to how often they should be changed. Join Tyler for this in-depth conversation where he will answer the most common questions and demonstrate how passwords can better protect your church from hackers. He will even show some of the technique that hackers use to get into your environment.

    Tyler Holmes is a Client Success Manager at Techlocity. Tyler takes pride being able to translate tech speak for clients providing an often-needed interface between technical experts and business owners. His background is finding right-sized solutions for businesses large and small and applying enterprise-sized experiences to smaller budgets.

    How to Get IT Aligned with Your Church’s Growth Goals

    It's time for you to get a handle on your IT. Roger will show how checking your environment against hundreds of industry best practices related to software, hardware, security, network, policies, and any compliance standards you have will allow you to build a plan to get your environment in line with best practices and foster the growth in your church.

    Roger Underwood is a CEO/Partner at Techlocity. Roger has spent his career bridging the gap between leadership and the technical teams he has managed. His favorite aspect of IT is breaking down the jargon to help leaders and business owners understand the function, purpose, and strategy behind how technology can have a positive impact on a business. 

    Interior Design: Making the Most of Your Ministry Space
    Have you ever sat in a committee meeting to pick out paint color and struggled to get consensus? Don't let interior projects be a stumbling block for your ministry, especially when we know the will of God is not determined by a specific paint color. We will review points on how to run a God-honoring design process and provide real project examples for you to glean ideas on making the most of your ministry space. Specific topics to be discussed are: assembling your team, developing core values, establishing your guest experience, smart furniture selection, and practical stewardship objectives.
    Annette Barrett’s passion is driven because of her belief that we exist to be in relationships with one another, the greatest of which are seen within the church. She has 30 years of experience of coming alongside teams to collaborate, create solutions on providing a stunning, welcoming interior space for the use of ministry. Everyone at the table is an equal and she sees her role as a connector of ideas for 100% Design Consensus. Please join Annette and get strong take-aways to help you "establish plans" for any interior project large or small.

    Bringing Hope to Those Experiencing Homelessness

    It has been said that no one becomes homeless because they ran out of money, at least not at first. People become homeless because they run out of relationships. Ministering to people who are experiencing homelessness can feel daunting, scary, overwhelming, and at times even counterproductive. But it doesn’t need to be! Together we will explore reasons for homelessness, ways to effectively minister to those experiencing homelessness, and how to stop re-inventing the wheel but collaborate with other ministries who are doing homeless ministry well!

    The Tale of Two Churches

    There is no arguing that we are commanded in Scripture to care for the homeless, to minister to the vulnerable, and to bring hope to the hopeless. But let’s be honest – it’s hard work, intimidating, and frankly most times we don’t know where to start. Or worse, we leave it up to someone else to take care of because we are too busy with so many other ministries. Come hear the tale of two pastors – one an intercity pastor, the other a suburban pastor, who are ministering equally effectively to those in Indianapolis who are experiencing homelessness. As they share their very different stories, you will see how God swiftly moved in their hearts and the heart of their congregation this year to respond with the resources they had at hand. Both High Immersion and Low Immersion ideas and tactics will be shared.

    O’Nealya Gronstal is the Director of Community Engagement at Wheeler Mission, a faith-based, gospel centered rescue mission that has been bringing hope, help, and healing to the most vulnerable in our community since 1893.

    Top 10 HR Issues

    This seminar provides a high-level overview of the top 10 human resource-related issues experienced by organizations today. Topics include job descriptions, Form I-9, employee classifications, payment for overtime hours, handbook policies, workplace harassment, the Family and Medical Leave Act, health care reform, employment-at-will, and anti-discrimination.

    Sally Palmer is an HR Consultant with 20 years HR experience. She is SHRM and HRCI certified with a Master’s degree in HR. Sally has worked for Paychex for 17 years, holding a variety of positions, from Client Service Representative to Client Service Manager. She has been in her current role for three years.

    Digital Stained Glass

    The visual arts have been part of the church for centuries. Come discuss ways to use images to enhance your worship through weekly sermon theme graphics, sermon illustrations, and more.

    Not My Type

    All design communicates. Some design communicates more effectively than others. How you choose and set up type helps to more clearly communicate your message. Learn some tricks of the trade to make your worship slides (as well as other digital or printed material) communicate the most important message with utmost clarity.

    Victor Minetola is the lead pastor at Cornerstone Lutheran Church Indianapolis. He used to refer to himself as a “jack of all trades, master of none.” That is, until he learned the term, “polymath” (which sounds much more positive). Victor Minetola is a polymath. He has a BFA in Graphic Design from Savannah College of Art and Design and has been involved in worship arts—music, design, video—for nearly 20 years. He is in his fourth year of the SMP program at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. He is an Associate Pastor at Cornerstone Lutheran Church and is the Site Leader of their Indianapolis site. He and his wife, Christine, have two daughters, two and three quarter cats (one only has three legs) and one dog. He is a professed coffee snob.

    Traumatized Grace: Ministry in a World Traumatized by Sin

    We’ll explore the results traumatic experiences have on our brains and bodies for how we function and intake stimuli from the world around us. We’ll look at tools for doing ministry and presenting the gospel in a trauma-informed way. The presentation and methods shared are developed with clinical and psychiatric research as well as the real world experience of working with at-risk individuals.

    For almost a decade, Rev. Rick Jones has been helping bring the mercy and love of Christ into the lives of at-risk youth as the Chaplain and Vice President—Spiritual Life for Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. The Ranch is a recognized service organization of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod dedicated to helping at-risk children and their families succeed in the name of Christ. We offer residential, educational, and outpatient services for children who have been victims of abuse, neglect, poverty, mental illness, and other traumatic experiences.

    Discipling God’s People to be Generous

    God’s Word tells us that generosity is a mark of disciple. In this session, we will explore together strategies and tactics a growing number of Lutheran congregations are effectively using to disciple God’s people towards greater generosity at and through the local church. Session participants have the opportunity to receive digital examples from other churches, as well as a complimentary copy of a book A number of pastors and lay leaders use the book to bring a fresh perspective to the stewardship conversation.

