2022 Tool Kit Resources

2022 Tool Kit for Congregational Leaders


The Saint Paul Area Synod held its 2022 Tool Kit for Congregational Leaders on Feb. 26 at Prince of Peace, Burnsville with 12 workshops covering a variety of topics related to the life of a faith community. This event is geared toward congregation councils, committee members and other lay leaders as well as rostered ministers and church staff. Our goal is for leaders to go back to their congregations equipped with helpful information and resources, new inspiration and meaningful connections!


On this page, you'll find the visual presentations, handouts and/or notes from the 2022 workshops. While not all presenters agree to share their materials (for a variety of reasons), many have provided their resources for posting here. Thank you to all of our Tool Kit presenters for sharing of your time and expertise!

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.




Expanding Awareness & Care for LGBTQIA+ People

Ashlei Cramer (she/her), after finishing her bachelor's at the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire in religious studies, packed her bags and headed off to St. Paul! She studied at Luther Seminary, where she acted as a leader in the LGBTQIA+ organization Emmaus and in Proclaim's Seminary Outreach Team. In May of 2018, Ashlei graduated with her Master of Arts in Christian Ministry. As part of God's call in her life, she enters into her work at ReconcilingWorks as the Reconciling in Christ Program Coordinator to serve her fellow LGBTQIA+ community where faith and sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression intersect.


Aubrey Thonvold (she/her) is the executive director at ReconcilingWorks. She is a lifelong Lutheran committed to justice and equity for LGBTQIA+ people and their families within religious and faith communities. With a master's degree in Transforming Spirituality from The School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University, she strives to bring people in and invite all to the table. She leads this work at ReconcilingWorks with a sense of call to this holy ministry.


Links to resources for LGBTQIA+ workshop:



Telling Compelling Stories of Ministry: How to Harness the Power of Storytelling in Your Congregation

Jay Olstad loves telling stories and helping others tell theirs. With a lot of help and a little luck he became an Emmy, Edward R. Murrow and Telly award-winning television reporter, brand storyteller and communications consultant. Jay has worked at radio and television stations across the country; his last stop was at KARE 11 in Minneapolis where he became the lead reporter for the 10 o’clock news. But after 18 great years in broadcasting, Jay discovered he was focused on telling other people’s stories yet missing out on his own. That's why he left TV in 2017 to become a brand storyteller in the corporate and non-profit worlds. He is a sought-after speaker, teaching organizations how storytelling can move mountains. He also co-owns a video production company called AMPonStage, which specializes in creating content that moves people into action. Jay is a member at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville where he serves as the vice-president of the board of directors and sings in the choir.




Gift-Oriented Ministry

Pastor Justin Grimm serves on the Saint Paul Area Synod staff as the Director for Evangelical Mission and Assistant to the Bishop for Next Generation Ministries. Prior to this call, he served as pastor of Advent Lutheran Church in Lake Ann, Mich., at a congregation that he started and was able to grow and thrive in large part due to utilizing the spiritual gifts of all members. He loves talking about Jesus, evangelism and the St. Louis Cardinals.


Deacon Nina Joygaard is the Adult Ministry Deacon at Faith Lutheran Church in Forest Lake. She is passionate about helping people live out their unique vocation in sharing God's love with the world. The best part of her ministry is when someone says, "Thank you for asking me to do this" as she sees matchmaking spiritual gifts and serving others as an integral part of her own calling.




Practicing Presence: Strengthening Companion Partnerships During a Pandemic

Pastor Peter Harrits is a member of the Saint Paul Area Synod Staff and serves as Director of Bega Kwa Bega and an Assistant to the Bishop. In those roles he works closely with the Synod's Iringa & Guatemala Committees and accompanies individuals and congregations from across Saint Paul as they learn to accompany their global. He has been traveling to Iringa since 2002 and has served globally in Malaysian Borneo and the city of Kuala Lumpur.


Jennifer Reinhardt is a member of Augustana Lutheran Church, West St. Paul; San Agustín congregation and Colegio Luterano Agustino de Guatemala (elementary school) are global mission partners. As a part of the Synod Guatemala Committee, she works with communications to support our walk together with the Iglesia Luterana Agustina de Guatemala (ILAG). In addition, she has also been on the Guatemala Gala Committee coordinating communications for the last two virtual events.




Online Worship Production

Omar Reyes is the Production Manager at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Apple Valley. In this role, he’s produced hundreds of pre-recorded videos from interviews to testimonials, summer camp reports to capital campaigns. He has played an important role in SOTV’s expansion of online worship options during the pandemic. He works with local and nationwide companies in the pursuit of affordable, yet, high quality tech equipment and has advised many of our congregations on video production over the years.


Thank you to our event sponsor: