A Close-up Look at Replacement Theology

Has the church replaced Israel? What role does Israel have today in God's plan for world-wide evangelism? This is an important discussion as it has a great impact in the efforts for evangelism among the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel.

Presenter: Steve Cohen
Steve Cohen has been a missionary among the Jewish people for the last 40 years. His front line experience has been applied within the LCMS since 1996 when he founded the RSO The Apple of His Eye Mission Society. He has authored five books, spoken in over 1,800 congregations around North America, and has written over 150 Gospel tracts. His passion is to BOLDLY declare Y'shuaas the Messiah to Jews and Gentiles, and URGENTLY equip the church to do the same. 

A Story is Worth a Thousand Pictures

Telling a good story takes practice but it can make the difference between a memorable message and one that gets lost to your congregation.  With a few examples and some practical guidelines Craig will help explore the art of Biblical Storytelling. Come and be encouraged and grow as a storyteller.

Presenter: Craig McCourt
Craig served as a full time Youth and Adult ministry educator for more then 25 years. Since 2013 Craig has been speaking full time through his ministry called GodPonders. Craig is an author and a requested professional speaker. He is known for his humor and captivating presentations which are both inspiring and entertaining. Craig holds the attention of audiences of all ages. More about Craig and his ministry can be found at GodPonders.org.

All I Really Need to Know About Leadership I Learned In My First Congregation

Some of the best and most practical leadership lessons are learned through experience.  Learn from someone else’s experience (and errors) and get a jump start on leadership in your own congregation.

Presenter: Jeff Scheich
Pastor Jeff Scheich of Christ Lutheran Church, Lincoln NE started Room211 Worship in 2004.  God’s Holy Spirit has blessed this ministry and it now reaches over 1000 people per Sunday.  Earlier this year, at Best Practices in Phoenix, Jeff received the Guido Merkens Award for Entrepreneurial Ministry.

Believe.Be Real.Be Love – Fast Start to Life Groups

How does God most effectively spur us on to love each other and to live a life of discipleship?  By connecting us with others in Covenant Life Groups!  It has been proven time after time, in church after church, that discipleship is developed best in Covenant Life Groups.  These intentional gatherings of 2 to 6 people meeting regularly, with the common purpose of living on mission with God in covenant community and growing as disciples of Jesus.  Come hear how your church can get started right away building disciples by implementing Covenant Life Groups.

Presenter: Joel Eggerding
After graduating from the University of Illinois with a Finance degree, Joel spent 18 years working at a major bank.  In 2012 Joel had two major life changes.  First he started his own money coaching business – CoachYourMoney.com where he helps regular people with their money questions and issues.  Second, he started attending a covenant life group at his church -- Trinity Lutheran Church in Roselle, IL.  As he matured as a disciple in the covenant life group, Joel felt the call to join the staff of Life Spring Network in 2014.  He helps pastors and church leaders train, mentor and equip their congregations to become holistic, disciple-making communities.  

The Biblical Festivals and Their Value in Our Churches Today

The Jewish festivals were foundational in the life of Israel. Each one told of God's insolvent in our history and served as a tool to transmit His story to succeeding generations. We will inform you of those roots and provide opportunity to see how this can enhance our own congregation's life and outreach.

Presenter: Steve Cohen
Steve Cohen has been a missionary among the Jewish people for the last 40 years. His front line experience has been applied within the LCMS since 1996 when he founded the RSO The Apple of His Eye Mission Society. He has authored five books, spoken in over 1,800 congregations around North America, and has written over 150 Gospel tracts. His passion is to BOLDLY declare Y'shuaas the Messiah to Jews and Gentiles, and URGENTLY equip the church to do the same. 

Biblical Personal Financial Stewardship – Growing as a Disciple Through Stewarding God’s Gifts

Did you know that money is the second most referenced theme in the Bible and is also the second highest cause of divorce in America?  As a church that grows disciples, we need to help our members understand God’s view of money.  Come find out how teaching personal finance through the lens of discipleship can help your members grow in their faith and be better stewards of God’s gifts.

Presenter: Joel Eggerding
After graduating from the University of Illinois with a Finance degree, Joel spent 18 years working at a major bank.  In 2012 Joel had two major life changes.  First he started his own money coaching business – CoachYourMoney.com where he helps regular people with their money questions and issues.  Second, he started attending a covenant life group at his church -- Trinity Lutheran Church in Roselle, IL.  As he matured as a disciple in the covenant life group, Joel felt the call to join the staff of Life Spring Network in 2014.  He helps pastors and church leaders train, mentor and equip their congregations to become holistic, disciple-making communities. 

The Brain and Planning in the Church

This workshop shares how current brain research informs our planning for education, community service, outreach and worship. How does our brain wire and what does that tell us about the people we face in our pews, our classrooms and our families homes? How do you get and keep attention? And how can we keep current with the brain research with limited time?