    Larry Ulrich, a Senior Generosity Strategist at Generis since 2011, has coached more than 30 Lutheran congregations on the journey towards greater generosity for our Lord’s work through the local church. Larry Generis in 2011, after a decade of service with Lutheran Church Extension Fund, Generis is a collaborative, passionate team of more than three dozen associates, committed to the cultivation of generosity in and for the church across a range of denominations, theological contexts, and traditions.

    How Long, O Lord, How Long? – How to Support the Unemployed

    Even in this good economy, every year over 20 million people in the U.S. become unemployed through a discharge, layoff or job elimination. Statistics indicate you will have more congregational members become unemployed in a year than will be diagnosed with cancer, be divorced or pass away, yet it often goes unnoticed because they don’t talk about it. Learn how can you support the members of your congregation who will become unemployed.

    It’s Not Working Out – Now What?

    You are a leader in a Church, School or Not-for profit organization. You have someone on your staff whom you value as a person, butthey aren’t meeting your expectations regarding performance in their job, or their vision isn’t in line with yours causing conflict, or they are not a good fit for your team. What do you do? Often leaders avoid addressing issues because they don’t know what to do or how to do it. Learn how to address the many complex personal and legal issues you face in order to do what’s best for the staff member, the team and your organization. 

    Dale Kreienkamp is a speaker, a Human Resources consultant and the author of How Long, O Lord, How Long? Devotions for the Unemployed and Those Who Love Them. As a Human Resources Executive, he has experienced a personal journey of unemployment twice when both positions were eliminated in organizational restructuring. These personal experiences created a desire within him to help others impacted by unemployment through inspirational devotions. Dale is also an active volunteer at his home church (Concordia, Kirkwood) and leader in his local community. You can learn more about Dale and his work at

    Evaluate and Maximize Your Guest Experience
    What if you could know what guests were really thinking? This workshop will give you a fresh perspective on what it's like to be a newcomer and help you assess your guest experience from start-to-finish. You'll leave this interactive session with five key areas you can improve, a list of common "guest repellents" and helpful tips for training your frontline volunteers. 

    Jamie Shafer - Communications Strategist 
    Jamie can often be found writing, reading or planning her next Disney vacation with her husband and kids. She's a former church communications director who loves spending time with leaders one-on-one to hear their hopes, talk through challenges, and recommend next steps. Her goal is to help church teams increase their impact and serve well together. 

    We are Fishhook - A communications agency called to partner with churches and ministries. (You can think of us as an extension of your ministry.) We believe that it is possible for the church to lead in innovation, creativity and culture. And it’s our goal to help you see that too! We listen, we guide, we coach. We help you use the communication tools of today to share the love and hope of Jesus. 

    Is Muslim Evangelism Possible? From a Muslim Extremist to a Follower of Christ
    We live in a multicultural society where many people are sensitive about racial discrimination and feel that the Church may feel irrelevant, in particular when the neighbors are Muslims. How could we encourage the Church to be salt and light to our Muslim neighbors?

    Hesham Shehab grew up in a world of bitter animosity between Muslims and Christians, which he experienced personally in a physical attack at the age of 7. By age 13, he was recruited by the Muslim Brotherhood and later fought against Christians in the 1975 war in Lebanon. In 1980, while Hesham was going to the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, for pre-medical studies, his brother was killed by a Christian militia. Hesham's response was to study by day, and by night take out his revenge in attacks on Christians. However, hearing the Sermon on the Mount, in a course of cultural studies (at that college), brought him to faith. Hesham found in Jesus Christ a way of forgiveness and reconciliation with God instead of hatred and revenge. In 2001, Hesham, who worked as a journalist at two Lebanese newspapers and adjunct professor (at AUB), met a retired Lutheran pastor, Rev. Dr. Bernie Lutz, working with the Lutheran Hour Ministry (LHM) in Beirut. Dr. Lutz plugged Hesham into the LCMS. Hesham moved to the US in 2004, finished his pastoral education at Concordia, Fort Wayne, IN.

    More than Money: Restoring Mission to the Annual Budgetary Process

    Michael E. Batts, the co-author of Church Finance: The Complete Guide to Managing Ministry Resources observed that, “many times churches engage in elaborate budget development processes without first evaluating whether their activities are in alignment with their mission and purpose. In some cases, churches operate without a well-defined expression of their mission and purpose.” This session is designed to introduce you to a tool that can assist congregations in identifying areas in the budget process where mission and vision might be connected to a greater degree.

    Introduction to Getting Things Done®: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

    This session is designed to introduce you to the basic concepts of David Allen’s GTD®system of organization. We will explore the GTD®method for managing your To-Do lists and project lists. We will review Allen’s five phases of mastering workflow which can help to manage out of control email inboxes and capture ideas and action items from meetings. ©2019 David Allen Company. All Rights Reserved. GTD & Getting Things Done are registered trademarks of the David Allen Company.

    Rev. Dr. R. Brian Stolarczyk is a senior pastor at Lutheran Church of the Cross, Port Charlotte, FL. After working for Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, Brian became an LCMS pastor in 2005. As a parish pastor and former circuit visitor he has been able to utilize his accounting background in parish ministry. Brian’s Doctor of Ministry degree is in missional leadership and his final project was conducted in the area of mission and congregational budgeting.

    Compassion India Outreach

    Our goal is to serve the under-privileged poor village people of North India to improve their living standard through education and charity and bring them to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. We work through the local people who have the calling to plant Churches and reach these unreached people with the love of Christ. We find it most successful working through local people (leaders) whom we select, train and support financially for the mission. We’ll look at village life and worship of local people and how their lives were changed by the Gospel. We’ll also see how the poor people in a caste-driven society are hungry to hear the love of Christ.

    Sam Thomas works with Pastor Hesham Shehab, President of Salam Christian Fellowship, a ministry of Peace Lutheran Church, Lombard, IL. Sam also does Outreach Mission work to North India.

    Simple Habits for Marital Happiness

    A satisfying marriage is built day-by-day through specific, small actions that show love on an ongoing basis. This session will provide precise words and behaviors that create a gratifying marriage. Simple Habits builds a vibrant rewarding marital relationship that becomes more fulfilling every year. Learn how to immediately improve and strengthen marriages within your church.

    Dr. Schroeder is a retired professor of pastoral counseling from Concordia Theological Seminary. As a professor, he taught a number of classes in marriage counseling, family counseling, premarital counseling, crisis counseling, and more.  Dr. Schroeder has a successful counseling practice at Cornerstone Lutheran Church and has written a book, SIMPLE HABITS FOR MARITAL HAPPINESS, to be released in November 2019.

    Preaching in More Than Words

    The best sermons stay with you, becoming a part of Sunday's dinner conversation, emerging again while driving to work the next day, and showing up unexpectedly to do battle with the temptations that emerge throughout the week. Memorable sermons keep people interacting with the Word of God long after they have left the pews. Learn how to engage the senses and help your congregation take the sermon home with them after Sunday morning. Skillful and appropriate use of visuals, congregation participation, object lessons and more will be discussed.

    Carl Lehenbauer is the Senior Pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church of Freistadt, the oldest Lutheran church in the state of Wisconsin. He has served at Trinity since 2008, and his ministry experience also includes three summers at Camp Lakeview and student teaching at Walther Lutheran High School outside of Chicago. He loves to spend time with his wife and five children, and also enjoys camping, reading, basketball and DIY projects around the house.

    Youth Ministry Strategy and Steps

    A strategy of blending relational youth ministry with purpose-driven youth ministry to develop steps for student ownership so teens reach teens for Christ.

    Donnie Stubblefield has been doing youth ministry for 25 years. Donnie met Byron Porisch in 1994 and that led to a long mentorship and God opening the door for Donnie to serve at St. John's Ellisville from 1996 to 2004. Donnie then served in Naperville, IL at Crossroads Community Church for 13 years. He is now developing Youth Ministry Coaching at Faith Lutheran Church in Lake Forest, IL while serving as a missionary for Casas por Cristo.

    Biblical Principles for Leading and Following Well

    It’s time to set aside the hero-leader myth. Leadership is not a person and it is not a position. Leadership is a social process involving the interaction of leaders and followers directed toward achieving a shared goal. As a result of this workshop you will be able to identify four kinds of follower abuse in the marketplace, discern between the three distinct types of followership found in the Bible and use the five levels of followership to assess what people need from you.

    How to SelfPublish Your Book

    Getting your book in print has never been easier. You have access to software, tools, and services that can help you produce a quality product. Participants will learn how to conquer the writing challenge, how to test your working title, how to create a campaign to fund your project, how to get word-of-mouth jump-started, and how to make your book available on Amazon.

    Improving Board Effectiveness

    There are five types of governance models currently in use in LCMS congregations across the country. Participants will determine if they should change their current governance model or keep what they have, learn best practices for their type of governance, eliminate bad practices, and identify leverage points for healthy change.

    Jim Galvin (Galvin and Associates, IL) is an organizational consultant and facilitator specializing in strategy, governance, and leadership development for faith-based nonprofits. Jim’s most recent book is titled I’ve Got Your Back. It is a leadership parable with a compelling story that delivers a concise theology of leadership and followership. As an author, Jim has been published by Zondervan, Tyndale House, Thomas Nelson, Baker, Navpress, Moody Press, Intervarsity Press, Focus on the Family, and last but not least, Concordia Publishing House. He is best known as the co-creator and co-senior editor of the best-selling Life Application Study Bible.

    Microsoft Office for Lutheran Churches and Schools—Low-Cost and No-Cost Ways to be Safe and Productive with Your Organization’s Data

    This session offers a brief discussion on ways churches and parochial schools can utilize Microsoft Office at little or no cost through special programs for each. We’ll explore a quick overview of Exchange, OneDrive for Business, SharePoint, Teams, Flow, Forms. We’ll also talk about how to protect your organization’s data in the era of Bring Your Own Device. 

    Scott Dart is the Executive Director of True Technology, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting churches, schools, and other nonprofits with technology solutions. He serves as the Communications and Technology Team Lead at Campus Lutheran Church in Columbia, MO, where he’s wrestled with IT, infrastructure, software, end user training, support, and “But that’s the way we’ve always done it!”

    Leadership Pipeline for your Church  

    Do you feel like you are doing everything? Do you ever ask yourself where are the leaders to take on this certain task? Do you want to raise up leaders in your church to help, support, and lead the church. In our time together you will hear the basic pieces of developing your church’s leadership pipeline and how it will help your church and you accomplish more for the Kingdom.

    Sticky Discipleship in Youth Ministry

    Are you frustrated with your youth program? Do you feel the youth are not getting anything out of your time with them? Well come and join me as we talk about idea for developing disciple in your youth ministry which sticks and stays for a lifetime.  

    Matt Koenig - I have served as a teacher, principal, DCE and now pastor in many churches in the LCMS over his 23+ years in ministry. I really enjoy exercise, Superheroes, carpentry, home projects, movies, and time with family. I am married to a Lutheran School Principal. I have two daughters Faith (Freshman at CUC majoring in LTE) and Hope (a Junior in High School).  We also have a four-pound tea cup poodle named Teddy. 

    Growing Faith and Kingdom Through Simple Acts of Kindness!

    Lee R Larsen has been the Ministry/P.A.C.K. Coordinator for Acts 1:8 Ministry and Pilgrim Lutheran Church & School, both of Green Bay, Wisconsin, for the past 20 years. Throughout this time, I have been a part of performing monthly P.A.C.K. (Planned Acts of Christian Kindness) locally as well as encouraging Christians, now in 107 countries around the world, to do the same. I have witnessed firsthand the faith and kingdom-building attributes of performing P.A.C.K. on a routine basis and have been called to share this with as many as I can.

    Worship: Traditional as Attractional

    The three presenters craft and help lead the “traditional” worship services at all three of Cornerstone’s sites. Responding to a challenge to grow overall attendance by 10% in the next two years, we’ve compiled a list of fundamentals for preparing “traditional” worship services---a survey of assumptions and basic practices which will continue to sustain and strengthen these worship services as an attractional part of CLC’s overall ministry in the years to come.

