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Lutherans ENGAGE the WORLD March – April 2014, Vol. 2, Issue 4


ENGAGE the WORLD March – April 2014

vol. 2 no. 4


12 2  6 

Loving Those Who Serve

Mercy Moment

12 16

Emotional and Spiritual Healing for Hurting Church Workers

An Ounce of Prevention


Engaging the Church in the work of witness and mercy across the globe in our life together. Lutherans EngagE the World is published bi-monthly by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. © 2014 The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Reproduction for parish use does not require permission. Such reproductions, however, should credit Lutherans EngagE the World as a source. Print editions are sent to LCMS donors, rostered workers and missionaries. An online version is available ( To receive the print edition, we invite you to make a financial gift for LCMS global witness and mercy work. Unless otherwise noted, all photos are property of the LCMS. 1-888-THE LCMS (843-5267)

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



I church workers.

I love church workers!

15 3 8 9 10 15 19

DOXOLOGY Strengthens Pastoral Care

Shaping New Shepherds

10 Questions

Nurturing Our Church Workers and Helping Them Grow

Armed with the Word of God

Serving Those Who Serve the Church to the Glory of God



Funding the Global Mission

We make mistakes. We owe our readers an apology for a highlighted quote in our last issue, The Moment: Mission. The quote appeared to downplay the good work of Peace Corps volunteers. Neither the missionary who said it nor our editors intended to cause offense, but we did. Please forgive us. We thank God for those who give their lives in service to their neighbors, in the short or the long term, in the Peace Corps or in other organizations. To those of you who pointed this out, thank you. Your feedback is important to us, and we are grateful for it! S TA F F Mark D. Hofman David L. Strand Pamela J. Nielsen Erica Schwan Melanie Ave Megan K. Mertz Erik M. Lunsford Carolyn A. Niehoff Chrissy A. Thomas

executive director, mission advancement executive director, communications executive editor manager of design services staff writer staff writer staff photojournalist/editor designer designer

My first memory of any church worker dates back to the mid-1960s. Our family had moved near St. Mark Lutheran Church and School in Kaneohe, Hawaii, and I was blessed to attend kindergarten and first grade there. Through the faithful and joyful service of the pastor and his wife, my teacher, God planted the dream to become a church worker. That dream remained and was nurtured by other pastors and church workers until I enrolled in Concordia University Chicago’s new deaconess program in the fall of 1980. Now, after almost 30 years as an LCMS deaconess, I continue to thank God for Pastor Milton Gundermann and his wife, JoAnn, and the many other church workers whom God used to nurture my faith and shape my life. They taught me eternal truths for which I will be eternally grateful. What church workers made an impression on your life? Perhaps it was a teacher, a DCE or the pastor who confirmed you. Though my memory would disagree, I am aware that none of the church workers in my life was perfect; each one of them struggled with sin, death and the assaults of the devil. Life led in the service of the Lord is no ticket to paradise! When was the last time you prayed for your pastor? When was the last time you told your child’s teacher thank you? What about the parish musician — have you ever given thought to the years of study and practice that went into his or hers seemingly effortless run through the worship liturgy and hymns week after week? The nurture and care of LCMS church workers is one of our Synod’s six mission priorities. This issue of Lutherans Engage the World explores how we as a Synod care for and support our workers in body and soul. I hope that when you’re done reading this issue, you’ll get on your knees, pray for and then go thank your pastor, teacher, DCE or other church workers! In Christ, Pamela J. Nielsen Associate Executive Director, LCMS Communications

E d i t o r i a l Off i c e 314-996-1215 1333 S. Kirkwood Road St. Louis, MO 63122-7295

Cover image: Pre-K teacher Karen Kellar helps her students paint at Holy Cross Lutheran Church and School in Collinsville, Ill. Photo: LCMS Communications/Erik M. Lunsford


Loving Those Who Serve by Rev. Bart Day


In the past, several groups have gathered to discuss promoting and nurturing our workers and the issues that surround that work. This means asking hard questions and facing difficult challenges. The truth is that many of our fulltime workers are hurting. These hurts come from many places, but in the end, they are suffering along with the entire Church. If one part of the body suffers, we all suffer. If we hope to revitalize the church, it must begin with those men and women who have given their lives to it. The national mission staff cannot take up this task alone. The entire Synod must come together in love and support of our workers. That is already happening through partnerships with other Synod entities and Recognized

Service Organizations (RSOs). The Synod’s Office of National Mission continues to grant financial support to three key partners in this work: DOXOLOGY, Grace Place and Shepherd’s Canyon Retreat. These unique RSOs play a major part in supporting LCMS workers. All three have been challenged by the Office of National Mission to develop long-range plans that can more broadly address the needs of our workers. They are doing just that. Another partner is Concordia Plan Services (CPS), which offers a number of programs through the Employee

Fourth-grade teacher Alyssa Teschendorf works with a student at Holy Cross Lutheran Church and School in Collinsville, Ill.

Assistance Program. CPS is looking to enhance and refresh that program. The Synod also remains committed to the Soldiers and Veterans of the Cross programs, which offer financial support for active and retired workers. While our national mission staff work to provide more resources to improve the health and wellness of our workers, it is key that our churches and schools also embrace their responsibility to act in love and mercy toward those they have called to serve. Care for your workers. Love them. Support them. Share in their joys. Join in their sadness.

Offer them opportunities of respite. Support them in getting the help they need. Together, we live this mission priority for the Church and the world. Healthy workers will, with the Lord’s blessing, reap a great harvest. The Rev. Bart Day is the executive director of the LCMS Office of National Mission.

photoS: LCMS Communications/Erik M. Lunsford

n the Synod’s national mission work, we specifically address the mission priorities of the LCMS. But none is as equally significant and challenging as “promoting and nurturing the spiritual, emotional and physical well-being of pastors and professional church workers.” The health and wellness of our workers is critical in our life together. Our national mission work is committed to creating a “church worker first” culture. But what does that look like, and how did we get to where we are today?

Deaconess Kelly Hardt of Holy Cross Lutheran Church and School in Collinsville, Ill., visits with Sue Fiala at a retirement community in Collinsville.


March–April 2014


DOXOLOGY Strengthens Pastoral Care photoS: LCMS Communications/Erik M. Lunsford

by Erik M. Lunsford


The Rev. Dr. Lucas Woodford sings during evening prayer at the DOXOLOGY Encore event on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Springfield, Ill. Next to Woodford on the left is the Rev. Dr. Harold Senkbeil, executive director for spiritual care at DOXOLOGY.

s daylight faded on a chilly February Friday evening, about 60 people filled a room at the Chiara Center in Springfield, Ill. The group gathered as part of DOXOLOGY, The Lutheran Center for Spiritual Care and Counsel.