Presenter: Mark Schoepp
Mark Schoepp served the church as a Director of Christian Education for more than 30 years in four congregations and also toured for 20 years as Fitz Family Ministries, a unique family ministry and entertainment/juggling troupe. Mark joined Wheat Ridge Ministries as full time Director Of Congregation Engagement in July 2010. Mark works to inspire and encourage Lutherans and Lutheran Congregations to connect to their communities through intentional programs that promote health and wellness. Since 1994, Mark has been following the developments in the field of brain research and education, with a special interest in brain health and its application to the church, the church school and the home.

Brain Gain - Living Inside God’s Design

This workshop is focused on three simple but powerful concepts for being good stewards of our bodies, and especially our brains: exercise, diet and play/rest/sleep. The workshop will explore how dramatically those three things affect our brain and our ability to give God our best. Application for personal health and for connecting to the community through health related ministries.

Presenter: Mark Schoepp
Mark Schoepp served the church as a Director of Christian Education for more than 30 years in four congregations and also toured for 20 years as Fitz Family Ministries, a unique family ministry and entertainment/juggling troupe. Mark joined Wheat Ridge Ministries as full time Director Of Congregation Engagement in July 2010. Mark works to inspire and encourage Lutherans and Lutheran Congregations to connect to their communities through intentional programs that promote health and wellness. Since 1994, Mark has been following the developments in the field of brain research and education, with a special interest in brain health and its application to the church, the church school and the home.

Cancer and the Church

Churches are faced with the need to minister to cancer patients and their families in a meaningful and uplifting way with minimal resources. In addition, the length and complications of cancer treatments makes the needs of cancer families longer term and more complex than other health issues.

Join Karen Tripp MS, LMFT, as she discusses how to establish a thriving outreach cancer ministry which provides Christian cancer support groups and/or one to one peer meetings through the Cancer Companions Ministry.

Presenter: Karen Tripp MS LMFT, President, Cancer Companions
From East Coast to West Coast, Karen Tripp has turned her gift of gab into the gift to help others in need. Whether laughing with an audience, sharing through her books, or counseling one heart at a time, Karen joins people where they are and lifts them towards hope.  As author of God is Bigger Than Your Cancer and a daughter of a colon cancer survivor, Karen brings her training as a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist to her work with cancer families. Karen is also President of Cancer Companions- a ministry that trains, equips, and supports caring people to draw cancer families closer to Christ.  Karen lives in St Louis with her husband where she enjoys leading Bible studies, playing in creeks, and making sugar cookies with kids of all ages.    Karen@cancer-companions.org

The Catechism in Relationship Language

Looking for a resource for your adult instruction class?  Or maybe a creative small group study on the six chief parts for a small group or board of elders?  Or a teaching tool for Jr. High Confirmation instruction?  Knowing the right answers is part of the desired outcome, but equally important is the desire for people to grow in relationship with Jesus Christ.  Help people learn the six chief parts through relationship language. 

Presenter: Paul Schult
Paul grew up in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, attended Concordia University in River Forest majoring in secondary education English.  After teaching two years at Walther Lutheran High School he went to Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.  He has served at Messiah Weldon Spring for almost 17 years.  He is the author of the book, Getting to Know Jesus. He and his wife Beth have 5 children.

Clear and Simple Discipleship

Over the years, our discipling methods have increasingly substituted scholarship for actually joining Jesus on His redemptive mission. However, a discipling reformation is within our reach if we can get clear and simple on three basic questions: what is a disciple, what does a disciple do and what is the process for forming such a disciple? In this session Greg Finke will lead us through a process of simplifying and clarifying our understanding of discipling so that we can rediscover how to disciple people the way Jesus does in the Gospels.

Presenter: Rev. Greg Finke
Rev. Greg Finke is the founder and Executive Director of Dwelling 1:14 and author of the book, “Joining Jesus on His Mission.”  Dwelling 1:14 is a non-profit ministry which seeks to help congregational leaders disciple their people to join Jesus on His mission in the places they already live, work and go to school (www.dwelling114.org).

Congregational Leader – Community Leader

This session will explore ways in which congregational leadership, both lay and clergy, can engage their community in order to influence the “agenda” and spread the Word. We will look at practical methods of becoming a valued resource to the community. When the question is asked, “If this congregation ceased to exist tomorrow, would anyone notice?” We want to answer a resounding, YES!

Presenter: Pastor Todd Kollbaum 
Pastor Todd Kollbaum was installed as Director of LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission on April 1, 2013.  Prior to that call, he served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Cole Camp, MO since August of 2004. Pastor Kollbaum is a 2004 graduate of Concordia Seminary St. Louis, MO and a 1990 graduate of Dana College in Blair, NE. Pastor has been happily married to Angela Kollbaum for 24 years. They are blessed with five children. Zachary, Jordan and Emily, Ryan (a Freshman at St. Paul High School Concordia, MO) and Abigail (a fourth grader at St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Concordia, MO). The Kollbaums currently reside in Concordia, MO.

