Jose Aenlle has been the Director of Music at Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church in Orlando, Florida since 2011. He was born in the Dominican Republic and began to learn piano at the age of 7. He has a degree in piano performance from Stetson University and a master’s degree in orchestral conducting and arranging from the University of Central Florida with Cello as his main instrument. He is the founder of the Valencia College Orchestra and publishes works and leads worship under the name Grace Upon Grace. On multiple occasions, Jose has led worship at the Florida-Bahamas Synod Assembly and other special events. He and Pastor Linman have facilitated eight Renewing the Church through Music and Worship seminars in Florida, Minnesota, and Wisconsin attended by nearly 400 church musicians and leaders from over 75 congregations. Jose is a tenure professor at Valencia College where he teaches Music and Sound Production Technology and leads worship regularly at Spirit of Joy on Sunday mornings.
Rob James loves to help things grow, whether that is as a Mission Developer, Pastor, Coach or a hosta farmer! Rob graduated from Luther Seminary in 2006 and headed to Machesney Park, IL to start GPS (God’s People Serving) Faith Community, ELCA. In 2018 Rob accepted a call to join the ELCA Congregational Vitality Team as the Program Director for Learning and Evaluation. In his free time Rob is starting “Holy Hosta Farm” where he has quickly acquired over 500 varieties of hosta.
From 1996 - 2016 Jeff served as pastor of Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church in Orlando that began in a tent and now worships in a renovated bowling alley. He spent most of his ministry serving congregations that discovered the truth of Paul’s witness in Ephesians 3:20...that God, working in their midst, could do more than they could imagine or dream. He has a holy discontent over the membership decline in the Church and longs for the renewal of leaders so God can use them to awaken new Kingdom impacting ministry dreams. Jeff recently served a 20-month interim as Pastor of Renewal and Redevelopment at his home congregation in Illinois. Jeff is the founder of the DreamLeaders Initiative, a congregational renewal ministry based in the mountains of North Carolina where he and his wife, Patti, now live. Since November 2015, Jeff has led 36 renewal weekends in Florida and the Upper Midwest to ignite hope and new dreams in the Church. For more info visit www.BeDreamLeaders.com.
Pastor Nancy Nyland is the Director for Evangelical Mission for the Indiana-Kentucky Synod of the ELCA. Nancy received her M.Div. from Luther Seminary in 1990 and served for 21 years in small town/rural ministry in South Dakota and Nebraska before beginning her current call in 2011. Nancy's responsibilities include empowering, equipping, and encouraging in these areas: new start ministries and redevelopment of congregations, Connect (a transformational ministry process), area mission conversations, shared ministries, congregational renewal, evangelism, outreach, stewardship, and mission support. Nancy enjoys traveling around the Indiana-Kentucky Synod working with their 180+ congregations and their rostered and lay leaders. Nancy is a single mom with a 18-year-old son, Tadd, who is a freshman at Ball State University.
Johan Bergh serves as Pastor of St. Philip Lutheran Church, Mt. Dora, Florida. As a Certified Coach and Coach Mentor (beinganddoingmatters.com) he coaches Rostered Leaders and mentors Coach-In-Training Rostered Leaders. He currently serves as Coaching Ministry Coordinator for the Florida-Bahamas Synod of the ELCA and serves on the ELCA Churchwide Coaching Ministry Team as well as a level II Natural Church Development Coach. Johan’s specialty, applied through coaching as a particular skill set in leadership development, is working with individuals and organizations to “get traction, to move from ‘A’ to ‘B’ and accomplish what God is calling them to be and do!” His passion is developing disciples with an environmental ethic and building authentic community. He earned his Doctor of Ministry degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia with a concentration in Discipleship and Leadership. He also serves as a GreenFaith Fellow (GreenFaith.org).
Beth Lewis is the President & CEO, emeritus of 1517 Media, the parent organization of Augsburg Fortress, Fortress Press, Sparkhouse and Beaming Books. Originally from Lexington, KY, Beth is a lifelong Lutheran. She attended the University of Kentucky and completed her undergraduate degree at Maryville University. She is also a graduate of the Advanced Management Program of the Harvard Business School. In 2008, she received the Doctor of Divinity honorary degree from Wartburg Seminary. After 20+ years working for Fortune 500 publishing companies and being an entrepreneur, in 2002, Beth was called to serve at 1517 Media, retiring in August 2018. She led the staff in turning around the organization from a money-losing company to one that is financially stable and sustainable. Beth and her husband, Pastor Rick Rouse, are popular keynote speakers, consultants and workshop leaders for faith-based and other not-for-profit organizations.
Josh Linman is the pastor and mission developer for Lutheran Church of the Messiah in Decatur, GA. Messiah is preparing to relaunch with a new name and identity in 2020 as they work to invite more and more people to experience the joy and wholeness of Jesus. Josh is passionate about raising up leaders that make disciples and saturate their communities with the joy of the Risen Jesus. Prior to serving at Messiah, Josh was the Discipleship Pastor at the Ankeny Campus of Lutheran Church of Hope, a multi-site church in Iowa. Josh grew up in Orlando, Florida and is a graduate of Florida State University and Luther Seminary in Minnesota. He and his wife, Laura, enjoy spending time with friends, their two dogs, and getting away to the mountains of western North Carolina. You can connect with Josh at www.joshlinman.com
Rev. Dr. Richard W. Rouse currently serves as a parish consultant working with ELCA congregations across the country in the areas of strategic planning, spiritual discernment, stewardship, and missional leadership. Formerly Executive Director of Church Relations and Continuing Theological Education at Pacific Lutheran University, he has also served as adjunct faculty at Luther Seminary and at the Lutheran Seminary Program of the Southwest. Rouse is a member of the Board of Directors for Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. A certified Spiritual Director and ordained Lutheran pastor for 45 years, Pastor Rick has served congregations in Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington. Rouse is the author of numerous publications including Beyond Church Walls: Cultivating a Culture of Care; A Field Guide for the Missional Congregation; Go Make Disciples; and Fire of Grace: The Healing Power of Forgiveness.
Khader El-Yateem is the founder of Salam Arabic Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, a congregation primarily consisting of recent immigrant Arab Christians, many of whom fled from the unrest in the Middle East. He was born in Palestine and emigrated to the United States in 1992. El-Yateem has degrees from the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, Egypt and the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. He has been active in community organization and is known as a bridge builder in the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish communities. He has also campaigned in the Democratic primary for a seat on the New York City Council finishing a close second in a five-way race. El-Yateem currently serves as the Director for Evangelical Mission in the Florida-Bahamas Synod, ELCA.
Joe & Jess Liles
Joe and Jess Liles planted The Neighborhood Church in Bentonville, AR on Easter of 2012 and have been humbled by its growth over the last 7 years. Described as a modern church with traditional elements they have lived into the vision of “Change Church. Create Relationship.” Joe serves as the Lead Pastor, Jess (Deacon) serves as the Innovative Education Director. Jess also serves on the Board at Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago. Joe also serves as the Chaplain for the Bentonville FOP (Fraternal Order of Police). Both Joe and Jess have also worked to create a Pilot program for seminary in the local church to raise up internal leadership and have partnered with Wartburg Theological Seminary for the first class which included 6 churches and 50 participants. Joe and Jess have been married for 11 years after having met the first week of seminary and have two rambunctious children, Landen (8 years old) and Caylee (10 years old).
Rev. John Michael Longworth, OEF, has served as Pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and Little Lambs Early Learning Center in Rutland, VT since 2012. He attended Trinity College in Hartford, CT and the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. During his time at Good Shepherd he is excited to have played a part in feeding 245,000 neighbors, planting gardens for their school, and working to develop the Cooperative Mission of Faith on Foot. He is a Professed member in the Order of Ecumenical Franciscans, a community of Christians from a wide variety of denominations committed to the stewardship of creation, personal simplicity, service to the poor and public proclamation of the Gospel. (www.oeffranciscans.org) He currently serves as Dean of his Conference and on his Synod’s Convocation Planning Team. Pastor John is married to Sara, an artist and handcrafter.
Rev. Brenda K. Smith is the Program Director for Faith Practices and Book of Faith at the ELCA Churchwide Office in Chicago. She also coordinates the ELCA Spiritual Renewal team that offers prayer services, healing services, revivals and workshops on topics such as prayer and faith practices. She is a graduate of Trinity Lutheran Seminary and her first call was at New Hope Lutheran Church in Jamaica, New York. She enjoys listening to music, reading, movies and spending time with family and friends.