2021 Tool Kit Resources


2021 Tool Kit for Congregational Leaders

Tool Kit for Congregational Leaders is an annual gathering for congregational leaders, typically held in February. After a day of workshops and networking, leaders go back to their congregations equipped with new resources, ideas and connections! Participants find the day valuable for sharing ideas, connecting with other congregations, gathering information, being inspired, listening to other perspectives, meeting new people, worshiping together and much more.


In 2021, the Saint Paul Area Synod held Tool Kit online for the very first time, with more than 300 people joining us on Zoom. We enjoyed a robust conversation with Dr. Michael Osterholm, who shared an ominous prediction for challenging weeks yet to come due to coronavirus variants, pandemic fatigue and vaccine fears. He shared his thoughts on the importance of equitable vaccinations throughout the world, not only for humanitarian purposes, but also for pandemic-ending strategic purposes. Dr. Osterholm commended church leaders for their important work, saying "This is a time we need faith communities more than we've ever needed them before...ever." Click below to watch a recording of the conversation:


Following the conversation with Dr. Osterholm, attendees split into seven different workshops. While the workshops were not recorded, many of our presenters have shared their presentations and handouts for you to access here:


Presidents'/Vice-Presidents' Forum

Matthew Webster served as council president at St. Paul-Reformation, St. Paul, for two years, and before that, served as vice-president for two years. He practices immigration law in Minneapolis and is a popular repeat presenter of this forum.






Navigating Differences That Make a Difference - The IDI as Tool & Guide

Pastor Peter Harrits has served on synod staff since 2014. As an assistant  to the bishop and Director of Bega Kwa Bega, his portfolio includes work with our global  companions in Tanzania and Guatemala. Locally, Peter has been trained as a qualified  administrator of the IDI and provides coaching for individuals and groups who desire to  become more effectively engaged in diversity.


  • IDI-Toolkit
  • For a General Overview of the Intercultural Development Inventory and the developmental theory it is based on, please visit the IDI website
  • To discuss how the IDI might be used in your congregation or organization, please contact peter.harrits@spas-elca.org



Evaluating Your Building For Ministry

Steve Seidl is the executive director of EnerChange, an organization that helps non-profits in Minnesota save energy and money with energy audits and implementing conservation opportunities. Steve is also a certified climate reality project presenter. He has been with EnerChange since its inception and was instrumental to its founding. Matt Hoiland is a sustainability specialist working in business development with EnerChange, and is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Sustainable Management program. Teresa Borzcik is the leader of Gloria Dei Lutheran’s Caring for Creation team and has participated on many of Gloria Dei’s energy use reduction projects. 





Standing With Immigrants: From Resolution to Action

The Twin Cities AMMPARO Leadership Team is a joint task force of the Saint Paul and Minneapolis Area Synods that aims to awaken, engage, and equip Lutherans to stand in solidarity with immigrants in our communities and around the world. The leadership team works locally to spread awareness among congregations about the ELCA’s strategy to Accompany Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation, and Opportunities (AMMPARO). 




Becoming an Effective Treasurer

David Laden is the comptroller at Como Park Lutheran, St. Paul, serves as synod council treasurer, and is a member of the synod's Finance Committee.





The Digital Opportunity: Evangelism in a Screen Dependent World

Rev. Justin Grimm is the director for evangelical mission and assistant to the bishop for next generation ministries at the Saint Paul Area Synod. He works with local synodical leaders in the identification of new mission and renewal opportunities, as well as with faith-based organizations to undertake church based community organizing to engage congregations and neighborhoods. Mary Smith is the synod's director of communications. She manages the synod's social media accounts, website and newsletters and oversees the promotion of events and programs. They were joined by the Rev. Joe Liles, lead pastor at The Neighborhood Church in Bentonville, Arkansas. 




Kairos Time, Chronos Time, COVID Time: Reimagining Sabbath-Keeping in This Unusual Season

Barbara Debski is a regional representative for Portico Benefit Services, serving primarily in the East Coast regions for over 13 years. In her role, she provides information, education and support to sponsors and members serving in the ELCA and other faith-based organizations.  Barbara encourages rostered and lay leaders to cultivate our individual God-given strengths and develop healthy practices that will give the stamina, confidence, and inner peace needed to be a resilient leader.