Home > 2014 Mission Festival Workshops

Abida — Hearts on Fire

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Contemporary Worship as a Means of Renewal

Presenter: Kevin Reynolds

Workshop Description: So, your church has been talking about “Renewal,” and somebody said you might have to switch to “contemporary” worship in order to attract and hold a younger generation of Lutherans. But wait a minute. Isn’t all our worship “contemporary?” What does that even mean? Rock songs? Guitars and drums? Light shows and smoke machines? While Elijah probably had some pretty good smoke during his worship service on Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18) and there are many references to incense used in worship, you’re not sure a concert smoke machine is the modern equivalent!

The Gospel needs no help from us to remain living and active yet God Himself compels us to refresh our worship—not occasionally, but daily! In this workshop we will explore three areas of modern worship. We will:

  1. Make sure we understand what worship is, and what God requires of our worship. As it turns out, He is very specific about what He wants us to bring to worship!
  2. Define what “modernizing” our worship might look like in our churches.
  3. Attempt to get comfortable with styles of worship that we may not be used to and see if there is some common ground for transitioning to something new. We’ll share resources that are available to help make such a transition possible.

Kevin Reynolds… has been serving as a Worship Leader at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Evans, Georgia since 2010, coming on staff as the Associate Minister of Missions, Outreach and Education in January of 2012. Prior to this Kevin was ensconced in a career in Medical Physics but he and his wife, Stacy, have been worship leaders in several churches of various denominations for the past 35 years, and coming to Christ the King was an open door that God had been preparing for a long time. Kevin and Stacy have three grown children, one granddaughter, and a wonderful pit bull named Lucy.

Renewing the Church through Senior Ministry

Presenter: Pastor Brad Hales

Workshop Description: The local congregation is “graying” at a rapid rate. Over 10,000 people each day are turning 65 years of age. Instead of lamenting the “aging of the church,” we need to embrace it and help older adults grow in their discipleship of Jesus. Through “second half ministry” a congregation can be renewed and “re-fired” for mission.

Brad Hales… is the pastor of Reformation Lutheran Church, Culpeper, Virginia, and the Dean of the Virginia Mission District of the North American Lutheran Church. Through the power of Jesus, Pastor Hales has helped to renew several older congregations in discipleship, outreach and mission. In 2009, his present congregation was given the “Best Practices Award in Senior Adult Ministry” by the National Council on Aging. Hales has also authored the Bible study, A Covenant of Aging, published by Sola Publishing.

The Power of Prayer in Renewal and Mission

Presenter: Pastor Eric Waters

Far too often, prayer is an afterthought in our personal lives and in the life of the church. “Oops, we forgot to pray to start the meeting. Can someone quick pray and then we will get down to business?” Prayer is one of the basic necessities in congregational renewal and missional outreach. It should be the place we start, instead of the thing we quickly skim over. Come to talk about the role of prayer, hear powerful testimonies of what God is doing, and share creative ideas. But more importantly—come to pray!

Eric Waters… whose wife prayed him into the Kingdom, serves as teaching pastor at Upper Arlington Lutheran Church in Columbus, Ohio. He is a graduate of Dartmouth, has a Master of Divinity from Yale, and received a Doctorate of Ministry from Luther Seminary in Biblical preaching. Originally from New York, he and his amazing wife, Michelle, and six children are now blessed to call Powell, Ohio, home.

First Century Disciples in the 21st Century

Presenter: Pastor Henry Graf

Jesus left His disciples with these marching orders “Make Disciples,” yet, somewhere along the way we lost the plot. It became about us growing the Church, which is what God said was His job. Is it even possible to make first century disciples in the 21st century? If so, what is getting in the way?

Henry Graf…coauthored More Than a Story. He is the pastor of Promise LCMS in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He holds both a Master of Divinity and a Master of Art in Communication. You can follow his blog (www.HenryGraf.com) to keep up with his latest thoughts, devotions, and projects. Henry is married to his beloved Tricia, and they have two daughters, Kaitlyn
and Adeline.

Pastor as Disciple-maker

Presenter: Bishop John Bradosky

Shepherd, administrator, counselor, preacher, maintenance person, clerical worker, worship leader… In today’s church, the pastor has many duties and fills many roles. While our seminaries have provided a wonderful theological education, the idea of pastor as “disciple-maker” has often been overlooked. Come and spend time together as we discuss our shortcomings in this area but also how we could move forward together in the Great Commission with practical ideas and a big-picture vision.