After short pleasantries, Dr. Beverly Yahnke, executive director for Christian counseling at DOXOLOGY and chairwoman of the Department of Social Sciences and psychology professor at Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon, Wis., rang a large cowbell. The sound moved slowly in the room, ushering everyone to their seats. It’s not the first time the bell has been rung, and it won’t be the last. In the six years since DOXOLOGY was founded,

about 700 pastors have been served at the center that provides 16 days of intensive study throughout a yearlong program aimed at refreshing and renewing pastors, spouses and lay leaders. In December 1998, a group of counselors, pastors and theologians met at Elm Grove Evangelical Lutheran Church in Elm Grove, Wis. It was the beginning of four years of collaborative consultations exploring the “collected wisdom of biblical, historical and pastoral theology regarding

the nature of the soul and its cure in the context of the insights of contemporary Christian psychology,” according to a DOXOLOGY history document. The Rev. Dr. Harold Senkbeil, executive director for spiritual care at DOXOLOGY, said pastors in the early church were the “spiritual physicians.” They diagnosed and treated afflictions in their flock, relying on the tools of the Gospel and Sacraments to relieve the sickness of a broken world. “This is what we need in our mission today as we

March–April 2014


bring refugees from our broken world into Christ’s Church.” It was along these same lines that DOXOLOGY was created. “In many ways, DOXOLOGY is nothing new, but therein lies its great strength, because it brings a body of knowledge that belongs to the heritage of pastoral care into the contemporary scene,” Senkbeil said. In 2006, DOXOLOGY was formed as a nonprofit organization and granted Recognized Service Organization status with the LCMS. By 2008, DOXOLOGY began its first sessions. DOXOLOGY, which takes its name from a hymn used to praise God, brings pastors and their spouses and lay leaders for three gatherings over a year’s time. The first meeting, called “The 4

Gathering,” focuses on renewal for pastors. The second part, “The Encore,” equips pastors and their lay leaders with people skills for the parish. The third and final part, “The Reunion,” brings pastors and their spouses together. On a recent Friday, participants gathered for the second aspect of DOXOLOGY’s program, the Encore. In the audience was the Rev. Timothy Mueller of St. John’s Lutheran Church in New Minden, Ill., and St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Covington, Ill. His visit to DOXOLOGY was punctuated by the nearly two-dozen tornadoes that plowed through Illinois in November 2013, killing a total of seven people and severely damaging his church in New Minden. He has toiled through months of rebuilding.

March–April 2014

photo: Matthew Bierman

The Rev. Timothy Mueller of St. John’s Lutheran Church in New Minden, Ill., listens to a response for his question during a DOXOLOGY Encore discussion.

The Rev. Timothy Mueller’s church in New Minden, St. John’s Lutheran Church, was damaged in November 2013, when nearly two dozen tornadoes plowed through Illinois.

Mueller’s congregations sent him to DOXOLOGY as a gift for his 25 years of service. “It’s great,” said Mueller, “because for one thing, it’s a place … where I don’t have to use the ‘T’ word, the tornado. “It’s nice to step back from that and retreat so to speak and get away and be refreshed.” The schedule at DOXOLOGY is packed with activities.

The Rev. Dr. Harold Senkbeil, executive director for spiritual care at DOXOLOGY, leads a discussion at the DOXOLOGY Encore event.

“In many ways, DOXOLOGY is nothing new, but therein lies its great strength, because it brings a body of knowledge that belongs to the heritage of pastoral care into the contemporary scene." — Rev. Dr. Harold Senkbeil

“It’s not a restful time where you just lollygag around,” Mueller said. “I like to say at DOXOLOGY I’ve heard not always what I want to hear, but always what I need to hear. On some things we need to challenge and examine ourselves in our need to grow.” In an online video, LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, who praised DOXOLOGY, said, “When we have laborers in the field, the best thing to do is to keep them in the field and make them even better laborers.” It’s a sentiment both Senkbeil and Yahnke share. Worker wellness, in fact, is a priority of the LCMS. Senkbeil said DOXOLOGY plays a key role in making sure pastors are “well cared for.”

“When pastors are better pastors and more confident in pastoral work, then congregations are benefited and more able to advance the mission of the church,” he said. “So it’s not looking inward, but instead looking outward.” Late in the evening, the group gathered for evening prayer. The Rev. Dr. Lucas Woodford, senior pastor at Zion Lutheran Church in Mayer, Minn., stood next to Senkbeil and sang during worship time. “DOXOLOGY is infatuated with the care of souls, especially pastors,” Woodford said. “It has been a powerful encourager to me amid the challenges of pastoral ministry and an invaluable tool in making me a better pastor, husband and father.”

DOXOLOGY is now being asked to expand its reach internationally. Senkbeil and Yahnke recently returned from South Africa. They have already ventured out to Australia and plan to work in the Baltics. As he thinks back on the history of DOXOLOGY, Senkbeil said he’s “deeply humbled and deeply grateful. “It’s an amazing thing to see what God is doing through this,” Senkbeil said. God is “having a hand in strengthening the soldiers of the cross to serve Christ’s flock. It’s very gratifying work.”

Erik M. Lunsford is the staff photojournalist and an editor for LCMS Communications. „ Learn more: March–April 2014



Mercy Moment

Helping Church Workers


by Melanie Ave


hen the Rev. Russ Sommerfeld heard about the struggling pastor, he wanted to help. The pastor was suffering from depression so severe that he had to leave his called position. So the LCMS Nebraska District president reached out to the LCMS’ Soldiers of the Cross, a program that provides financial support for the spiritual and physical wellbeing of current church workers. The LCMS Nebraska District and Soldiers of the Cross agreed to help the pastor maintain his health insurance for nine months so he could receive the treatment he needed.