    Barry Bobb is currently serving ½-time as the Director of Sanctuary Music at Cornerstone Lutheran Church in Carmel, Indiana and as Director of the Center for Church Music at Concordia University Chicago. Prior to these positions Bobb worked at Concordia Publishing House in St. Louis, Missouri, first as Editor for Music and Worship, and eventually as Vice President of the editorial department, overseeing all product development. In his early years he served as a grade school teacher and director of choral activities & chair of the theology department at a Lutheran high school. He attained his bachelor’s degree (Director of Parish Music) and a master’s degree in Church Music, both from Concordia University Chicago. In 2000 he received on honorary doctor of letters from his alma mater. He also has a master’s degree in theology from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri and did doctoral studies there. Barry has served on various non-profit boards of special ed and church music-related organizations in the U. S. including Lutheran Summer Music, LutheranArts, and the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians. He is probably best known for his books, Proclaim: A Guide for Planning Liturgy and Musicand Creative Worship for the Lutheran parish. He is also a published composer. He also serves as a book reviewer for The Choral Journal. Barry has a deep and abiding interest in the inter-relatedness of the Church’s theology, its music, liturgy and art, and faith formation.

    Joshua Pedde is the artistic director of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir (ICC), one of the largest and most respected children’s choir programs in the world.  In addition to conducting ICC’s advanced treble choirs, Josh is also the artistic director of the Anderson Area Children’s Choir. During his nineteen years with the ICC, Mr. Pedde has been instrumental in growing the ICC’s Innovationsprogram which provides free music education workshops to public and private schools throughout central Indiana. Mr. Pedde serves at Cornerstone Lutheran Church, Fishers, as director of worship and organist.  He is the music director of the Carmel Community Choir and Orchestra. He is a member of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, and the AGO. He has received training and certification in Orff-Schulwerk, Kodály, and First Steps methods of teaching.  Mr. Pedde was an elementary music teacher in the Zionsville Public School system for five year before joining the ICC as a full-time conductor and from 2001-2005 Mr. Pedde was the Artistic Director of the Kokomo Youth Chorale. Mr. Pedde earned his bachelor of music degree in vocal music education and a master’s degree in choral conducting from Butler University, where he was recognized for his outstanding work in elementary music and a DPM from Concordia Chicago.  Josh delights in time spent with his wife, Laura, and children, Annabelle, Grayson, and Savannah.

    Dan Calabrese serves as the organist and instrument director at Cornerstone Lutheran Church – Fishers. He assists in traditional worship planning and coordinates instruments used in worship, including handbells, brass, winds, strings and percussion.   Dan grew up in the LCMS church in the Milwaukee area and has had an interest in organ playing from a very young age.  Since he started playing for worship services in 1998 at the Lutheran Home for the Aging in Milwaukee, he has been leading worship from the organ bench in LCMS parishes for over 20 years. Other parishes served over those years include Blessed Savior Lutheran (New Berlin, Wisc.), University Lutheran (West Lafayette, Ind.) and St. James Lutheran (Lafayette, Ind.) until he moved to the Indianapolis area in 2007 and began playing at Cornerstone Lutheran. Outside of church work, Dan is a licensed Professional Engineer in multiple states throughout the Midwest with Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Civil Engineering from Purdue University. He is a junior principal and part owner at ARSEE Engineers in Fishers, Indiana. His firm focuses on structural and forensic engineering.

    There is Hope…for Peace in the Classroom

    Do you dream of transforming the lives of youth in your congregation with the Word of God, but the thought of middle school children causes anxiety?

    Are Sunday school teachers or youth leaders frustrated because children are not listening, talking over each other, or just unresponsive to the lesson or leadership?

    Is it hard to find volunteers to serve in children’s ministry because they are concerned about student behavior?

    Join me for a session that will provide practical tools and time-tested strategies that empower leaders and teachers to have the time to transform the lives of youth with the Word of God.

    Tina Kassebaum, a director of Christian education (DCE) in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod for the past 22 years, has served congregations, schools and organizations in Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. She is passionate about teaching and has taught in schools as a substitute teacher as well as serving as the director of extended care program. Today, the Lord has given her the opportunity to share her strategies and techniques to relieve stress that comes from challenging behaviors as we work with children and youth. She is also representing Christ For Youth Charities Foundation - providing grants for churches and 501c3 organizations that proclaim Jesus to children who have not heard the Gospel before.

    Biblical DISC

    The session will provide an overview of the DISC Model of Human Behavior to build more effective interpersonal relationships, better communication and increased productivity by focusing on individual strengths. We are not all wired the same way! Learn how to identify and understand each person’s wiring to create environments where people are energized, engaged, and committed.

    Jane Callahan, RN, MBA, Director of Organizational Development

    Jane’s 35 years in healthcare and 5 years in ministry uniquely qualify her to understand human behavior. As a certified Biblical DISC Practitioner, Jane believes this model works well in enhancing employee interpersonal relationships and therefore job satisfaction and productivity.

    Compensation Decision Support Tool Overviews

    The Compensation Decision Support Tools can now equip both churches and schools with external and internal data on salaries for a variety of positions within LCMS ministries. Ministries’ ability to have information readily available to assist them to make salary decisions can be a critical tool to help them attract and retain workers. This session will provide a high-level overview of the tool and its data, and a demonstration of the tool highlighting areas where ministries may have questions or seek additional guidance.

    Beth Jones is the Director of Customer Solutions at Concordia Plan Services where she serves ministries by evaluating the customer experience and product and services that ministries can utilize. She brings over 15 years of Human Resource (HR) experience from both nonprofits and fortune 500 organizations in a variety of HR disciplines such as in effective recruitment, employee engagement, and compensation strategies. Beth is a lifelong LCMS member and is married to Brett Jones, a former LCMS teacher and principal who served in both Wisconsin and Illinois, and who is now enrolled as a second career seminarian at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. They have three children currently enrolled in a LCMS school in the St. Louis area. 

    Sizzle or Fizzle: Creating Videos that Connect - Phil Klopke

    We all have a story that’s worth sharing but how do you create something that connects with your audience, church, and community around you. Come and hang out with the PLI team as Phil Klopke, Co Director of 1,000 Young Leaders, shares some quick tips for creating videos that connect. After learning this, you will realize that anyone can do it!

    Your Story Has Power - Dave Ficken

    I bet I can make you nervous with just one word. Are you ready for it? Don’t be afraid. Here it is… Evangelize. Nervous? Me too. This word gets a bad rap because it brings up worst case scenarios that have seared a fearful reaction into our minds. The good news? It doesn’t have to be scary anymore. In this 2-session breakout, PLI’s North American Program Director, Pastor Dave Ficken, will teach you how to communicate the Gospel through your story. By the end of our time together, you will:

    • See how the Gospel is communicated through Story in the Bible
    • Learn how story is a fun and non-intimidating way to share Jesus
    • Assess and build out your own personal story
    • Experience the power of listening to other people’s stories

    This will be so practical, you will be able to go home and begin listening to and sharing stories with neighbors immediately. You don’t have to be an expert theologian to share the Gospel, just an ordinary person with an extraordinary God.

    Increasing Your Influence - Kyrie Klopke

    There is a simple way to identify where and to whom God has called you to. A way to be intentional with whom and where you spend your time and resources. A way to know with confidence that God has truly gone before you to make way for relationships and gospel infused communities. 

    Join Kyrie Klopke, PLI’s Co-Director of 1,000 Young Leaders as she shares not just the WHAT, but the HOW behind Holy Spirit led mission and shares tools you can walk away with that will bring clarity to the doors God has already opened to you.

    A New Take on Presenting the 6th Commandment in Confirmation Class: Jesus, Marriage, and the Church

    The Sixth Commandment is all about marriage. The whole of Scripture gives us a picture of what marriage is and how it helps us to better understand the relationship Jesus has with His church.

    Clint Colwell is a DCE of 27 years. He served as Youth Director in several parishes over 23 years before becoming the Director of Admissions for Saint Paul Lutheran High School (The last of the LCMS boarding schools). Clint has been a speaker at Missouri District Educator and Youth events and has spoken at two separate National Lutheran Youth Gatherings (’13 & ’16) as a breakout sessions speaker. 

    Mission Trips vs. Missions Ministry

    How effective are your congregation’s mission activities? This session will present a model for sustainable mission work in a given location:

    • Using the Great Commandment to accomplish the Great Commission
    • Measurable mercy and evangelism objectives
    • Short-term teams with long-term commitment
    • Partnership with local government leaders and pastors

    Kevin Pieper serves Salem Lutheran Church in Tomball, Texas as Minister of Missions and Outreach. He has led approximately 25 missions to Kenya and 50 to Honduras, and mentors other congregations to develop self-sustaining mission ministries. Thousands of people have self-reported conversion experiences and new churches have been planted. 

    Crisis Communication: A Church’s Response to a Local School Shooting

    In May of 2018, at Noblesville West Middle School, a shooter entered a classroom and fired a weapon multiple times which resulted in the injury of a student and a teacher. The student, teacher and their families are all disciples of Cornerstone Lutheran Church. As a staff we had to quickly pull together to communicate to our congregation and minister to the victims and their families, as well as other families at our church. No one ever wants to think about this possibility but being ready to respond in crisis situations is important. In this session we will take you through our response and share the lessons we learned.

    Pastor Scott Giger serves as part of the pastoral team at Cornerstone Lutheran. He serves as site pastor for Fishers and oversees outreach and discipleship ministries at all three of the sites.

    Mike Rowland is the Director of Communications at Cornerstone Lutheran Church where he oversees the storytelling, social media, website, promotions and anything else that helps get the word out to disciples and local communities. Prior to working for Cornerstone, Mike spent 19 years at the Indiana state Headquarters for The Salvation Army where he served as Director of Community Relations.

    Work From Rest: Why, What, and How?

    Jesus invites, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest.” And yet so many of us find ourselves crazy busy and frenetically paced much of the time! Rest is a profoundly Biblical and gospel-centered topic. Let’s get super practical about building rhythms of rest into your life and leading your staff and congregation to do the same. In this session, you’ll come away with a sermon series and handouts that you can adapt for your context. 

    Karl Fay is a Jesus follower, a visual artist, married to Kendra, dad of June, Ruben, Iris, and Ezra, and serves as Senior Pastor at Prince of Peace in Palatine, IL (NW Chicago Burbs).

    GoodLife Multi-Site: Experience Exponential Numerical Worship Growth (aka: Getting JESUS into Your Community SIMPLY and EFFECTIVELY!)

    Can your small church of 100, 70, 50 or 10 worship 200, 300 or more EACH month? YES!!!! 

    GoodLife Church's Multi-Site Model is doing JUST that in the Detroit suburb of Rochester Hills, MI. With eight current sites (and growing), GoodLife-Gethsemane is currently worshiping over 225 people off-site each month! Most exciting, is that GoodLife-Gethsemane members and others from five area LCMS churches are finding joy as they see Jesus working in others and participate in leading Bible Study, devotionals, music and joining hospitality teams at these locations. Discover the GoodLife Church story today...and begin this organic mission renewal strategy which ANY church--of any size--can do!

    Rev. Thomas Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A. is the founding director of GoodLife Church. A church-planter at heart, Pastor Tom has been on the forefront looking for simple, cost-effective solutions for helping declining small churches grow. An LCMS pastor of 35 years...and counting, Pastor Tom has found GoodLife to be an important key for renewal in his small suburban congregation. Pastor Tom is married to Cheryl (nee Lorenz), and is proudest of his one-and-only grandson, Emmett Hannon, the son of Bob and Michelle (Fischer) Hannon. In addition to his passion for outreach, Tom enjoys using music (organ, keyboards, handbells, etc) of all styles to share Jesus. He ALWAYS enjoys a round of golf in his free time!

    Engaging Changing Communities
    Is your church in a community that look quite differently than it did when the church was founded a generation or more ago? The teachings of Jesus from Luke 10 in relation to his time with the disciples as a lot to say to about our own diverse communities today. Come explore ways that leaders can be effective in leading their churches through the process of actively engaging changing communities with the love of Christ.

    Chris Holder currently serves as the Pastor of Community Outreach at Bethel Lutheran Church in Dallas and as the Director of the T2C2 (Together Transforming Churches and Communities) mission network which he helped start. For the past 20+ years Chris has served in the areas of youth, community outreach and local missions to churches and ministries in throughout North Texas.  

