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‘Making Disciples for Life’ Initial Gathering

January 9, 2020 - January 11, 2020

The first Making Disciples for Life (MDFL) conference will be held Jan. 9–11, 2020, at The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) International Center (IC) in St. Louis.

Face-to-face interactions and exchanges of information among the people of congregations, districts and the national Synod are the goals of these conferences.

Resources provided at this conference will focus on empowering local congregations’ pastors and laity to make a godly impact in their congregations and communities.

Come join in the conversation. Please also consider sharing this church bulletin insert to invite members of your congregation to participate.

Register online

This Initial Gathering will include two parts:

Day One

  • A stand-alone afternoon conference, titled “What We’ve Learned,” will feature four 30-minute presentations. Get an inside look at what the leaders of Synod are most concerned and excited about and how this will impact our future work together.

Days Two–Three

  • These days will foster conversation among parishioners, pastors, district leaders and Synod leaders. Breakout sessions will foster interaction on topics such as volunteer engagement, leading during disasters and ministry to millennials. Further, “tabletop” discussions for all participants will take place around the IC. Engage in conversation about key topics of your choosing, expressing needs and sharing and receiving advice and resources as we strive to walk together as a Synod. Participants in these conversations will include the Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison, LCMS president; the Rev. Kevin Robson, LCMS chief mission officer; the directors of each LCMS ministry, and other LCMS leaders.

Breakout sessions

You will be available to choose from these presentations and more:

  • Making Disciples for Life — Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison, LCMS president
  • Loving Your Neighbor When Life Gets Tough — Rev. Michael Meyer, director of LCMS Disaster Training
  • Seven Practices of Healthy Youth Ministry — LCMS Youth Ministry staff
  • Demographic Opportunities and Challenges — Rev. Heath Curtis, coordinator of LCMS Stewardship Ministry
  • Partnering with Recognized Service Organizations — Deaconess Dorothy Krans, director of LCMS Recognized Service Organizations
  • Campus Ministry — Rev. Marcus Zill, director of LCMS Campus Ministry and LCMS U
  • LCMS Ethnic Ministries — Rev. Dr. Roosevelt Gray Jr., director of LCMS Black Ministry
  • Challenges in Domestic Mission — Rev. Robert Zagore, executive director of the LCMS Office of National Mission
  • LCMS Mercy Work — Rev. Dr. Ross Johnson, director of LCMS Disaster Response
  • Urban & Inner-City Mission — Rev. Dr. Steven Schave, director of LCMS Urban & Inner-City Mission and LCMS Church Planting
  • Congregational Revitalization — Rev. Dr. Mark Wood, director of LCMS Witness & Outreach Ministry and LCMS Revitalization
  • Pastoral Education — Rev. Dr. James Baneck, executive director of the LCMS Office of Pastoral Education
  • LCMS Secretarial Report — Rev. Dr. John Sias, Synod secretary
  • LCMS International Mission — Rev. Daniel McMiller, executive director of the LCMS Office of International Mission
  • Church Worker Wellness — Rev. Robert Zagore
  • Church Music — Rev. Dr. Jon Vieker, senior assistant to the LCMS president
  • Ministry to People with Disabilities — members of the LCMS Disability Task Force
  • Domestic Violence Response — members of the LCMS Domestic Violence Task Force
  • LCMS Young Adult Research — LCMS Youth Ministry staff
  • Toxic Charity in International Mission — Rev. Daniel McMiller
  • Podcasting and Digital Media — KFUO Radio staff
  • Church Worker Health Care — TBD

‘Tabletop’ discussions

You are also invited to sit at the table with these ministry leaders to discuss questions and opportunities in these areas of ministry:

  • The LCMS with Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison
  • Partnering with Lutheran Women in Mission with Debbie Larson, LWML president
  • Missions in the LCMS with Rev. Kevin Robson, LCMS chief mission officer
  • Office of the Secretary with Rev. Dr. John Sias
  • Pastoral Education with Rev. Dr. James Baneck
  • International Mission with Rev. Daniel McMiller
  • National Mission with Rev. Robert Zagore
  • Funding the Mission with Mark Hofman, executive director of LCMS Mission Advancement
  • Church Music with Rev. Dr. Jon Vieker
  • Parish Communication Strategies with Deaconess Pamela Nielsen
  • Making Disciples for Life Resource Center with Rev. Dr. Mark Wood
  • Lutheran Schools with Dr. Rebecca Schmidt
  • Church Planting with Rev. Dr. Steven Schave
  • Evangelism with Rev. Dr. Mark Wood
  • LCMS Grant Opportunities with Deaconess Maryann Hayter, manager of grants administration
  • Recruitment and marketing for schools with facilitator TBD
  • Rural & Small Town Mission with Rev. Todd Kollbaum, director of LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission and pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church, Madison, Neb.
  • Expanding Ministry with Recognized Service Organizations with Deaconess Dorothy Krans
  • Volunteer Recruitment and Management with Deaconess Cara Patton, coordinator for LCMS Recognized Service Organizations, and Maureen Lenz, manager of LCMS Volunteer Connection
  • Deaconess Ministry with facilitator TBD
  • Congregational Revitalization with Rev. Dr. Mark Wood
  • Stewardship with Rev. Heath Curtis
  • Specialized Pastoral Ministry with Rev. David Ficken, disaster response coordinator with LCMS Specialized Ministry
  • Effective Parish Websites with Rudy Blank, director of LCMS Web Services, and Dr. Kevin Armbrust, director of Editorial for LCMS Communications
  • Youth Ministry with Rev. Mark Kiessling, director of LCMS Youth Ministry
  • Campus Ministry with Rev. Marcus Zill
  • Ministry Legal Matters with facilitator TBD
  • Connecting Rural and Urban Congregations with Rev. Todd Kollbaum and Rev. Dr. Steven Schave
  • LCMS Ethnic Ministries with Rev. Dr. Roosevelt Gray Jr.
  • Disaster Response with Rev. Dr. Ross Johnson, director of LCMS Disaster Response
  • Disaster Response Training with the LCMS Disaster Response staff
  • Worship with facilitator TBD
  • Urban & Inner-City Mission with Rev. Dr. Steven Schave
  • Social Media for the Parish with Peter Slayton, manager of social media for LCMS Communications

Register online


January 9, 2020
January 11, 2020
Event Category:


The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod


International Center: St. Louis
1333 S. Kirkwood Road
St Louis, MO 63122 United States
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