Congregational Organizational Assessment

The presentation will review an overall assessment of the church organization from governance to operations identifying areas of performance improvement opportunities and opportunities to improve ministry effectiveness.

Presenter: John McGinty

  • Christian
  • Lutheran
  • Member of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Columbus, IN
  • Husband of Connie (42 years)
  • Father of 3 daughters
  • Grandfather of 7 grandchildren
  • Hospital Administrator, President, CEO
  • Governance  & Organizational Consultant
  • Expert Witness
  • Serves on Multiple Boards

Connect: Building Mutually Beneficial Partnership

For more than 20 years, Carmel Lutheran and Bethesda Lutheran Communities, through the ministry of SonRise, have forged a mutually beneficial relationship to advance the Gospel. Bethesda has viewed this partnership as a best practice and provided a template to build other successful congregational relationships. Learn how your congregation can connect with an organization like Bethesda to build a ministry that improves the lives of people of all abilities in your community.

Presenter: Ben Stuckey
Ben Stuckey is the Director of Religious Life for Bethesda. Ben has been involved with SonRise for six years and is a longtime disciple of Carmel Lutheran. Bethesda Lutheran Communities, founded in 1904, is a Registered Service Organization of the LCMS, providing support to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Consistency in Your Branding Communicates Consistency in Your Church

Branding is the visual representation of your church’s identity. When branding is focused enough, it becomes a character of its own. Unity in your branding communicates unity in your church. Join us for a workshop designed to help brand your church by listening to your congregation and keeping it simple, consistent and relevant.

Presenter: Katie Mulckek
Katie Mulckek serves as the Director of Communications at Concordia Lutheran Church in Kirkwood, Missouri.

Creating a Connection Culture

Come hear Jason Pankau as he passionately takes you through an overview of this seminar which provides participants the guidance and tools necessary to create a culture in which disciple-making can flourish and become normative.  Based on his best-selling books Fired Up or Burned Out and Connection Culture, come learn about the five elements necessary to build an impassioned, innovative and thriving community of faith.

Presenter: Jason Pankau
Rev. Jason Pankau, President of the Life Spring Network (a discipleship and mentoring ministry) and Vicar at Trinity Lutheran Church, Roselle, IL (also going through the SMP program) has been presenting at Christ Church, Phoenix since the start of their Best Practices Conference.

Creating a Truly Missional Church

Come learn about the process that the Life Spring Network uses to help churches across the country get on mission with God. During this session, we will explore the Life Process of making disciples which can be adapted to any setting and leads to reproductive growth.

Presenter: Jason Pankau
Rev. Jason Pankau, President of the Life Spring Network (a discipleship and mentoring ministry) and Vicar at Trinity Lutheran Church, Roselle, IL (also going through the SMP program) has been presenting at Christ Church, Phoenix since the start of their Best Practices Conference.

Creating New Pathways into the Church in Our Post Church Culture

The accelerating demise of our “come to church” culture is making it increasingly challenging for most churches to reach people…especially millennials…  in their communities.  Here’s two simple pathways that can complement each other and better enable leaders to effectively engage their people in the Mission of God.

Presenter: Jock Ficken
Jock Ficken leads PLI with his wife, Gail. Together they organize and bring leadership training to pastors, spouses, and lay leaders primarily in the LCMS. Jock has served as a senior pastor and as a consultant. PLI is committed to training and investing in women and men to multiply missional leaders in our changing world.

Differently Gifted

Explore a new model for equipping for Disability Outreach in your congregation. Recent pilot project at Christ Lutheran in Lincoln, Nebraska will be highlighted. Topics include reaching out to seniors, supporting families, equipping Children's ministry staff and volunteers, engaging Lutheran business owners, congregational ministry WITH people of all abilities.

Presenter: Mona Fuerstenau
Mona Fuerstenau, Director Ministry Partnerships for Bethesda Lutheran communities, past chair synod Disability task force and current LCMS Synod liaison for Disability Ministry.  Mona is passionate about reaching those marginalized by disability and bringing them into the body of Christ to share their gifts.

The Dirty Word That’s Impacting Outreach In Today’s Culture

Branding. It’s considered taboo in come church circles. But in today’s world, it is an important concept for congregations to understand. Much more than simply logos and tag lines, a congregation’s brand can be an effective tool in building relationships with those in the community while sharing the Gospel through service and Word. Participants will be asked to consider their own congregation’s identity and be challenged to evaluate their brand image within the context of their community. Best practices for brand consistency for outreach purposes will be shared.

Presenter: Eric Nelson
Eric Nelson has served congregations in Washington, Alaska, and Indiana as a DCE in the areas of worship, youth & family ministries, communications, and administration. He received his Master of Nonprofit Management from Regis University in Denver, CO and has consulted for congregations and nonprofit organizations in the areas of communication, governance, and strategic thinking. Eric currently serves Carmel Lutheran Church and lives with his wife, Adina, and their two young girls in Noblesville, Indiana.