    Let's Huddle—A Fresh Rhythm for Women's Ministry for Small and Large Church Contexts

    Seven years ago, I attended a conference for pastor's wives where we were introduced to 'the Huddle' concept. 10 cycles later and over 100 women have now 'huddled' with us and have seen real transformation in their faith connections with other women and their personal walk with God. Hear how intergenerational huddle circles, predictable connection cycles, and discipling hospitality can transform your women's ministry. Huddling breathed life into our congregation of 100 members and has now created a strong network of women in our current congregation of 1000.  

    Tricia Foster has worked 20 years as a nurse and is currently employed as the program manager at a Dementia Care Day Center. She was born and raised in Saskatchewan and met her husband in Atlanta, Georgia. They moved to vicarage in Kentucky, staying there for 15 years at his first call in a rural congregation. 3 years ago he was called to serve in Columbus, Indiana, at St. Peter's Lutheran Church. We also lead a Messianic Jewish missional community in Columbus, Indiana.  We have three children Julia-Wynne (15), Chalmers (13), and Keziah (10) and a precocious rescue chihuahua, Zoie. We enjoy leading tours of Israel, and hosting friends in our home. My favorite sport is curling and I miss playing it!

    Why Are Millennials and Children Absent From Our Churches? Try Reconnecting Them Through RGOH

    This presentation offers a simple way to invite young people back. We've got the tools to help you reboot through what we’ve learned at Rebecca’s Garden of Hope tutoring and mentoring after-school program. Although the program includes a focus on the educational needs of "at risk youth", the program was actually designed to introduce children of all ages and demographics, to Christ Jesus, as their Savior. As Director of the ministry, she developed a user-friendly, Christ-centered template that invites congregations, community partners, and other diverse populations to come together and develop long term relationships with youth and families in their communities. 

    Sanya Parson was elected in Jan 2011 by the Board of Directors to serve as the Director of Rebecca’s Garden of Hope's tutoring and mentoring after school program. She also travels across the country training congregations and other organizations to start Garden of Hope ministries in their areas. Sanya has also cultivated 17+ years of tutoring and mentoring youth, prior to becoming the director of RGOH. As the founder and director of a local tutoring and mentoring program in Orlando, FL, she continues to be responsible for assisting with coordinating the program schedule, developing the curriculum, recruiting and training volunteers, scheduling meetings and also conducting weekly training sessions for tutors. She is actively involved in the lives of the children and parents, with many of those youth actively involved as servant leaders in their church.

    Getting Beyond “OWLS” - A Comprehensive Vision for Ministry with and for Older Adults

    With as many 60-year-olds as 6-year-olds surrounding any congregation in the country and the older adult population percentages at all ages growing rapidly, an intentional approach to ministry with and for older adults is critical. You’ll leave with a Blueprint for Ministry with and for older adults, and resources for immediate followup and engagement to help you build beyond the “Older Wiser Lutherans” fellowship group.

    Mark Schoepp served the church as a Director of Christian Education for more than 30 years in four congregations and toured with his wife and children full time for 12 years as Fitz Family Ministries, a unique family ministry and entertainment/juggling troupe. Late in his career Mark worked for Wheat Ridge Ministries as full time Director Of Congregation Engagement where he developed a series of health and wellness workshops. Mark now works as Executive Director of ALOA, Adult Lutherans Organized for Action, focused on encouraging and equipping congregations for older adult ministry.

    9 and a Half Trends in Short Term Missions (STM) You Don't Want to Miss

    Look in the rearview mirror. There have been tremendous developments in the world of STM over the past four decades. I bet we can all share some hard-won 'lessons learned'. Now fix your eyes on the road ahead. The next few years will be easier to navigate as we map 9 and a half late-breaking trends. Disclaimer: your mileage may vary! 

    The Rev. Jake Gillard really enjoys mobilizing God’s people into God’s global mission. He is able to do this as the Executive Director of the Central American Lutheran Mission Society. Jake and Michelle and their two daughters enjoy outdoor and farm activities. They have served as a family in God’s Mission in Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, and East Africa.

    Liturgy Contemporary Fusion
    Just like the fusion of taco and pizza, some have disparaged any merging of the descriptors “liturgical” and “contemporary” in worship. But why does something modern have to distance itself from liturgy? We will discuss what liturgy is, why it is beneficial, and practical ways to incorporate liturgical elements into a fully contemporary worship service.

    Kyle Borcherding (Our Shepherd Lutheran Church in Avon, Indiana) serves as Worship Director and is studying to become a pastor. Having studied biblical languages and worship arts at Concordia Irvine, he has a passion for the intersection of music and theology as it occurs in worship. 

    Excited, Engaged, and Empowered Volunteers
    Vibrant church ministries cannot run without the hard work and dedication of many, many volunteers. Unfortunately, recruiting can often be a tiresome challenge that leaves leaders feeling a little desperate. As a result, we are tempted to call once again upon that volunteer who won’t say no, regardless of the fit of the position. To make things even more challenging, this new generation has a whole new view on volunteerism. Perhaps, it is time for a change. This session will explore what volunteers want, how to recruit them, and how to empower them for ministry in a way that leaves them feeling fulfilled and purposeful. You will be challenged to turn your approach to volunteerism on its end. Come learn about a new approach that will not only help you find the best volunteers for the job but will also connect your newer members within the ministry.

    Michelle Leahy is called as a Director of Family Life Ministry for St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She currently serves as their Director of Ministry Programs, because she wears many hats beyond family ministry. As part of her responsibilities, Michelle works with all new members to help them connect to the ministry and serve in meaningful ways. She also coordinates volunteer information and opportunities.

    Top Church Issues: A to Z

    Join us for a focused look at the top issues churches are facing. We’ll examine current accounting and standards updates, discuss financial trends affecting churches, and provide helpful resources. We’ll also explain recent updates to the CapinCrouse Church Financial Heath Index, review related church benchmarks, and discuss best practices churches are using.

