2021 Tool Kit Workshops

Tool Kit for Congregational Leaders

Saturday, February 27, 2021 | Online


The workshops listed below begin at 10:30 a.m., following the keynote by Dr. Michael Osterholm (9 a.m.), break-out groups and reflection by Bishop Patricia Lull. Be sure to review the content below to decide which workshop you wish to attend - you'll be required to select a session as part of the registration process.


Remember - attendance is FREE so pass the word to other leaders in your congregation and coordinate who's attending which workshop to cover as many topics as possible!


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10:30-11:45 a.m.

Matthew WebsterPresidents'/Vice-Presidents' Forum

In congregational leadership, the roles of council president and vice-president have unique opportunities and challenges. Council presidents and VPs are encouraged to attend this forum where attendees will receive template materials and discuss in both small and large groups critical topics of common interest and concern, mostly centering on topics of good governance like running an effective meeting, utilizing Robert’s Rules of Order and delegating.  This will be a wonderful opportunity for both newly elected and well-seasoned presidents and VPs alike to network and grow the effectiveness of their leadership alongside others in their same church leadership position around the synod. 


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.



Rev. Peter Harrits

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

When it comes to building local and global partnerships that are mutually  transformative or leaning into the challenges of anti-racism and diversity work, many of  us are great at talking the talk. But how effective are we, actually, at walking the walk?  This is the central question asked by the Intercultural Development Inventory - an  assessment that measures the 'intercultural competence' of individuals and  organizations. In this session, participants will receive an overview of the IDI, learn about  the developmental theory it is built on, and identify ways in which it can be used in their  congregations to increase their own capability to 'shift cultural perspective and  appropriately adapt behavior' as they encounter a whole host of differences that make a  difference in their life and ministry together. 


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.



Evaluating Your Building For Ministry

The pandemic has forced us to re-examine and change many aspects of how we do ministry, and this actually presents some opportunities in terms of your church building. Take advantage of this time when people aren’t in the building to thoughtfully evaluate how and where there might be cost-savings opportunities by implementing more environmentally friendly practices. Learn about the resources available to help your church become better stewards of the earth and of the finances from an organization that conducts free energy assessments for non-profits, and hear about the practicalities of making environmentally friendly building changes and updates from a church that has first-hand experience doing so!


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. 



AMMPAROStanding With Immigrants: From Resolution to Action

In 2019, the ELCA Churchwide Assembly passed a memorial to become a Sanctuary Denomination. In 2020, the Synod Assembly passed a Resolution to Stand with Immigrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers.  Through these public statements, ELCA Lutherans are declaring themselves to be people who want to welcome and walk alongside immigrants and refugees as a matter of faith. But memorials and resolutions must be put into action to be truly impactful.  This workshop will delve deeper into the content of these declarations--the nation-wide memorial and the synod-wide resolution--and will provide attendees with resources and tools for educating and equipping their congregations to put the words of these statements into 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

The materials covered will provide a basic lesson on budgets, expenditures, cash flow, and balancing the books while keeping good stewardship of your congregation's financial resources in mind. Treasurers and financial administrators encouraged to attend.


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

The times, they are a changing! We have seen that firsthand these past months as a global pandemic has made churches re-think not only how they connect with members, but also how they reach out and draw in others in their neighborhoods and communities. What a great opportunity to learn new skills! This workshop will explore best practices for evangelism and outreach using digital tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and website. Together we will examine creative ways to tell the story of what God is doing in your community and how to empower your members to be part of this work. Everyone has a story to tell and it’s time to share it. Social media and other tools provide an easy way for people to engage—we will explore ways to make this part of your congregation's culture.


Rev. Justin Grimm joined the synod staff as the director for evangelical mission and assistant to the bishop for next generation ministries in 2015. 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. While much of her professional career has been with trade associations, she also has a background in church work, serving as both the director of Christian education and a wedding assistant. 



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

Practicing the gift of Sabbath has shaped and renewed God’s people for generations. But how do we find Sabbath in our homes when we never leave them? How do we mark the sunset that says, “now rest” when we sit in constant light of a computer screen or smart phone? For church leaders in particular, taking time to replenish our spirits and passion for sharing our gifts is important for avoiding burnout and being effective and compassionate leaders. Rediscover how the simplest acts can have profound meaning in our search for well-being and receive self-care practices that you can share in your congregation.


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.


There's no cost to attend 2021 Tool Kit for Congregational Leaders. Advance registration will close on Feb. 24. Zoom links for the keynote and workshops will be emailed on Feb. 25. Day-of registration will open at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27.



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