Sommerfeld said the assistance came at the right time and helped the pastor through a difficult period. “He’s working his way back,” Sommerfeld said of the pastor. “He’s serving a vacancy. He’s teaching a class. I expect him to fully recover.” Soldiers of the Cross and Veterans of the Cross are two LCMS mercy programs that help faithful pastors, teachers and other church workers in financial crisis. Soldiers of the Cross, in partnership with the worker’s district, provides transitional or emergency financial assistance and pastoral

care to current church workers affected by health problems, employment interruptions and other emergencies. Veterans of the Cross supplements low or inadequate pensions of retired church workers or their widowed spouses to help them afford the cost of necessities such as medication, food and utility bills. Veterans of the Cross is funded by the LCMS Office of National Mission and is administered by Concordia Plan Services. In 2013, 98 Soldiers of the Cross grants were given. Veterans of the Cross assists about 50 people each year.

photos: Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock, istockphoto/Thinkstock

“We want to invest in the well-being of our church workers and to lighten their load.” – Rev. Dr. Carlos Hernandez, director of LCMS Church and Community Engagement


March–April 2014

“We want to invest in the well-being of our church workers and to lighten their load,” said the Rev. Dr. Carlos Hernandez, director of LCMS Church and Community Engagement, who receives requests and facilitates the granting process. “We want to relieve their worries about how to feed their families, provide them housing or buy their medications.” Sometimes Soldiers of the Cross funds are granted to retirees or their widows until their Veterans of the Cross applications are processed by Concordia Plan Services, typically a three-to-four-month process. The average assistance provided through Soldiers of the Cross is between $1,000 to $1,500 and is meant as a one-time stipend, although in 2013, the average amount distributed was $2,169. The assistance is given through districts, which match the grants given to workers on a 50-50 basis. Veterans of the Cross stipends are approved annually and continue as long as need is demonstrated. The average monthly support is between $500 and $1,000. “If it weren’t for Veterans of the Cross, a lot of our older pastors would have to keep working or rely on public assistance,” Hernandez said. For both programs, the number of requests for help has increased in recent years because of tough economic times, Hernandez said. The incomes of church

workers have been stretched by illness, layoffs and other financial crises. A few years ago, Hernandez said he received three to four requests for help a month. Now, he said, it is common to receive three to four requests per week. One LCMS deaconess, who was laid off from the hospital where she worked,

“Thank God for the Soldiers of the Cross ministry and the assistance I applied for and received when I most needed it." received help with her health coverage. Without health insurance, she could not afford her prescribed medications and, therefore, her health was at risk.

“Thank God for the Soldiers of the Cross ministry and the assistance I applied for and received when I most needed it,” she wrote. Another worker, a pastor, received help after his house caught on fire. His family was left homeless. “Soldiers of the Cross, partnering with my district, responded with amazing quickness,” the pastor wrote. Another retired pastor and his wife, who were about to be evicted from their rental home, needed help with food. An emergency Soldiers of the Cross grant was approved the very day it was requested, and it was delivered by the district president. Sommerfeld said he often hears from church workers who are saddled with college loans, living check-to-check, when a medical emergency arises. Some workers are in between calls when they discover they need help. “What I like about … working with these funds,” Sommerfeld said, “is we can really pay attention to the human needs of these workers.” Melanie Ave is staff writer and social media coordinator for LCMS Communications. Learn or give: „Soldiers of the Cross: „Veterans of the Cross:

March–April 2014



New Shepherds

For that reason, there’s no better time to begin caring for pastors than in the first three years after ordination, said the Rev. Dr. Glen Thomas, executive director of Pastoral Education for the LCMS. To help ease the transition from seminary to parish, our Lord cares for His Church and her pastors in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod through a program called Post-Seminary Applied Learning and Support (PALS). “I think PALS is one of the best ideas our church body has had in recent decades,” Thomas said. “Our seminaries provide excellent pastoral formation, but new pastors often face circumstances they did not envision while in seminary. “PALS offers high-caliber continuing education resources and a strong support community at just the right point in time


for each new pastor and his wife.” In the 1990s, the Synod recognized the need to provide continuing education and support for new pastors and their wives during the earliest years of parish life. Since its inception in 1998, PALS has assisted hundreds of new pastors and their wives with the critical transition from seminary to congregation. The Rev. Ryan Ogrodowicz, pastor at Victory in Christ Lutheran Church in Newark, Texas, has been involved in the PALS program since he was ordained and installed in August 2011. “PALS provides an atmosphere allowing new pastors to learn from one another,” Ogrodowicz said. The PALS program operates as a partnership between LCMS districts and the Synod, with each district offering an experienced PALS facilitating pastor that coordinates group meetings three to four times per year. Each group follows its own format, but most choose to include a videobased curriculum that is designed by the Synod in response to the expressed needs of pastors and their wives. PALS groups have the freedom to explore the topics and subjects that are most of interest to them. Crisis counseling, preaching and leadership top the list. PALS meetings begin with the Divine Service. “Following this we retreat as a group, pastors and wives, to a room where we pray for one another,” Ogrodowicz said. “At some point the guys and girls split, with the wives attending their own Bible study, prayer and fellowship, while the guys spend time on an exegetical study from within the group.”

March–April 2014

nform “The most valuable aspect of the PALS program during my experience is the ongoing theological conversation … and not just sharpening our understanding of sound doctrine and our Lutheran confession, but also learning to apply those things in the face of the many difficult and diverse situations in parish ministry,” added Ogrodowicz. “There are times when new pastors face obstacles without easy answers. Being able to discuss these issues with others and seek godly solutions is, in my opinion, the hallmark of PALS.” Sometimes, transitioning into the parish presents just as many obstacles for wives as for new pastors. “Hanging around the wives of other pastors has provided the much-needed fellowship that is difficult to get as a stayat-home mom,” said Ogrodowicz’s wife, Audra. “In addition to this, it has helped tremendously to hear that the challenges I face in this role are not only shared by other wives, but that we don’t have to face them alone.” While the study and curriculum are integral parts of the PALS experience, the opportunity for pastors to meet together as brothers in the ministry is among the most valuable reasons to participate. “PALS has provided a network of fellow pastors that I probably would not have met,” noted Ogrodowicz. “At my last meeting, our faithful facilitator said, ‘This is iron sharpening iron.’ I couldn’t agree more. “The transition would be challenging without a network of guys basically in the same boat as you are. … You’re not alone.” Jeni Miller is a deaconess, freelance writer and pastor’s wife in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Photo: Robert MoEdt


e’s studied church history. Passed his vicarage with flying colors. Even aced his final exam on the Book of Revelation. But there’s no experience for a new pastor that can shape him as fiercely and fully as those first few years in the parish.

Photo: Leslie Ogrodowicz

by Jeni Miller

10 Questions


w i t h D r . B e v e r l y Ya h n k e


or more than two decades, Dr. Beverly Yahnke, a licensed clinical psychologist, has helped church workers cope with the struggles and stresses they encounter as they serve the Lord. Currently, Yahnke serves as DOXOLOGY’s executive director for Christian counseling and as a department chair and professor at Concordia University Wisconsin (CUW), Mequon, Wis.

1. Were you a product of Lutheran education?

I began my journey in Christian education with two undergraduate years at Concordia (the first Milwaukee campus) and my final undergraduate years at Concordia Senior College (the current site of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne). It was transformational; it provided precisely the kind of spiritual formation upon which mature faith and service builds.