    Learning Objectives:

    • Assess how current accounting issues, standards updates, and financial trends may affect your church
    • List where to obtain valuable online church resources
    • Identify and explain the benchmarks your church should be using and monitoring
    • Determine whether your church should start implementing certain best practices

    Richard Lindley is the Senior Manager of Capin Crouse, LLP. Richard has managed audit, review, and compilation engagements for more than 20 years and provides church and other nonprofit consulting services in a variety of areas. He is a member of the firm’s Church and Denominational Team and helped draft the CapinCrouse Church Financial Health Index™ and CapinCrouse Church Checkup™ and related reports. Richard frequently authors church articles. He also serves as his church’s finance ministry leader.

    Clergy Payroll – It Doesn’t Have to Be Scary!

    Does payroll scare you? It doesn’t need to. This session will look at the uniqueness of clergy and religious workers payroll. We will review the filing requirements of the Internal Revenue Service, what to do about the housing allowance, and software vs. outsourcing options. This session is useful for treasurers, bookkeepers and anyone else who wants to have a better understanding.

    Julie Walda is the Accounting Manager for a private K-12 school in Fort Wayne. She has over 20 years of non-profit accounting experience in both church and school settings. Julie and her husband, Chris, work with churches examining their accounting records and internal control processes ensuring integrity and efficiency of the financial records.

    Church Internal Controls

    We all want to trust the church with our donations. Internal controls and solid procedures provide that assurance and protect the church’s assets, volunteers and employees. This isn’t a message that you will hear on Sunday morning, but proper controls provide a solid base for the church to fund its various missions.

    We’ll discuss basic controls from receipt of offering, payment of expenses, payroll through to the bank reconciliation process. These practices will be useful for both small and large congregations. Bring your questions and we can walk through situations that may be applicable to all attendees.

    Chris Walda has 25 years of audit experience in both the corporate and non-profit worlds. He retired as the Internal Audit Director at Parkview Health in Fort Wayne in 2015. He currently works part-time for Parkview and serves as the treasurer for the Indiana-Kentucky Lutheran Synod. He also serves on the board of directors at the Lutheran Foundation in Fort Wayne. He and his wife Julie have done countless church financial reviews around Indiana.

    Improving your EQ (Emotional Intelligence)

    There's an indicator that is more effective than IQ for measuring your success – it's EQ (Emotional Intelligence). Drawing on her experience in screening candidates for missionary service, Emily Wilson will share how you can improve your EQ to be more successful in your ministry, career, and life.

    In her role as Mission Mobilization Coordinator for Lutheran Bible Translators, Emily Wilson assists in mobilizing individuals for participation in God’s mission through Bible translation ministry by prayer, financial support, or serving as missionaries internationally.

    They’re Retired, Not Expired! Practical, Successful Ideas for Older Adult Ministries 

    The average life expectancy in America today is higher than in any other period in history. With so many adults living into their 90’s, and so many Baby Boomers in or nearing retirement, how well is your congregation connecting with and engaging men and women of the older generations? Whether you hope to start a new ministry or build on an existing program, Calvary Lutheran and St. John Lutheran, Indianapolis, have stories, resources and successes to share about their fruitful collaboration, and how their senior ministries have grown.   

    Deaconess Emily Spelde has been the Director of Calvary’s Adult Ministry for 11 years. Don VanPelt and Bob Salyers are two coordinators of the all-volunteer planning team for the recent and rapidly growing Adult Fellowship Group of St. John’s. 

    Faith at Home
    Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." Talking about faith at home can be hard for some parents who don't feel like an "expert." Let's discuss different ways we can help foster natural conversations about faith in the home and equip parents with useful tools.

    Sarah Shadday is a Director of Christian Education in Greenwood, Indiana. She loves spending time with her husband and baby. She doesn't claim to be an "expert" in the subject but is passionate about equipping parents to be the primary faith teacher's in their children's life.

    Gender Identity – When It Becomes Real

    I’m a husband, a pastor and a father. I have three grown kids and one who lives a gay lifestyle. In the church, we talk about such issues when it’s outside our own personal experience as if we truly know how we would our should address them. That all changed when it was on my front doorstep. Let’s talk what it’s really like to love others while being true to God’s Word. It’s not always that easy or black and white. There’s so much more to learn.

    Sam Leiter has served in ministry for going on 29 years and has served in his current location since 1996. Of that, he spent 20 years in children’s, youth and adult discipleship. After being ordained as a SMP Pastor in 2011 and serving at a satellite location of our current church, he returned to serve as sole pastor of Messiah Lutheran Church at Eagle Creek, Indianapolis. He has been married to his lovely wife, Cheryl for 33 years and is looking forward to what God has in store for them as they serve together for His kingdom.

    Church Worker Wellness

    For those in the auxiliary ministry office, research around the Wellness Wheel, and resources from the MI District conference on church worker wellness, encouragement to live a well-balanced life.  

    House Visits

    Effective communication with parents, youth, and families; meeting the family where they are at, building relationships, and ministering to their needs. 

    Partnering with the Parachurch

    Partnership in ministry to go into the community to be the church and meet students and families where they are at, making Jesus more fully known. 

    Eric Steinke is a DCE (Director of Christian Education), in fulltime church ministry for 17 years. He has served four different communities and is currently serving as the Family Life & Youth Minister at St. John's in Adrian, MI. Plus, Eric is partnering with FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) overseeing their ministries into 10 different schools in Lenawee County. Eric has a passion for youth, family and intergenerational ministry, plus providing mission opportunities, and mentoring others in ministry leadership.

    Missional Model for Christian Caregiving – Moving from Concepts to Reality

    American societal trends toward individualism and busyness challenge conventional approaches to organized congregation care ministries. The model for caregiving evident in the early church (as recorded in Acts) is centered on oikios, an extended family that disciples one another, and shares life intimately, and carries one another’s burdens. Is there a possibility of overlaying this approach on our care ministries? How can this be achieved without asking members to radically reorient their current life flow? How do we organize to achieve organic and organized care ministry with a blend of church staff, trained care ministry volunteers, and “untrained” members? Suggestions for a hybrid approach where conventional programmatic care ministry and a more missional approach are blended will be discussed. Challenges in implementing and contextualizing to local congregational needs will also be considered.

    Dave Penner has been certified as a Director of Church Ministry by Concordia University Wisconsin and is serving as Director of Care at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church.  He has been on ministry staff for 3 years. Prior to this, he was involved in congregational leadership and Stephen Ministry. He has a passion for caregiving and equipping everyone to be the best caregiver God has designed them to be. Dave’s other passions includes grandkids and outdoor photography.

