Mike Newman R.jpg

Plenary Session 1: Mike Newman

Avoiding Mission Bankruptcy Summary
Why does it seem that our knowledge, doctrine, strategies and resources cannot stop the decline of our church? Could it be we’re missing what is most important? Find out the one thing needed for vibrant and transforming mission.

Rev. Michael W. Newman has been a pastor since 1987 and currently helps start new churches and ministries in the Texas District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. He is passionate about sharing the Good News of Jesus with people near and far, and is praying for a mission multiplication movement to take hold again in the United States. Michael and his wife, Cindy, live in San Antonio, Texas. They have been blessed with two wonderful daughters and the cutest granddaughter in the world. Michael’s latest book is “The Life You Crave: It’s All About Grace” (CPH 2014). To check out more of his books, go to www.mnewman.org.

Plenary Session 2: Pat Ferry

Pat Ferry R.jpg

Eyes on the Prize: Leadership for the Long Run  
A runner’s running commentary on insights into life and leadership shaped by miles on the road, and a college president’s perspective framed by two decades of service lead to the same place. Ups and downs, highs and lows mark the way—note the milestones, but no time to rest on laurels or languish in laments—persevere and keep the fantastic finish in focus! 

The Rev. Dr. Patrick T. Ferry, Ph.D.,  was elected the eighth President of Concordia University Wisconsin in July 1997. He began his faculty career at Concordia as an Assistant Professor of History in 1991. Dr. Ferry earned his Ph.D. in European History from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1996; his M.A. in history from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1989; his M.Div. from Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN, in 1987; and his B.A. from St. John's College, Winfield, KS, in 1981. 

Prior to coming to Concordia Dr. Ferry served as campus pastor at St. Andrew's Lutheran Campus Congregation at the University of Wyoming in Laramie from 1989-1991. He was assistant pastor at Wheat Ridge Lutheran Church in Wheat Ridge, Colorado from 1987-1989. 

He has authored numerous articles, reviews and essays on education, religion, and history and most recently his book “Faith in the Freshman”, a story of hoops and hopes. He has also made numerous presentations at meetings, workshops, and conferences and serves as a member on numerous higher education and community boards. 

Dr. Ferry is married to Tamara and they have five children - Peter, Hannah, Andrew, Rachel, and Stephen and one grandchild, Eva. They are members of Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Milwaukee.

Plenary Session 3: Bill Tucker

Bill Tucker R.jpg

Why is unity so important? What does it do? Where can we get it? Let's talk about unity! In those precious moments in the Garden of Gethsemane, just before Jesus was arrested, He prayed for His disciples and for US. His prayer, amazingly enough, was for unity! "My prayer is not for [My disciples] alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent me. I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as We are one— I in them and You in Me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.” John 17:20-23 NIV 

Bill Tucker is the senior pastor for Concordia Lutheran Church in San Antonio (since 2001) and his passion for reaching the lost and discipling the found comes through in everything he does, especially in his preaching and leadership of Concordia. Under his leadership, Concordia is one of the largest congregations in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod with nearly 8,000 baptized members and has grown its average weekly worship by 115 percent over a 10-year period (from 1,300 per week to almost 3,000 per week). 

He is the co-founder of Pastor360.com, a program that focuses on providing educational and spiritual training and support for pastors in their ministry. Tucker’s congregation also served as the host for the first-ever J2e3 Missions Summit in 2015, an event celebrating the best work done in missions by followers of Jesus locally and globally. 

His previous ministry service includes pastoral positions in congregations throughout Illinois, Marine Corps chaplain in the U.S. Naval Reserve and police/fire chaplain for Mount Prospect, Illinois. Tucker earned a Bachelor of Arts in theological languages from Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois, and a Master of Divinity in exegetics and pastor care from Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. A native of Frankenmuth, Michigan, he is married with four children.

Plenary Session 4: Daniel Speckhard

Daniel Speckhard R.jpg

Pour Yourself Out for the Hungry
We know that love – God’s love for us, our love for our neighbors – is the force that can change the world. Living out that Gospel call to serve our neighbors is something that in turn will lift us up, renew our spirit, and bring us closer to each other and to God. So what is our role as Christians in a world where millions of our brothers and sisters don’t know where their next meal will come from? How can we ensure that the mercy work we do through our churches makes a lasting difference in someone’s life, instead of just solving an immediate need? And how do we share the love of God by meeting the physical needs of the poor and suffering? 

Daniel Speckhard is President and CEO of Lutheran World Relief, an international NGO working to end poverty, injustice and human suffering. A former U.S. Ambassador to Greece and Belarus, Ambassador Speckhard has had a long and distinguished career in government service under both Republican and Democratic administrations. 

Ambassador Speckhard’s previous positions have included serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary General at NATO and Deputy Chief of Mission in Iraq; he has also served as a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Immediately prior to joining LWR, he was a senior advisor to Palantir Technologies, a Silicon Valley company at the forefront of using technology to drive innovative change across the government, commercial and non-profit sectors. 

A descendant of a long line of Lutheran pastors, Ambassador Speckhard says his Lutheran upbringing instilled in him a strong core value of service to others and a deep desire to contribute to alleviating poverty, suffering and injustice in the world. 

A problem solver, a negotiator, a consensus builder and a visionary, Ambassador Speckhard brings to LWR deep experience working at the nexus of economic development, international security and political change, areas closely linked to LWR’s mission to serve people experiencing poverty and marginalization overseas. 

Speckhard has a master’s degree in economics, a master’s degree in public policy and administration, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and started his career in government as a Presidential Management Fellow.

Plenary Session 5: Tim Niekerk

Tim Niekerk R.jpg

Generosity - A Tool for Evangelism
 In our culture, the church is consistently called out for being filled with judgmental hypocrites and wanting nothing more than your money. Generosity is about more than stewardship and tithing. It is, at its very core, an issue of spiritual formation. When generosity is unleashed in a church, it can impact the community in ways that allows the generous heart of God to shine through like never before. 

With the knowledge a dynamic ministry is never just “handed off,” Pr. Niekerk engaged in a process to clarify a vision for ministry under his care as he transitioned to Senior Pastor at Salem Lutheran Church in Tomball, TX. “Making Jesus real, one life at a time,” focused Tim’s vision for ministry to the “ONE,” the one person in a Christian’s life whose saving relationship with Christ may be in question. Compelled by God’s grace to each of us in Jesus, Pr. Niekerk leads the charge at Salem in reaching out to all people, people whose lives have great worth, great power, and great purpose. On Easter Sunday 2013, Salem pledged its entire offering that day to be given away to ministry efforts outside of Salem’s campus. Risking what is normally one of the largest weekly offerings in the budget year, Salem distributed over $135,000 to efforts battling human trafficking, the adult sex trade, and providing clothing and medical care to the community’s working poor. Inspired by a leader willing to risk it all in support of the gospel, the Salem community was drawn to a higher standard for leading generous lives. Pastor Niekerk believes one person’s story of Jesus becoming real can be an effective instrument of God for transformation. The scriptures are but one story held together by a common thread of God’s sacrificial love for us in Jesus. That story, however, continues to play out in the lives of people on a daily basis. Salem is encouraged each week by personal stories told by its members as they realize their identity is not rooted in loss, tragedy, or failure but by real life as a follower of Jesus.