2. How did you get into psychology?

My master’s degree from Purdue University was in Rhetoric and Communication. Although that training continues to serve me well, I wanted to take on the world of clinical inquiry. I was thoroughly engaged with understanding the challenge of people who were struggling with all matters of personal mayhem. It occurred to me that the doctorate would allow me to teach, to do clinical work, to provide public education, to write, to research and perhaps, by God’s grace, to actually be of assistance to people with some difficult needs.

3. W hat trends did you see in your private practice in terms of church workers who came to you for help?

5. Is there one message you would like to share with the church about caring for workers?

Love your pastors. Love your teachers, DCEs, deaconesses, DCOs and every other church worker whom God has given you. Pray for them, thank God for them, ensure that you are paying them a living wage, encourage them and invite them into your lives to share your joys and sorrows! … Read the call document you offered your worker … . In what ways has your congregation honored those promises recently?

6. W hat would you say to church workers who are struggling in their service?

Please don’t struggle alone. Please don’t imagine that simply enduring your struggle and remaining silent will result in moving through and beyond any difficulty. I’ve always believed that when one is struggling in service, it is a peculiar kind of idolatry that prompts any of us to say, “I can handle this myself; I don’t need anyone’s assistance.”

7. In the successful partnership between pastor and psychologist, what does each of you bring to the table?

Dr. [Harold] Senkbeil … has provided spiritual care for many hundreds of parishioners and has acquired the reputation for being a pastor to pastors. My clinical work has allowed me to serve many hundreds of church workers who have been in some sort of mental, emotional or professional pain. We’ve been blessed to create a unique professional team providing an engaging amalgam of theology and psychology.

I named my clinical practice “Christian Counseling Services” hoping to invite those who would like to bring the resources of their faith with them as they began clinical care. The most common diagnoses for the church workers I treated included depression and anxiety. These servants often felt guilty about having such diagnoses.

8. W hat is your role at CUW and how does that dovetail

Psychological healing requires careful assessment and an opportunity to examine one’s history, cognitions, patterns of behaviors and attitudes. Yet when people have been wounded, the damage is often spiritual as well. We are, after all, spiritual beings. As a psychologist, I see Christian hope as being one of the most powerful gifts that I could offer any broken soul.

9. W hat sense of the future do you get from teaching college

4. How does faith intersect with psychology?

photo: LCMS Communications/Erik M. Lunsford

by Pamela J. Nielsen


I currently serve as department chair of Social Sciences and professor of Psychology at CUW. I love to teach; it is positively exhilarating! Whether I’m talking with pastors or lay leaders or students, I am so fortunate to be able to do what I do, and I’m blessed to work with some pretty remarkable people.


They are hopeful young people, testing their opinions in the classroom and determining how their faith and education will prepare them for the countless contradictions they find in the culture all about them. Our church is raising a new generation of faithful teachers, preachers and lay leaders. Thanks be to God!

10.  W hat is the single greatest joy in your work?

These days, I find incredible joy in working with almost 700 of DOXOLOGY’s pastors, some of whom have said that DOXOLOGY has saved their ministry, their marriage or their life. That is pure joy; God is good, indeed. Pamela J. Nielsen is the associate executive director for LCMS Communications.

Dr. Beverly Yahnke leads a discussion at the DOXOLOGY Encore event in Springfield, Ill., on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014.

March–April 2014




’s Cany 800-783 on -3079 info@Sh epherdsC anyonRe www.Sh epherdsC anyonRe

Commissioned Ministers Retired Commissioned Ministers New Pastors

PALS 800-248-1930

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Active Pastors

ans : 314-956-200rg r e t e V plication @lcms.o dez for ap ernan H . s o l votc Car m c l . www

Retired Pastors Military Chaplains

What is a church worker?

Grace Place 314-842-3077

A “ R O S T E R E D ” C H U R C H W O R K E R is one who has graduated from an authorized LCMS institution or has been colloquized and has satisfactorily completed an approved educational program of the Synod for the ordained minister (pastor) or commissioned minister (teacher, director of Christian education, director of Christian outreach, deaconess, director of family life ministry, director of parish music, certified lay minister, parish assistant). Rostered church workers must have been declared qualified for a first call; recommended by the faculty of one of the seminaries, colleges or universities of the Synod; and initially assigned by the Council of Presidents to “first calls.” For more information, review sections 2.6−2.9 of the 2013 Handbook of the Synod.


March–April 2014


,e www s .lcm chaps@ xt. 1337 lc /arm edfo rces

Get away and recharge in the setting that is specific to your needs. Annually, LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces conducts three regional training conferences for the active duty and mobilized Reserve/National Guard chaplains of the LCMS. Training focuses on improving the chaplains’ ministry skills.

Weeklong wellness retreats for LCMS church workers and spouses; Congregational Wellness Weekends for church staff and lay leaders; and Ministry Team Wellness Workshops for church, school or organization staff. An innovative program of advanced study retreats to strengthen pastors for the task of faithfully shepherding the souls entrusted to their care. This program provides pastors with a unique study and renewal experience, rooted in spiritual care and informed by contemporary Christian psychology.

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Ministry to the Armed Forces


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Concordia Plan Services

@lcm for app rnandez e tc H . s lo r Ca m lc . w ww

©2014 LCMS

Cross e h t f o 05 s Soldierlication:

Shepherd’s Canyon provides a weeklong confidential counseling retreat to full-time Lutheran church workers who are in the midst of burnout, stress, depression, compassion fatigue, conflicts of all kinds and, sometimes, moral failures. Clients receive 30 hours of individual, couple and group counseling.

March–April 2014


Emotional and Spiritual Healing


for Hurting Church Workers by Melanie Ave

For about four years, the pastor, who is in his 60s, says he allowed a church leader to verbally, spiritually and emotionally abuse him. The man did not appreciate the pastor’s servant-style leadership. It got so bad, the pastor says, he dreaded Sunday mornings, knowing he would have to face the man and his family. His faith in Jesus wavered.

The stress played out in the pastor’s health. He ended up hospitalized three times in two years. He thought about suicide. His doctor increased his antidepressant dosage and prescribed a threemonth rest. “I felt so stuck, helpless and hopeless,” says the pastor, whose name is being withheld to protect his privacy.

photos: Courtesy of Shepherd’s Canyon Retreat


he pastor felt like David facing Goliath.

Shepherd’s Canyon Retreat founder Dave Anderson speaks with a group of visitors about the center’s ministry.


March–April 2014

And then, just as the situation peaked, an email landed in his inbox. It was from Dave Anderson, founder of Shepherd’s Canyon Retreat, inviting him to the retreat center. It was a mass message, sent to LCMS pastors nationwide. But to the pastor it was “the hand of God.”

