Summer Ministry Conversations

Summer Ministry Conversations with the Rev. Robin Brown, the Rev. Brenda Smith, and the Rev. Louise Johnson

In order to continue to offer the growth opportunities to the people of the Northern Illinois Synod, we of the staff are excited to invite both rostered ministers and lay members of the Synod community to three presentations over the summer by those who had been scheduled to be keynote speakers at the 2020 Synod Assembly.

These presentations and conversations will be held via the Zoom platform and are open to all.


Until All Are Fed: ELCA World Hunger and Your Congregation

The Rev. Robin Brown, Assistant Director, ELCA Hunger & Disaster Appeal

Tuesday, July 7
1 – 2 p.m.

Registrations due
Sunday, July 5.

The Rev. Robin Brown is Assistant Director, ELCA Hunger & Disaster Appeal in the Domestic Mission Unit, located at the ELCA Churchwide Office in Chicago, Illinois.

821 million people around the world – that’s more than 1 in 10 – can’t access the food they need to live active, healthy lives. So congregations in the Northern Illinois Synod are partnering with ELCA World Hunger to reach communities in need. You are responding to Jesus’ command to love our neighbors as ourselves. You are providing health clinics and microloans, water wells and animals, community meals, and advocacy. You are supporting smart, sustainable solutions that get at the root causes of hunger and poverty. 

In this conversation, you’ll hear stories of the life-saving difference you’re making and how to share them with your congregation. You’ll see new resources to support your prayer, study, and hosting of activities and fundraising events. And you’ll have an opportunity to ask questions.  

Find out more.

The Five Gifts of Discipleship and Living Out Our Faith

The Rev. Brenda K. Smith, Program Director for Faith Practices and Book of Faith

Tuesday, July 21
1 – 2 p.m.

Registrations due
Sunday, July 19.

The Rev. Brenda K. Smith is Program Director for Faith Practices and Book of Faith in the Domestic Mission Unit of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America- Churchwide Office in Chicago, Illinois.

Pastor Smith will present an overview of the Five Gifts of Discipleship and engage in a conversation about the ways that congregations can live out their faith and their baptismal covenant. She will also guide attendees through the many materials available to them through the ELCA website through the Book of Faith ministry with the following goal: to lead congregations to open the Bible and have conversations about the transformative power of the word of God.

This time of learning is part of Pastor Smith’s role with the ELCA:  working with other faith formation leaders, both lay and clergy, to create a culture of discipleship in the ELCA.  Rev. Smith and another staff member, Rev. Dwight DuBois, coordinate the Book of Faith ministry of the ELCA, described above. She also convenes the ELCA’s Renewal/Prayer/Revival Team that offers healing and prayer services; Lutheran revivals; and workshops on various topics for congregations, synods, and other entities in the ELCA.

Brenda Smith bio

ALL QUESTIONS, NO ANSWERS: Navigating Change in an Uncertain World

The Rev. Louise Johnson, Director for Leadership Development for LEAD

Thursday, August 6
10 a.m. – noon

A $10.50 registration fee applies to this event only.

Registrations due
Tuesday, August 4.

The Rev. Louise Johnson is Director for Leadership Development for LEAD (www.waytolead.org).

Many of you are longing to find ways to be stronger witnesses to your faith in Jesus Christ. Maybe you would like to have more young people in Sunday School. Maybe you are praying to see more families in the pews. Maybe you would like to be more effective in strengthening the community around you by serving those who are most vulnerable. In a world where most churches are in decline, it is challenging work to grow. But now we are experiencing a global pandemic, a national recession, and growing tensions around racial justice. The challenges of growing a church seem overwhelming.

There are no easy answers, but there are effective ways of working through our challenges together and becoming stronger witnesses to the faith. Learn how adaptive leadership and discipleship practices dovetail to help you navigate a way forward. Join us on August 6 for a two-hour introductory session offered by the Rev. Louise N. Johnson, Director for Leadership Development for LEAD (www.waytolead.org).

Louise Johnson bio