Annual Gathering Speakers

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Keynote Speakers

Service Coordinator, LCMC

Mike brings 40 plus years of leadership and ministry experience, having served in Lutheran congregations in Nebraska (Christ Lutheran Church) and South Dakota (Trinity Lutheran Church) as a youth pastor, worship leader, associate pastor, and senior pastor. He also served as President for The Master’s Institute Seminary for ten years and most recently, as Director for the Alliance of Renewal Churches (ARC). Mike is passionate about helping leaders and congregations create an atmosphere that is a safe place for developing healthy leaders and disciples in the church, and equipping God’s people for lives of effective witness and ministry in the world. He is the author of the book, Being a Safe Place for the Dangerous Kind, in which he articulates the essential connection between solid theology and healthy practice in mission and ministry. Mike enjoys sports of all kinds, having served as a high school basketball and baseball coach while serving Trinity Lutheran Church in Rapid City, South Dakota. He and his wife of forty-two years, Debi, enjoy reading, hiking, and swimming, and Mike enjoys the occasional golf outing. They have five adult children – Andrew Michael, Joseph Ross, Rachel Christine, Stephen Daniel and Benjamin John, and three grandsons – Michael, Isaac, and Lucas. Mike and Debi live in Gilbert, Arizona with their white Labrador, Maggie Mae.

Dean, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University
Scholar in Residence & Teaching Pastor, Mariners Church

Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., is the Dean of Talbot School of Theology at Biola University and Scholar in Residence & Teaching Pastor at Mariners Church. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches; trained pastors and church planters on six continents; earned two master’s degrees and two doctorates; and he has written hundreds of articles and a dozen books. He is Regional Director for Lausanne North America, is the Editor-in-Chief of Outreach Magazine, and regularly writes for news outlets such as USA Today and CNN. His national radio show, Ed Stetzer Live, airs Saturdays on Moody Radio and affiliates. He serves at his local church, Highpoint Church, as a teaching pastor.

Coordinator for Districts and Fellowships, LCMC

Julie Smith is a life-long Lutheran and became a pastor in 1998. She has served congregations in Clarkfield, Bock, and Springfield (all in Minnesota). In addition, she served for several years as a Bible camp director. She is also a co-founder of St. Paul Lutheran Seminary. Julie's main hobby is running around to whatever activities her seven nieces and nephews are involved in. She is a sports fan, and while high school football is a favorite, NBA games featuring any former Minnesota Timberwolves are a close second. Like all Minnesotans, Julie believes as many summer days as possible should be spent at the lake, with the Twins on the radio. Please don't ask her about the Vikings. Julie is a graduate of Luther Seminary and loves any opportunity to teach, whether that's leading silly Bible skits with first graders or giving seminary students some pointers in preaching. She has previously served on the LCMC Board of Trustees and has worked with the Augustana and Epiphany Districts of LCMC.



Pastor, New Creation Lutheran Church

Sarah Carlstrom is a child of God. She is the wife of Justin and mother of Xander. Sarah loves making music, God’s Word, creating art, reading, exploring nature, learning, spending time with loved ones, and any combination of the above. She is honored to serve New Creation Lutheran Church in Perham, MN as pastor.

Senior Pastor, Joy Community Church

David Rispoli has served as Senior Pastor of Joy Community Church since 1997. He is a tri-vocational pastor that is passionate about seeing people come into a relationship with Jesus.  The former United States Marine co-authored a best selling book with Brian Tracy, has three master's degrees, and has worked in the hospice industry for over 20 years.  He is a business coach and known internationally as The Marriage Coach.

Bible Study Leader

Pastor / Professional EOS Implementer, Oasis Church

Jody Skogen loves sharing her passion for the Lord and God's Word with a deep desire to help others know, love and follow Jesus and live life abundantly. Seeing lives changed and people experiencing greater freedom in Christ are among some of her greatest joys. Jody and her family live in Marion/Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where Jody serves as the pastor of Oasis Church which launched in September 2020. Over the last 25+ years, Jody has served on a music and relational ministry team traveling the U.S. and Australia, as well as being on the staff of a small, medium and large congregation, in addition to being a church planter. Additionally, Jody serves full-time in a marketplace position as a leadership consultant and Professional EOS(R) Implementer. As an EOS Implementer she serves as a coach, facilitator and trainer for leaders and leadership teams in organizations with 5-250 employees. Organizational health is an enormous passion for Jody, whether in a marketplace setting, congregation, community or family, and her heart is to see individuals and teams grow in greater health and strength. Jody also serves as a faculty member of Harvest Workers, teaching missional leadership and organization. Jody is looking forward to being our Bible study leader at the gathering and her hope is that you join her each day, bright and early, on the journey to dive deeply into the gift of God’s Word so that we might be strengthened together.