‘A Dirty Little Secret’ The stresses of ministry and church work, while seldom discussed, are quite common, says Anderson, the son of a Lutheran pastor who had been driven from a church when Anderson was a ninth-grader. It was the first time Anderson ever saw his father cry. According to H.B. London Jr. and Dr. Neil B. Wiseman’s book, Pastors at Greater Risk, pastors are working harder in a world that is increasingly corrupt. “This struggle takes a terrible toll, as pastors wrestle with crammed calendars, hectic homes, splintered dreams, starved intimacy and shriveled purpose,” they write. “Some quit in utter hopelessness.” Anderson says statistics indicate that 20 percent of pastors are in crisis. He says God opened the door for a ministry that would help hurting pastors and other professional church workers, something dear to his heart. In January 2009, he founded Shepherd’s Canyon Retreat, a place for church workers in need of emotional and spiritual healing in a therapeutic setting. A previous attempt at a similar ministry was put on hold. Retreats were held at three centers in Wisconsin, Florida and Arizona until 2012, when retreats began at the ministry’s new home base, Standing Stones in Wickenburg, Ariz. Retreats are now held in a peaceful setting in the high desert. The center features a swimming pool, spa, outdoor chapel and prayer garden. With loans from the Lutheran Church Extension Fund, Shepherd’s Canyon is in the midst of a capital campaign to purchase Standing Stones and build new accommodations. Shepherd’s Canyon became a Recognized Service Organization (RSO) of the LCMS in May 2013, a few months before the LCMS convention adopted

nurturing church workers as one of the Synod’s six chief mission priorities. The Rev. Bart Day, executive director of the LCMS Office of National Mission, says now is the time for the church to stand up and recognize that many of its workers are hurting and needing care. The LCMS contributed $62,350 to Shepherd’s Canyon in 2013. That amount is a small part of the $850,000 the Synod gives for supplemental funding for worker wellness each year. “The reality is, a lot of church workers fall into a bad place while they’re trying to fix and help everybody else,” Day says. “They’re actually allowing their own life to crumble apart. “It is a dirty little secret, there’s no doubt about that,” he says. “We have church workers that are hurt and harmed needing help. They’re addicts, whether that’s pornography, alcohol or drugs. We have domestic violence inside church worker homes. “If we are going to be serious about having healthy congregations and healthy schools, until the workers are healthy, none of the rest of it is going to come along. Workers that are not being taken care of can destroy congregations and schools. You hate to say it, but it’s true.”

‘A Place for the Broken’ Shepherd’s Canyon provides weeklong confidential counseling retreats to fulltime Lutheran church workers (and those from other denominations) in the midst of burnout, stress, depression, compassion fatigue, conflicts of all kinds and, sometimes, moral failures. More than 200 people have attended 33 retreats at Shepherd’s Canyon since the center’s founding. Church workers have come from about 30 states, including Oregon, Wisconsin, Maryland, Florida and Oklahoma. Pastors, teachers, directors of Christian education, deaconesses, chaplains, missionaries and music ministers have spent time at Shepherd’s Canyon. “Three pastors that have come to our retreats were on the brink of taking their own lives,” says Anderson, a church musician who for years has held concerts in churches nationwide with his wife. “I know a couple of dramatic stories, including one who had even planned how he was going to do it.” Spouses are encouraged to attend and be a part of the retreat. Dr. Patti Brunold, a pastor’s wife and psychologist, says spouses need as much


amouflage fills my life I am not what I appear to be Most see me as “spiritual” and “in Christ” But I know I am “carnal” and “out of the Light” Oh, can I fool ’em or what. My heart is empty, drained and void Chaos, before creation, darkness and dry I am angry, hateful and seeking revenge But people see me as loving, patient and kind … Oh, can I fool ’em or what. … I am in a pit, a hole, a canyon, I am lost. I am worth nothing and good for nothing. I want out so badly Poem written by an LCMS Lord, have mercy on this sinner!

pastor a few months before he attended Shepherd’s Canyon Retreat

March–April 2014


encouragement as the workers themselves. “When a pastor is having trouble in his church, it can affect the marriage,” says Brunold, who has helped clients at more than 20 retreats in the last four years. “Whether we like it or not, we are part of the ministry. We hear the comments. “We hear our husbands come home depressed or frustrated.” Brunold says many pastors come to the retreats with a lot of hurt and little self-esteem. “There’s a sense with a lot of them that nobody loves them anymore, that God doesn’t love them anymore,” she says. “One of the things we do is love on them a lot.” A maximum of eight people attend any given retreat. They receive 30 hours of individual, couple and group counseling. Time also is provided for reflection, reading, resting and exercise. A chaplain is available at all retreats. Eight retreats have been scheduled for 2014. Attendance, Anderson says, is confidential unless the client chooses to let others know. Brunold says the retreats integrate the spiritual with the psychological. “You can have the psychology but I believe God does the healing,” says Brunold, who has a private practice in Whittier, Calif. “God meets us there every time.” Another pastor, whose name also is being withheld, went to Shepherd’s Canyon while he was in the midst of being driven from his congregation by a small group of people. He suffered panic attacks. Even though he ended up leaving the congregation, the pastor of 17 years says he benefited greatly from the retreat. “Spending several hours during the week with a counselor one-on-one was the highlight of the week for me,” he says. “These sessions provided a safe place for me to talk and to work with and get input from a trained counselor.” The pastor — now serving in a “wonderful parish” — says he was blessed by the Gospel-centered devotions and the other pastors who were there. “It was good to know that I wasn’t the only one hurting,” he says. He called Shepherd’s Canyon “a place for the broken to come and be healed.”


A third pastor, whose name also is being withheld, says he attended Shepherd’s Canyon after feeling burned out after a difficult first call, followed by an exhausting two years leading a very active congregation of about 300. He served as the congregation’s sole pastor after the senior pastor stepped down. “I hit the wall,” he says, describing the marital tension, fatigue and depression he endured. “I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to continue in the ministry.” Some people who have attended Shepherd’s Canyon describe it as a year’s worth of counseling in a week, to which the pastor agrees. The pastor says the retreat was not a “magic cure” for him and his wife, but it “put some fresh light and perspective on situations. It gave us the opportunity to come back and press on.” The cost to attend Shepherd’s Canyon is $3,000 per couple or $2,500 per individual. Anderson says scholarships are available. The cost includes counseling, meals and accommodations. When they return home, church workers are encouraged to stay in touch with their counselors, get into counseling, become involved in their communities and make friends. “The church has a reputation of shooting the wounded,” Anderson says. “What our ministry wants to do is love wounded people.”

At the Foot of the Cross After getting the Shepherd’s Canyon email from Anderson, the pastor who felt like David facing Goliath went to his board of elders and confessed to them that he was sick and needed a break. He told them

March–April 2014

he and his wife wanted to attend the retreat center, which he offered to pay for out of his own pocket. “Without any discussion they said, ‘Yeah, we’ll pay for it. Don’t worry about it,’” he recalls. “I just had all sorts of prayerful hopes.” While at the retreat, the pastor says he attended Bible studies, group talks and counseling sessions. He says his concerns were heard, he was affirmed by and guided “with very solid biblical wisdom. All of this was God’s doing.” When he returned home, the counselor helped him have the strength to meet with the man in his congregation — the Goliath in his life — and “speak the truth in love,” the pastor says. The man eventually left the church. The pastor calls it a sad situation, one in which he feels only forgiveness. He is still hoping for reconciliation. He compares the strength he found through Shepherd’s Canyon to the Scripture passage where Aaron holds up Moses’ weakened arms. “I could not do it on my own,” the pastor says. “They gave me lots of tools to deal with this situation. The Lord worked through Shepherd’s Canyon to help bring this to a very peaceful, final resolution.” He encourages other pastors who are struggling to seek help. “Even Jesus got away to rest,” he says. “As pastors, we especially need that.” At the end of retreats at Shepherd’s Canyon, church workers are encouraged to write their burdens on river rocks in a symbolic release of the pain they are suffering. And instead of throwing the rocks, they are asked to place them in the prayer garden, at the foot of a cross. „ Learn more:

An exterior view of the Standing Stones Retreat Center in Wickenburg, Ariz., home of Shepherd’s Canyon Retreat.


with the

Word of God by Megan K. Mertz

photo: LCMS


o one comes back from a war zone the same.” So says Chaplain Mark Schreiber, director of LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces (MAF). That’s why MAF is so important. “Because of the last 12 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the most difficult situation for our chaplains is being deployed to a war zone,” he said. “The second most difficult situation is being deployed again to a war zone. “A combat zone changes the way you look at life. It changes your feelings and attitude toward life.” To support the Synod’s 170 active, Reserve and National Guard chaplains who enter combat zones armed only with the Word of God, MAF provides training, support during crises and opportunities for continuing education. MAF also gathers chaplains at three pastoral conferences every year on the East Coast, West Coast, in Germany and, on occasion, in Japan. Like 80 percent of all LCMS chaplains, Chaplain John Sedwick of the 130th Engineer Brigade is serving his second deployment. Between 2006 and 2007, he spent 12 months in Kuwait. Now he is serving another six or seven months in Afghanistan. At one point during his current deployment, Sedwick supervised six battalion chaplains and their enlisted chaplain assistants, who were serving 3,500 soldiers.

Sedwick attended a MAF conference in Washington state in 2011, which he says helped him address some tough issues. “We had the opportunity to speak about troubling issues facing military chaplains — including the clear and present danger that pornography causes to military families,” Sedwick said. Other issues discussed at the conference included posttraumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, suicide and readjustment to normal life after deployment. But, he said, he was most impressed that LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison attended and “thanked us for our service.” MAF also sent Spanish hymnals and CDs from Concordia Publishing House to Sedwick during his current deployment. At a time when money for new purchases was scarce, MAF provided and shipped the necessary resources so that Sedwick could

offer the Divine Service in Spanish every week to the men and women in the camp. “The unique thing about serving as an LCMS chaplain in the Army is that I get the privilege to preach every week,” he said. “I approach each counseling session with the training [and] framework of Law and Gospel.” Since the Civil War, LCMS pastors have served their country as military chaplains. The Synod’s Ministry to the Armed Forces supports and serves military chaplains, their families and the veteran population. MAF also recruits, interviews and endorses all LCMS military chaplains and maintains close, pastoral relationships with chaplains after endorsement, offering counsel, training and advice throughout their entire careers. „ Learn more:

Chaplain John Sedwick leads a Lutheran service for troops stationed in Afghanistan in October 2013. He uses the Armed Forces Devotional Book from CPH, which is distributed to LCMS chaplains by MAF.

March–April 2014



An Ounce of Prevention


xhaustion. Ulcers. Depression. Obesity. Heart disease. Addiction.

Dr. John Eckrich, a physician with 35 years of experience treating LCMS church workers, knows that ministry burnout and chronic stress can take many forms in a person’s life. But over time, the root cause affects the whole person, challenging the joy and longevity of his or her ministry. To combat this, Eckrich held the first Grace Place retreat in 1999 as a way to help church workers achieve balance in their lives and renewed joy in their ministry. Since then, Grace Place Lutheran Wellness Ministries,


a Recognized Service Organization (RSO) of the LCMS, has held retreats around the country for some 7,000 LCMS church workers and their spouses.

A Top Priority “We hear at our retreats from church worker spouses, especially pastors’ wives, about how the family is paying a tremendous price for this ministry lifestyle,” said the Rev. Dr. Darrell Zimmerman, vicepresident and chief program officer of Grace Place. “I think church workers get caught

March–April 2014

Andrew Rosse, a fourth-year student at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, leans toward his wife, Amanda, as they complete a well-being exercise together at the Grace Place St. Louis Seminary Retreat on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, at Pere Marquette Lodge and Conference Center in Grafton, Ill.

up in this over-functioning lifestyle because they are very passionate about what they do. “It’s a calling from the Lord, so they take it very, very seriously,” he continued. But a pastor, deaconess, teacher or other church worker who is suffering often isn’t able to serve to the best of his or her ability. Promoting the spiritual, emotional and physical well-being of pastors and professional church workers is so important that it’s even one of the Synod’s six mission priorities. It’s also the reason

the Synod gives regular grants to Grace Place and other RSOs. Last July at the 2013 LCMS convention, delegates passed Res. 3-11a, “To Support Church Workers,” which, among other things, encourages the establishment of “worker wellness committees” to support the well-being of the congregation’s church workers and their families. Through its “Congregational Wellness Weekends,” Grace Place encourages the creation of similar church worker support teams. The weekend seminars, which the organization started

photo: LCMS Communications/Erik M. Lunsford

by Megan K. Mertz

photo: Courtesy of MICAH GREINER

Striking a Balance Even during his seminary days, the Rev. Micah Greiner, senior pastor of St. Peter Lutheran Church and School in Arlington Heights, Ill., saw the importance of achieving balance and well-being in both his personal life and his ministry. As a student at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, in 2006, Greiner, along with his wife, Sarah, attended a Grace Place retreat for seminary students, where they were introduced to practices that would later serve them in the parish. In 2012, Greiner attended another Grace Place retreat as part of his involvement in the Pastoral Leadership Institute. “It gave me permission, when I was being approached to switch from associate to lead pastor, to say: I will not let this new ministry opportunity come at the cost of my family and my personal wellbeing,” Greiner said. “If you find yourself exhausted and stressed out and working all hours of the day and night, you are putting yourself into an impossible situation that will eventually cause you to collapse.” These experiences spurred him to invite Grace Place to hold a “Congregational Wellness Weekend” at St. Peter in early January. Greiner hopes that the weekend, which about 40 staff members and lay leaders attended, will create a team of people who are excited about effecting positive change in the congregation. St. Peter’s congregational leaders are now considering plans to encourage wellness among all staff members, including adding a fitness room to the facility and adjusting work schedules to accommodate concerns they heard from teachers. “It forced us to say, we have these workers that are a great treasure entrusted to our ministry,” Greiner said. “We should give significant care and concern to their well-being as we plan schedules and ministries.”

offering about three years ago, bring church staff and lay leaders together to learn how they can support wellness initiatives among members and church workers to improve the overall ministry of the congregation. Grace Place also offers “Ministry Team Wellness Workshops,” a program specifically geared for the staff of schools or other organizations. In addition, the organization holds retreats around the world

emotional, relational, vocational and financial well-being. Participants are encouraged to set goals to achieve a healthier, more balanced life, such as losing weight, planning for retirement, managing a chronic condition or becoming a better spouse or parent. The cornerstone of every retreat is at least four intentional “pause points” to be prayerfully in the Word. “We want it to be clear that it is the power of the Holy Spirit leading us on this health We want it to be clear that it is the and healing power of the Holy Spirit leading us on journey,” this health and healing journey.” said Eckrich, — Dr. John Eckrich, president and CEO of Grace Place president and CEO of Grace to encourage and refresh LCMS Place. “It is Christ within us and missionaries. not coming of our own doing.” “Our goal and our mission Grace Place offers about 15 is that the workers of The weeklong retreats for different Lutheran Church—Missouri types of church workers each Synod — pastors, educators, year, in beautiful, relaxing musicians and others — settings around the United would be at their healthiest States. A church worker couple so that they are better able usually can attend one of to meet the needs of the these retreats for less than people who depend on them,” $250 because Grace Place Zimmerman said. underwrites nearly 85 percent of the total cost. Wellness in Every The RSO also helps future Sense of the Word pastors establish healthy habits Through its programs for right from the start by holding church workers, congregations abbreviated retreats for fourthand ministry teams, Grace year students at both LCMS Place teaches about the seminaries before they enter “Lutheran Wellness Wheel” the parish. as a way to address baptismal, “You can certainly treat the spiritual, physical, intellectual, symptoms [of burnout] once


March–April 2014


photoS: LCMS Communications/Erik M. Lunsford

they happen,” Eckrich said, “but the real force of Grace Place is to teach people to manage aspects of their life in a preventive fashion so that they don’t spiral down into difficulties. “In this preventive model, we’re trying to make sure that our church workers live the joy of ministry. Are they looking at the things they have to do as ‘gettas’ or ‘gottas’? That’s the cultural change that we are interested in.”

The Rev. Dr. David Ludwig leads a well-being exercise at the Grace Place retreat for final-year seminary students on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014.

Megan K. Mertz is a staff writer for LCMS Communications. „Learn more:

Andrew Schlund, a concluding M.Div. student at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, chats with his wife, Kelsey, during break time at the recent Grace Place retreat for seminary students.


March–April 2014


Concordia Serving Those Who ServePlan the Church Services to the Glory of God by Dawn Crosno

Additional Programs and Initiatives “I must tip my hat and offer a HUGE thank you for the benefits you provide in the area of behavioral health. That, more than anything else, speaks loudly about how CPS continues to work toward the goal of taking care of the church’s workers in a holistic manner. My family and I cannot thank you enough for such a gesture.” — CPS member CPS offers additional programs like the Employee Assistance Program, a free, professional, confidential service designed to help members and their dependents cope with stress, depression, marital difficulties and a variety of other work, family and life issues. Because CPS also recognizes the challenging and stressful situations faced by pastors and their families throughout their ministry, the Pastoral Support Network was recently introduced. This program, tailored specifically to address the unique needs

of pastors and their families, provides a private, trusted resource so they can receive the support they need when personal and professional challenges infringe on their well-being. To further support the unique needs of those in ministry, CPS sponsors the Ministerial Care Coalition, a partnership with district presidents and their identified advocates. This group provides an avenue for sharing ideas and best practices related to worker well-being and crises in ministry, as well as access to various resources that are available to help with such crises at the local and district level.

partner in ministry — providing peace of mind and security for their workers through an organization that understands their needs, supports the LCMS mission and is dedicated to serving those who serve to the glory of God. As senior communications manager for Concordia Plan Services, Dawn Crosno directs employee benefits communications to 6,000 LCMS employers and 31,000 workers and their families. „ Learn more:

Health and Wellness Initiatives “Thanks to Concordia Plans’ Be Well … Serve Well program, I have been realizing that the way I eat and exercise says something about my faith and about the way I view my body. I am striving every day to be healthier and invite God to aid me in this wellness journey as it is from Him I get my strength.” — CPS member CPS continues to provide resources to support church workers on their journey toward better health through the Be Well … Serve Well health and wellness programs. These programs, available to Concordia Health Plan members, include a 24-hour nurse line, health advisors, an online health assessment, the Healthy Pregnancies Healthy Babies program, a cancer support program and disease-management programs, as well as several lifestylemanagement programs. The Be Well Rewards incentive program provides Concordia Health Plan members (and their employers) with rewards when members take the initiative to perform activities directly related to taking care of themselves, such as healthy eating, being physically active and getting routine preventive screenings and checkups. When an LCMS employer provides benefits through Concordia Plan Services, they are providing more than just coverage; they are walking together with a fellow

The Concordia Plans

“On behalf of all our staff at Trinity Lutheran I would like to say a deep word of appreciation for the excellent service Concordia Plan Services provided us this past year, and we cannot speak highly enough of the excellent service and coverage you provide.” — CPS member Caring for church workers is at the very heart of Concordia Plan Services’ (CPS) mission to support the ministry of the LCMS. For nearly 50 years, CPS has administered the Concordia Plans for congregations, schools, universities and other LCMS organizations across the United States and on mission fields worldwide. Through the Concordia Plans, church workers have a variety of resources and services available to lessen the worry and confusion that might draw focus away from their ministry. The Concordia Plans are there for LCMS church workers, whether it’s during the birth of a baby, an ongoing health condition, an accident or illness, or retirement after a lifetime of service to the Lord. There’s even a health plan option available for seminary students.