Bishop John Bradosky… has over 30 years of pastoral experience with diverse experience in organization and administration. He has served in urban, suburban, and multicultural settings. Previously he has served as the NALC’s General Secretary, and was senior pastor of Epiphany Lutheran Church in Dayton, Ohio. He has also served St. John Lutheran Church in Springfield, Ohio; Trinity Lutheran Church in Canton, Ohio; and Grace Lutheran Church in Huntington Beach, Calif. Bishop Bradosky is a graduate of Hamma School of Theology at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, and Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Indiana, Pa.


Real Presence, Real Purpose, Real People: A Realistic Approach to Starting House Churches

Presenter: Pastor Tom Hilpert

In this workshop we will draw from real-life experiences to provide an introduction to the how and why of starting house churches. We’ll learn some best-practices, as well as some advice about what does not work well in house church planting. We’ll have plenty of practical tips, and include a lot of Q&A and interactive time. If time permits, we can also explore the Lutheran roots of the house church.

Tom Hilpert…is a Lutheran pastor, author, goat farmer, and all around swell guy. Since 1995, he has helped to plant and foster a dozen new churches, and served as a full-time pastor in two different congregations. Currently, he serves as pastor of New Joy Fellowship in Lebanon, TN, and as director of Life Together Churches, a house-church-planting and consulting ministry. He has written church-planting resources that have been used in the United States, Great Britain, Albania, Vietnam, India and Mongolia. In addition to his work in ministry, Tom is the author of the Lake Superior Mystery novels, which feature strong, memorable characters and quirky humor. So far, Tom’s books include: Superior Justice, Superior Storm and Superior Secrets. Tom has been married to his wife, Kari, for 22 years. They have four children.

Value of Coaching

Presenter: Pastor Dennis Blevins

Every Navigator’s passion is to “help others know Christ and make Him known®.” Through small-group Bible studies and life-on-life discipleship, we come alongside people and teach them to be Christ’s followers as they study and apply the Word of God to chart their lives. Then we train them to pass what they have learned on to others. Our Church Discipleship Ministry collaborates with church leaders to develop a culture of discipleship and evangelism. We work through and alongside these leaders, helping them equip their people to develop successive generations of disciples who live and minister among the lost.

Dennis Blevins…grew up in the south, learning from his parents about the truth of the Bible. After high school, he was accepted into Bible College in Chicago and began studying for a General Bible Degree. His studies were interrupted when he was inducted into the U.S. Navy in 1968 during the Viet Nam Conflict. While serving, Dennis was introduced to the Navigator Ministry and, for the next six years, received help in his walk with Christ. Following service in the Navy, he completed a degree in Business Administration, met and married Mary Jane, and joined the Navigator staff in collegiate work. Fourteen years later, Mary Jane and he moved to Portland to work with Multnomah Bible College and Mission Portland. During this time, he was a pastor in a local church, led Promise Keepers, and began coaching training. Dennis coaches leaders and pastors in over 40 states. He and Mary Jane have three adult daughters.

Global Missions and Discipleship

Presenters: Pastor Charles and Anita Jackson, NALC & WMPL

Mission work and discipleship are intimately linked. The Jacksons served in Kenya with WMPL Canada from 2001-2008, working with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya (ELCK). Charles was a pastor and church leadership developer in the Samburu church, and Anita taught English and adult literacy classes. After handing the work over to the ELCK Samburu pastors, they undertook a new assignment in March of 2010 with WMPL’s partner agency in Mongolia, Joint Christian Services (JCS) International (www.jcsintl.org). “JCS, a consortium of Christian organizations, shares the Good News of Jesus Christ with the people of Mongolia by working with them to achieve their full, God-given potential through development, relief, and encouraging the planting, growth, development and unity of the indigenous churches.” The JCS vision is “to see Mongolians building and restoring families, churches, and communities.” Join the Jacksons for a time to hear about what they have learned from our brothers and sisters in Christ about following Jesus and, if time permits, discussions about where God might be calling you to serve in the world!

Charles Jackson… grew up in Alberta and received his Master of Divinity from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon in 1993. He also holds an undergraduate degree in missiology. From 1995-2000, Charles served as the pastor of Sharon and Bethany Lutheran congregations of the Donalda parish in Alberta. Charles has also served as the Chair of the Home Council of the World Mission Prayer League (WMPL) Canada.

Anita Jackson… A native of Minnesota, Anita received her Master of Theological Studies from Concordia Lutheran Seminary in Edmonton in 1999. She holds an undergraduate degree in elementary education. As a single worker, Anita served with WMPL in Ecuador from 1989-1993, teaching at the Inter-American Bilingual School in Cuenca.

Living the Catechism: Discipleship for the Lay Person

Presenter: The Rev. Dr. Amy Schifrin

Do you remember the days of confirmation classes from your youth? If most of us are honest, the memories are distant and faded. Join Dr. Amy Schifrin as she reviews Lutheran catechism in a creative, meaningful, and humorous way. This brief “refresher” course will be extremely helpful for lay leadership.

Amy Schifrin… is the President of the North American Lutheran Seminary in Ambridge, PA. Prior to the call at NALS, she served as pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Monona, IA, and Mission in Christ Lutheran Church in Strawberry Point, IA. She earned her Master of Divinity degree from Luther-Northwestern Theological Seminary in St. Paul, MN. Her first call as a pastor was in Saskatchewan. Campus, parish, and seminary calls have taken her to the Southwest, the Midwest, and the Mid-Atlantic States. She earned her Ph.D. in Liturgical Studies and Homiletics from The Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA.

Vision, Relationships and Healthy Churches

Presenters: Pastor Mark Chavez and Pastor David Wendel

One of the challenges facing congregations today in terms of renewal, mission, and discipleship is dealing with challenges of conflict. While it’s not something we like to talk about, dealing with conflict resolution in a Biblical manner is incredibly important. One of the major focal points of this workshop will be how to take positive steps forward with vision and leadership.

Mark Chavez… lives in Landisville, Pa., and is currently serving as the NALC’s General Secretary. He served as the director of Lutheran CORE (Coalition for Renewal) for five years (2006-2011) and as vice president and director of the WordAlone Network from 2000 to February 2010. A commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force from 1976- 1983, he served primarily in the Directorate of Soviet Affairs, Air Force Intelligence Service, at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C. He resigned his commission in 1983 to attend Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., where he earned his Masters of Divinity degree. Following ordination in 1987, he served as pastor at Peace Lutheran Church in Glen Burnie, Md., (1987-1999); and Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in East Petersburg, Pa., before accepting the call to serve the WordAlone Network. Pastor Chavez and his wife, Jocelyn, have six children and four grandchildren.

David Wendel…graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication. He is a 1981 graduate of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg and served his internship at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Los Alamos, N.M. He served as pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Hobbs, N.M., before being called to Saint Luke’s in Colorado Springs in 1986. He earned a Doctor of Ministry in Preaching from the Association of Chicago Theological Schools in 2001. In 30 years of parish ministry, Pastor Wendel gained valuable hands-on experience serving as pastor to two congregations that had suffered under unhealthy relationships, lack of vision and impaired mission and ministry.  He now works with many congregations in the NALC assisting with visioning, healing and renewal, especially focusing on pastor/parish relationships.  He writes regularly for the NALC Newsletter, addressing these topics. Pastor Wendel and his wife, Susan Riches, have two adult children, two grandsons and a granddaughter.

Disciple-making Lay Leaders and the Next Generation

Presenters: Valerie Hobbs and Pastor Ray Scheck

The future of the church rests in the next generation, as well as in Disciple-making lay leaders.  What characterizes such a lay ministry leader?  How are you investing yourself in coming along-side some younger adults (18-40) to become disciple-making leaders?  Why?  Because this younger generation has great insight to shape the whole world!  How?  If you want this generation to follow, you have to become a teaming leader.  Valerie Hobbs and Pastor Ray Scheck will share some how-to’s and whys?

Valerie Hobbs… serves on the staff of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Damascus, Md. Her job responsibilities include the support and encouragement of lay leaders of Redeemer’s Bible Studies and Small Groups.  Her passion is to see God’s Word change lives as individuals learn to pray and to hear God speak through Scripture. She also works part time with Church Discipleship Ministries, a branch of The Navigators dedicated to helping church leadership live out their Disciple-making Mission.



Ray Scheck… recently retired, Ray and his wife, Joan, have four grown children and eight grandchildren. He served as the Senior Pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Damascus, Md., for well over 30 years. The passion of his life is to help people come to know the amazing person of Jesus Christ and to grow as disciples of our Lord. About 15 years ago, Ray discovered, through The Navigators, how to help the people of Redeemer let God’s Word shape all parts of their lives. He successfully implemented a disciple-making strategy for Redeemer that still guides the ministry of this community. In more recent years, Ray has been involved in mentoring other Lutheran pastors, turning over the senior pastor role to his successor.