Breakout Groups will be pre-assigned groups that will help us imagine what it means to be the body of Christ.

Workshop A will include examples of creative ways to rethink ministry and tools for serving God.

Workshop B will be led by synod ministries, including committees and other groups, in which you can learn how to participate in the larger Church.

Workshop A Offerings

Workshop A will be held from 1:00 pm to 1:45 pm, focusing on creative ways to rethink ministry and tools for serving God.

At the Crossroads: Imagining New Ways for the Church
Rev. Jen Beamsley, Assistant to the Bishop
In some ways, it feels like we are in a new age of Christianity after experiencing a pandemic. Now is a perfect time to take a deeper look at right-sizing congregational ministries and discerning a pathway forward. 

Congregational Vitality Survey
Rev. Josh Ebener, Director for Evangelical Mission
Come and learn about the new Congregational Vitality Survey, a simple 36-question survey tool for congregations to gain input from leaders and participants on how they see key areas for both vitality and sustainability. The results will be used to frame a discussion and to develop contextually appropriate plans to move forward in their own settings.  By knowing what key issues are and discussing what the root causes are as well, effective plans for ministry adjustments can be developed and implemented. For more information: congregationalvitalitysurvey.com 

Treasurer’s Workshop
Rev. Pat Esker, Assistant to the Bishop, and Ms. Joan Brooks, CPA
Designed primarily for treasurers, bookkeepers, and finance committee members, this workshop will explore what it means to be called by God into the ministry of budgets and finance in this time and place. We will help you unpack some of the more unique aspects of church accounting and answer some of your most pressing questions. 

Spiritual but not Religious: How One Congregation Feeds Seekers of All Faiths
Ms. Karen Glavin and Deacon Laura Gorton, Christ, Belvidere
Pathways is a ministry provided by Christ, Belvidere. Pathways is a non-profit organization offering opportunities to support pilgrims navigating their journey. They live out their mission by offering a daily online devotional.  Their retreats, seminars, and spiritual direction for all ages open doors to any who wish to enhance their lives through the pursuit of wisdom, wholeness, and beauty. 

Constitutions for Congregations: Your Governing Documents
Rev. Andrew Kayes, Synod Constitution Review Committee
Constitution out of date and got you down?  Come learn how to start the process, what tools are available to you, and how we can help.  Like any other project, it's important to do your research first. So, let us help! 

How Lay Led Ministry is Growing Congregations
Mr. Kent Kindelsperger, Zion, North Henderson, and Mr. Bill Norden, First, Ohio
Vibrant congregations come in all shapes and sizes! Come and hear how two faith communities have increased their vitality with lay leadership and deep conversations about community connections

Called to Life: Deepening Your Congregations Sense of Vocation
Rev. Shellie Knight, St. John’s Pearl City
St. John's has been selected to participate in the Nourishing Vocation Project's Cohort 1 which began in July 2022. Rev. Knight is excited to share how the NVP resources are being utilized as a springboard for deepening her own congregation's sense of vocation in this time and place of an ever-changing world. The Nourishing Vocation Project explores three fundamental questions: Who are we called to be? What are we called to do? Why are we here? 

Love the BODY You're In!
Rev. Dr. Pam Marolla, Assistant to the Bishop
Our physical bodies change over time. So does the church. We can despair that it isn't what it used to be - or learn to expect God to work through us with what we have now. 

Telling Your Congregation's Story
Rev. Julie Monnard, Assistant to the Bishop
We will look at storytelling methods and how they can be used in your congregation's written publications and videos. These storytellings can help make personal connections as you show the public why your congregation is unique and vital to your community. 

In This Together: How to Discern Shared Ministry with Others
Rev. Jeff Schlesinger, Heart of Illinois Parish
What if you could revitalize another congregation by simply joining efforts with them on a mission program? What if your congregation might be renewed simply by being neighborly with a nearby congregation? Pastor Jeff Schlesinger of Heart of Illinois Lutheran Parish (Immanuel, Compton, and First, Lee) will guide participants in imagining new and effective ministry models by utilizing the simple little skill we were all taught in kindergarten - sharing. 

Workshop B Offerings

Workshop B will be held from 2:00 pm to 2:45 pm and focus on synod ministries, committees, agencies, and institutions,  in which you can learn how to participate in the larger Church.

Racial Justice Subcommittee Updates
Rev. Robin Caldwell, Racial Justice Subcommittee
Fresh from a February Racial Justice Team retreat, we will update you on the ideas we have and listen to the needs of the congregations in the synod.   

NIS WELCA and YOU
Mrs. Kimberly Choin, NIS WELCA
All ELCA Women are NIS WELCA Women and are invited to participate in all synod and church wide Women of the ELCA events and meetings.  Come and see what we have been doing in our focus areas of Justice, Discipleship and Stewardship and how easy it is to get involved! 

Creatively Addressing Hunger in Our Communities
Ms. Carol Erickson, World Hunger Subcommittee
Many of our closest neighbors are experiencing food insecurity.  To address the challenges our neighbors face, many of our congregations have created a variety of different "feeding ministries".  A panel of these ministries will discuss how they started and have grown their programs, as well as tips and strategies for success. 

Social Ministry Committee
Rev. Katie Gallagher, Social Ministry Committee
The Social Ministry Committee works to inspire and encourage the people of the congregations and communities of the Northern Illinois Synod to care for those in need, serve our neighbors, seek justice and righteousness for all people. 

Ministry Support Committee - It is About More Than Salary Guidelines
Rev. Vince Marolla, Ministry Support Committee
Pastor Vince Marolla and other members of the Ministry Support Committee will share information about how this committee is working to provide support and resources to help our Rostered Leaders and Synodically Authorized Ministers (SAMs) leading congregations. As we work together to strengthen faith and well-being in leaders, we continue to help our leaders to lead with heart. 

Called By God – Rostered Ministry
Rev. Doug Liston, Candidacy Committee
There are a variety of vocational choices in the ELCA. We have pastors and deacons, but we also have accountants, chaplains, youth workers, musicians, evangelists, nurses, office managers, counselors, and caregivers. We are a church that believes God is calling us into the world — together. The ELCA has many needs to fill as we carry out our mission to share God’s boundless love with the world.

Creation Care Subcommittee
Rev. Scott Ralston, Creation Care Subcommittee
The Creation Care Subcommittee finds creative ways to uplift how humanity can better care for God’s good Creation so that all humans, animals, and other living things can thrive. Come to learn about big and small ways that you and your congregation can support God’s creation. 

Helping the church to reach to all
Mr. Andrew Rex, Outreach Committee
The Synod Outreach Committee reaches out to smaller churches to provide outreach tools for everyone – rostered staff and lay leaders alike. We help congregations to reach not just inside the walls but outside as well. 

NIS Youth the church of today
Deacon Shari Simon, NIS Synod Youth
What values make youth ministry so important? Let's journey through remembering what our values have been for the youth of our synod and reimagine together what values youth ministry should embrace for this new year and new church reality. Youth and adults of our Synod are encouraged to attend! 

Sanctuary Experience at LOMC
Ms. Michelle Wandersee, Lutheran Outdoor Ministry Center (LOMC)
Join Michelle (program director) and Rob (executive director) of LOMC as we reveal a new opportunity for groups to experience an amazing time of spiritual renewal together. Get info and experience similar hands-on activities that take place at our new LOMC-led Sanctuary Retreats. 

Growing In Faith - Diakonia
Mr. Doug Wood, Diakonia Steering Committee
Diakonia is a 2 year, 12 course, in-depth study of the Old and New Testaments, Christian Doctrine, Worship, and more. It is to assist lay people in leadership roles in congregations or those seeking to deepen their knowledge and faith. A new curriculum starts this fall.