March–April 2014

Concordia Health Plan The CHP is an all-inclusive plan, including medical, dental, prescription drug, mental health and vision benefits, as well as health and wellness and hearing discount programs. Plan options offer varying deductible, coinsurance and copay amounts. Plus, as a “grandfathered” health plan under the Affordable Care Act, the benefits remain aligned with LCMS theology and beliefs. Concordia Disability and Survivor Plan The CDSP provides income while workers are disabled and pre-retirement lump-sum death benefits for workers and enrolled dependents. Concordia Retirement Plan The CRP provides workers with stable monthly retirement income benefits and security for workers and spouses. Concordia Retirement Savings Plan The CRSP is a 403(b) tax-deferred savings plan offering workers the opportunity to enhance retirement savings through pre-tax payroll deductions. Complimentary assistance from MetLife Financial Service representatives also is available.



Funding the



Global Mission

Jeremiah 17:8




The global mission and ministry outreach of The Lutheran Church— Missouri Synod

Customized giving options and value-added support

Personalized services to extend your support of The Lutheran Church— Missouri Synod

The impact of the gifts given to the Global Mission Fund is felt worldwide. The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) sends and supports missionaries, responds to disasters, plants churches, feeds the hungry and much more, all in Christ’s name. By God’s grace, your gift to the Global Mission Fund ensures that resources will be available for strategic ministry work at home and around the world.

When you join the Ascending Roots program to support our global mission, you become part of a special circle of caring Christians who:

Global Mission Fund dollars provide the LCMS the opportunity to expand its outreach through national and international mission initiatives.

International Mission

• Missionary placement and support • International disaster response and human care • Establishment and support of international

schools • Liaison to LCMS seminaries, colleges and universities • Ministry to the Armed Forces • Support and encouragement of partner churches

National Mission

• Church planting and revitalization • Domestic disaster response and human care • Evangelism • School ministry and accreditation • Whole-life stewardship resources • Youth ministry • Rural & Small Town Mission 20

March–April 2014

• Receive caring, personal assistance to immediately answer your questions;

• Participate with the church in good stewardship by receiving fewer mailings;

• Enjoy the Ascending Roots newsletter, featuring articles and photos; and

• Provide the church with readily available funds for immediate witness and mercy work. Make simple, secure, recurring gifts through an annual commitment customized to the amount and frequency of your support.

Online Go to and click on Make a Gift. Search our giving catalog to discover the many mission and ministry opportunities you can support.

Mail Make checks payable to The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Use the enclosed envelope, or send to: The LCMS P.O. Box 66861 St. Louis, MO 63166-6861

Phone Please call 888-930-4438 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. CST to speak with one of our donor care representatives today.

Questions? The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, including its affiliated programs and ministry areas, is a Guidestar Exchange Gold Participant, demonstrating our commitment to transparency and accountability.

Contact a Mission Advancement representative by calling 888-930-4438 or emailing Tax ID: 43-0658188

For more information, visit Use Tax ID Number 43-0658188 to locate our Guidestar profile.


To join our mission teams serving across the globe,  contact Erin Alter at or 314-996-1746.

Cross Edges a collection of five programs featuring fresh talk about Lutheran Christianity in the 21st century.


p.m. CST

check it


Monday through Friday. Monday: Cross Defense – Host: Rev. Rod Zwonitzer. Dig into Christian apologetics to get answers to the hard questions skeptics ask about the faith.

and lives of today’s top musicians, artists, scholars and more, the program addresses the place of Christians in modern culture as they serve God and neighbor.

Tuesday: Concord Matters – Hosts: Rev. Rod Zwonitzer, Rev. Craig Donofrio, Rev. Charlie Henrickson & Rev. Joshua Scheer. Join in a lively, roundtable discussion for the layperson on the Lutheran Confessions.

Thursday: The God Whisperers – Hosts: Rev. Craig Donofrio & Rev. Bill Cwirla. This offbeat program features observations of the everyday life of Christians with humor and intelligence.

Wednesday: Culture and Christianity – Host: Lori Lewis. Featuring a look into the vocations

Friday : Book Talk – Host: Rev. Rod Zwonitzer. A look at literature and how the writings of today’s best authors intersect with the faith.

Streaming and archived at Like us on

A Network of Congregations Committed to Funding Our Missionaries

A Network of Families and Individuals Committed to Funding Our Missionaries

Through “Together in Mission,” congregations, groups and organizations can partner with LCMS missionaries serving around the world. You can pray for your missionary, provide encouragement through notes and letters, send a short-term team to work alongside him or her, and offer your financial support. Your congregation or group’s gifts will help sustain your missionary’s ministry and cover costs such as airfare, visas, insurance, travel, housing and living expenses.

LCMS missionaries serve in many roles: theological educators, mission strategists, English-as-a-Foreign-Language (EFL) teachers, relationship builders, medical workers, construction workers and agricultural specialists. In these roles, they walk and live among the people they serve, just as Christ did. But before they can enter the mission field, they must raise support for their mission service (i.e., airfare, visas, insurance, housing and living expenses). Through “Mission Senders,” your gifts will help send missionaries to their fields of service, and you share in spreading the Gospel message.

For more info, contact Debbie Feenstra at 800-248-1930, Ext. 1651 or

For more info, contact Tani Berner at 800-248-1930, Ext. 1017 or

March–April 2014



“One of our Synod’s top priorities must be helping our church workers in their time of

need,” said the Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, LCMS president. “Many have given a large portion of their lives to serve, very often in modest circumstances. While these are challenging times for many families, we must make every attempt to help our servants of the church.”

S o l d i e r s o f t h e C r o ss

V e t e r a n s o f t h e C r o ss

Since 2004, Soldiers of the Cross has provided emergency support and pastoral care for LCMS church workers based on financial need. Helping church workers retain health insurance is a top concern.

Through the Veterans of the Cross program, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and Concordia Plan Services provide financial assistance to incapacitated pastors, professors, teachers and the widows and orphans of deceased church workers.

For more information: Visit

For more information: Visit

Know of an active or retired church worker in need? Contact the Rev. Dr. Carlos Hernandez at 314-956-2005 or The Soldiers of the Cross Fund and the Veterans of the Cross Fund depend solely on donor contributions.

2014 - Lutherans Engage the World — March-April  

The Moment: Church Workers

2014 - Lutherans Engage the World — March-April  

The Moment: Church Workers