Summer 2022 LLDP sessions focus on practical church leadership skills

by | Dec 22, 2022

LLDP participants pose at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Left to right: Rev. Dr. Naomichi Masaki (LLDP Director and CTSFW Professor); President Bruk Ayele of Mekane Yesus Seminary (EECMY); General Secretary Teshome Amenu of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY); Deputy Bishop Mandla Thwala of the Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (LCSA); District Pastor Daniel Mono of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania’s South East of Lake Victoria Diocese (SELVD-ELCT); President/Bishop John Donkoh of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana (ELCG); President Denis Rakotozafy of the Malagasy Lutheran Church (FLM); Bishop Modise Maragelo of the LCSA; Bishop Emmanuel Makala of SELVD-ELCT; Deputy Bishop Helmut Paul of the Free Evangelical Lutheran Synod in South Africa (FELSISA); and Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Skopak, pastor of Grace Lutheran Church and School, Jacksonville, Florida.

USA – At the International Lutheran Council’s World Conference in Kenya in September 2022, the LLDP Director was pleased to receive many inquiries about the Lutheran Leadership Development Program (LLDP). As the process of admitting students for the second cohort is underway at this moment, we report, belatedly, on the fifth sessions held at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne from July 25-August 5, 2022.

LLDP participants joke with Dr. Skopak.

Nine of eleven LLDP participants were able to attend this session’s courses, which focused on the practical skills of ecclesial leadership. Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Skopak of Grace Lutheran Church and School of Jacksonville, Florida, taught “Strategic Planning and Task Management.” He explained the steps in creating, implementing, and measuring a strategic plan for ministry. This includes incorporating a regular and active prayer life for the plan and those tasked with carrying it forward.

“The LLDP was richly blessed through Dr. Skopak’s remarkably helpful guidance and instruction,” said Dr. Naomichi Masaki, LLDP Director. “We are very thankful to him for sharing his talent and experience with us.” Participants concurred: “This course helped me very much,” one said, “because as a church leader if you don’t know how to make and carry out your own strategic plan, people and the team will lose confidence and trust in you.” Another thanked the LLDP “for organizing this laudable program, as this course too was an excellent one that I would venture to recommend it for churches in Africa. I believe this course will revitalize our churches.”

A group photo during the second week. Back row from left to right: Bishop Modise Maragelo (LCSA), President Dr. Roger Paavola (Mid-South District, LCMS), Dr. Bruk Ayele (MYS-EECMY), Rev. Teshome Amenu (EECMY), President John Donkoh (ELCG), Rev. Matthew Clark (Ascension Lutheran Church, St. Louis). Bottom row from left to right: Tom McCain (CPA), Rev. Mandla Thwala (LCSA), President Denis Rakotozafy (FLM), Dr. Daniel Mono (SELVD-ELCT), Rev. Helmut Paul (FELSISA), Bishop Modise Maragelo (LCSA), Ed Holderle (JD), and Dr. Naomichi Masaki (LLDP/CTSFW).

The second week of the session focused on “Budgeting and Financial Accountability,” and was taught by Rev. Dr. Roger Paavola, District President of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s (LCMS) Mid-South District. President Paavola brought in a wonderful team of presenters to enrich his teaching, including Tom McCain (MBA/CPA), Ed Holderle, III (JD), Dr. James Sanft (President and CEO of Concordia Plans), Larry Crume (Senior VP of Lutheran Church Extension Fund), and Rev. Matthew Clark (pastor of Ascension Lutheran Church, St. Louis).

LLDP participants enjoy a moment of laughter together at a cookout hosted by ILC Treasurer, Alison Blodgett.

Like the course on strategic planning, this course “provided enormous resources to participating church leaders,” said Dr. Masaki. “President Paavola and his team taught on the biblical stewardship of God’s resources, basic budgeting concepts, and principles of comprehensive organizational accounting.” Participants commented: “I learned much about stewardship and accountability of what is entrusted by our Master. I would like to put what I have learned into practice.” Another noted that “what was presented was compelling and life-changing.” And: “I am very much impressed and challenged on how to do things rightly, selflessly, sacrificially, and with a sense of integrity and accountability before God and men.”

Material from these two sessions is anticipated to eventually be published in book form. “It is our hope and prayer that the LLDP may continue its relationship with Concordia Publishing House (CPH) to share Dr. Skopak and President Paavola’s excellent teaching with the wider church,” said Dr. Masaki. “CPH has already published three other monographs which have grown out of the Lutheran Leadership Development Program.”

You can support the work of the Lutheran Leadership Development Program too by making a donation online. You can also mail a donation by cheque to:

International Lutheran Council
PO Box 10149
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46850 USA


By Mathew Block

Mathew Block is Communications Manager for the International Lutheran Council. He is also editor of The Canadian Lutheran magazine, and formerly served as Communications Manager for Lutheran Church–Canada.

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