    Faith in Motion: How One Church Uses a Passion for Fitness in Fulfilling its Mission

    Health and wellness are not just for gyms; it can be a space for churches too. Your body is a temple created by God. Learn how one church has fostered faith through health and has created a fitness-loving community of disciples that reaches beyond the walls of their church.

    Hollie Nicholson serves as a leader for the Fitness Ministry at Cornerstone Lutheran Church where each week she inspires and encourages the community around her to strengthen their bodies from the inside out. She has used her formal training in education, her passion for fitness, and her heart for serving to build a successful fitness ministry that has strengthened current disciples and brought people from the community through their church doors.

    Looking Back to Pointing Forward: Navigating Transitions

    Change is a constant right? “I love what I know, so don’t change it.” “I hate what I know, so please change it.” Pastor Billy serves Trinity Lutheran in the midst of significant transitions. Building plans, senior pastor transitions, evolving teams, and more. Let’s discuss the balance between looking back and pointing forward as we navigate transitions in our ministry and life.

    Pastor Billy Newell loves Jesus and the way Jesus loves him! He likes riding bikes on the road and in the woods. His best titles are husband to Kristen Newell and Dad to Josiah, Addison, Naomi, and Evelynn. After that, He serves as a relatively new lead pastor at Trinity Lutheran in Bloomington, IL. While not an expert, God has seen fit to place Pastor Billy in many transitional context. Perhaps there is a chance to learn from each other, while navigating transitions together.

    The Church’s Role in Helping Parents in their Vocation

    The most significant faith formation of children happens at home, whether or not a church is strategically partnering with parents. God's design for developing the faith of children is for parents to lead spiritually in the home and the congregation to equip, support and encourage parents in that process. In this practical session on the foundations of family ministry, we will explore what a home-centered, church-supported ministry focus looks like, wrestle with how to make real, practical changes in your ministry setting, and guide you to resources that will help get you started.

    The Power of Praying Families

    This session will explore what it means to be a “missional family.” Dr. PC Mathew in his book, “Becoming a Missional Family” emphasizes 5 attributes of a missional family. We will be focusing on the primary attribute: “Worshipping Family.” The worship life of the Christian family at church and in their home is powerful and it impacts and changes the family’s dynamics and closeness. We will look at proven models of “Family Time” including “Enduring Faith @ HOME” and “28 Days of Prayer” resources developed by Concordia Center for the Family leaders.

    Jennifer Grime, DFLM is a graduate of Concordia, Ann Arbor and serves as the Director of Family Life Ministry at St. John Lutheran Church in Northwest Ohio. She is a volunteer member of the Concordia Center for the Family "Products and Resources Team." She has a passion for helping parents grow in their capacity to spiritually lead their children and enjoys writing, reading, music, and spending time with her family and two young children.

    Brian Horning, DFLM is a graduate of Concordia, Ann Arbor and serves as the Director of Family and Youth Ministries at Zion Lutheran Church in Petoskey Michigan and as the Affiliates and Training Leader for The Concordia Center for the Family (CCF) on the campus of Concordia University Ann Arbor. Brian has served in family and youth ministry for eleven years in Hewitt Texas, Decatur Indiana, and now Petoskey Michigan. He is Co-trainer of CCF’s Ethiopia Family Life Education Initiative teaching FAM101 and FFPN Generation to Generation to denominational leaders of the largest Lutheran church body in the World (EECMY).

  • 5K

    Tie up your running shoes and join us in a 5K run on Thursday, October 10, at 6:45 am. All those attending the conference are welcome to join us, as well as disciples of Cornerstone Lutheran!

    Runners will meet in the south parking lot at Cornerstone Lutheran Church at 6:30 am. 


    Register today! CLICK HERE! 

  • Accommodations

    Hilton Garden Inn Carmel/Indianapolis
    13090 Pennsylvania Street
    Carmel, IN 46032

    • Complimentary WiFi throughout the hotel
    • Onsite Garden Grille Restaurant and Pavilion Lounge
    • Saltwater swimming pool, 24-hour fitness center and 24-hour Pavilion Pantry®

    Click here for reservations. Book by September 4, 2019 for group rate. 


    Courtyard by Marriott Indianapolis/Carmel
    37 W 103rd Street
    Indianapolis, IN 46290

    • Free High Speed Internet
    • Fitness Center
    • Pool

    Click here for reservations. Book by September 18, 2019 for group rate. 


    Residence Inn Indianapolis Carmel
    11895 North Meridian Street
    Carmel, IN 46032

    • Fitness center
    • Free breakfast
    • Free high-speed internet
    • Kitchen/kitchenette 

    Click here for reservations. Book by September 25, 2019 for group rate. When searching for rooms, be sure to add the dates of the conference (Oct 9-11).


    SpringHill Suites Indianapolis Carmel
    11855 N. Meridian Street
    Carmel, IN 46032

    • Fitness center
    • Free breakfast
    • Free high-speed internet
    • Pool 

    Click here for reservations. Book by September 25, 2019 for group rate. When searching for rooms, be sure to add the dates of the conference (Oct 9-11).


  • Extend Your Stay

    Make a long weekend out of your stay

    Fall will be in full gear in Central Indiana this October with tons to do and see that time of the year. Consider extending your stay a few days after Best Practices and enjoying a long weekend in the area. Here are some of the local highlights:



    Carmel’s downtown area, known as the Carmel Arts & Design District, perfectly mixes quaint Main Street USA with modern shopping and dining. Browse the boutiques, meander through the antique stores and enjoy a delicious meal at one of the many restaurants — it’s quintessential small town in a big city!

    Arts & Design District Website


    Spanning over 20 miles from downtown Indy north through Westfield, the Monon Trail is a popular spot for walkers, runners and bikers. Once a railroad, the trail is now the perfect spot to get some fresh air and a little exercise.

    Monon Trail Website


    Step back in time and experience Indiana before she became a state at Conner Prairie. This interactive history park has indoor and outdoor exhibits and is fun for all ages. See a Civil War battle recreation, visit an Indian camp and take a hot air balloon ride.

    Conner Prairie Website