DARE to Lead 2022

Join us for a best practices conference providing practical steps to take home to your ministry to implement today.

WHEN: February 7-8, 2022

WHERE: KI Convention Center and Hyatt Regency, Green Bay, WI

WHO: Ministry leaders and their entire teams (called, lay and volunteer)


Discounted tickets available for ministry teams!
Email [email protected] for promo codes.

10% discount for groups of 3+
15% discount for groups of 5+
20% discount for groups of 10+

*All discounts must be applied at checkout. No refunds available.*

DARE to Lead 2022


GREG KOUKL - Columbo: A Three-Step Game Plan for Maneuvering with Confidence and Grace in any Conversation

Decades into the 21st Century, ambassadors for Christ face trouble on two fronts. First, there is an increasingly pervasive godlessness and almost militant hostility to Christianity in the culture. Second, there is a profound biblical illiteracy among believers. Consequently, it has become increasingly difficult to “contend earnestly for the faith,” as Jude 3 admonishes.

Paul faced the same challenge as he passed the torch to Timothy and entrusted the future of the Gospel to a new generation of disciples. His solution to both the trouble in the world and the trouble in the church can be summed up in three simple words: “You, however, continue…” (2 Tim. 3:14).
This talk is a practical encouragement for followers of Christ to fight the good fight, finish the course, and keep the faith.

KURT NITZ - Congregational Culture: Boost or Burden

Your congregation, like any organization, has a culture. It can either help or hurt you as you go about the work in your ministry. But what exactly is a congregation's culture? Is it really that big of an impact? And are you just stuck with it or can you change it?

JON HEIN- Authentic Christian Presence: The Best Path Forward in a Post- Christian Nation

Americans of all ages are walking away from church. Since America’s religious culture has changed, congregational culture—the way we think about the who, where, and how of gospel ministry—must change as well. This includes pivoting from the strategy of corporate outreach to one of authentic Christian presence.

Keynote Speakers

Greg Koukl

Greg founded Stand to Reason in 1993 and currently serves as President of Stand to Reason. He has spoken on more than 70 college and university campuses both in the U.S. and abroad and has hosted his own call-in radio show for 27 years, advocating for “Christianity worth thinking about.” He has debated atheist Michael Shermer on national radio and Deepak Chopra on national television. An award-winning writer and best-selling author, Greg has written seven books, including The Story of Reality—How the World Began, How It Ends, and Everything Important that Happens in Between; Tactics—A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions, and Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air. Greg has been featured on Focus on the Family radio and has been interviewed for CBN and the BBC. He's been quoted in Christianity Today, the U.S. News & World Report, and the L.A. Times. Greg received his Masters in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics at Talbot School of Theology, graduating with high honors, and his Masters in Christian Apologetics with honors from Simon Greenleaf University. He is an adjunct professor in Christian apologetics at Biola University.

Pastor Jon Hein

Jonathan began his ministry in the Charleston, SC area. In his twenty years there, he started two congregations, oversaw the work of thirty-two missions and participated in eleven new mission starts. He also served on the Executive Committee for WELS Board for Home Missions, which oversaw all new mission congregations in North America. To date, he has personally worked with more than 110 churches to assess and plan ministry efforts. In 2017, he was called as coordinator of Congregational Services, which consists of six commissions that revolve around key areas of ministry: Counseling, Evangelism, Discipleship, Lutheran Schools, Special Ministries, and Worship. He also teaches two classes for Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary: strategic planning and congregational management.

Kurt Nitz

For more than 20 years, Kurt has been leading culture transformations that enable organizations to achieve previously unattainable results. He currently works as a consultant focused on organizational culture shaping and has facilitated culture workshops worldwide, including in the US, Italy, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and Malaysia. Kurt is the co-developer of the EVERYONE OUTREACH program recently launched by the WELS Commission on Evangelism. Kurt currently serves on the WELS Commission on Congregational Counseling. He and his wife Kristin are members of Christ Our Savior Lutheran in Rockford,Michigan.

Breakout Sessions

Please choose 4 BREAKOUT SESSIONS per person to attend when registering online via Eventbrite. Find breakout session info below.

The Coordinated Church

“Not all who wander are lost” – but most are, and if your church is wandering, you’re probably not getting anywhere. Don’t give up, though – your organization can change from being a wandering generality to a meaningful specific if it has leadership which knows where the ministry is going and refuses to go anywhere else. Learn how to develop a hyper-specific why, how, and what for any organization, then learn how to map out the clear, step-by-step path and principles that will keep you on track. 

Pastor Kent Reeder is a church planter who has worked in missions his whole career. He interned at Beautiful Savior in Charleston, planted Illumine in Charlotte, and (most recently) is engaged in a mission restart project called Illume in Seattle.

He graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 2013 and Seth Godin’s altMBA in 2019. He co-founded Hearts and Hands, an organization supporting WELS art and artists, as well as the Great City Network, an organization of WELS churches establishing best practices in major North American cities.

He is a songwriter and musician best known for his work with Luke Thompson and Caleb Schmiege on the modern hymn Christ Begins. Along with his wife, Alexandra, and their son, Beck, Kent enjoys camping, finding new ice cream shops to try, and staring at whatever mountain range presently occupies the horizon.

Emotionally Healthy Discipleship

Discipleship and emotional health go hand in hand. We will discuss our own emotional health and how we can cultivate an emotionally healthy culture in our churches. This kind of culture allows us to achieve our mission of discipling others to grow a deeper relationship with Jesus.

Jenni Schubring is a facilitator of Transformational Discipleship at St. Mark Ministries, life coach, speaker, and owner of Embrace Your Story Coaching. Jenni wants you to experience the freedom and empowerment that comes with knowing who you are in Christ. She does this through Transformational Discipleship, 1:1 coaching, speaking, and trainings. Jenni is the wife to her best friend, Tad, and mom to 5 (not so little) kids.

Community Engagement as Outreach

One of the most common criticisms of non-churched people about churches is that we’re “hypocritical.” Is that fair? If the second half of Jesus’ “Great Commandment” is to love your neighbor as yourself, does our community perceive us as its most loving neighbor? How has this changed in the past century and is it perhaps at the root of a generational exodus from the local church? The theological, historical, and sociological basis for this will be covered in the presentation, as well as ideas and examples of how to reconnect with your local community as a foundational component of gospel outreach.

Pastor James Hein is Lead Pastor at St. Marcus Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, WI. He began ministry in 2008 in Rochester, MN. After 7 years of learning about ministry to Millennials, he and his wife Adrian moved to Milwaukee to focus on urban gospel work – embracing ethnic diversity, exploring modern technology in church, and navigating the post-Christian cultural climate.

Church and Social Communication

Watch video preview of our breakout session here.
Are you struggling to build a vibrant online community for your church? Is running your social media and website frustrating or just not fun anymore? You need a strategy, a system, and some advice on what works! You are doing amazing ministry work and it needs to be celebrated and promoted online. Learn from church Social Media Manager, Emily Schutte, a content marketing entrepreneur, and church Communications Coordinator, Wendy Kuschel, a former news anchor, producer, and reporter, in this hands-on session. You’ll learn how to grab the attention of your members and community via social media, your website, email newsletters, and video content to revitalize your church’s online presence.

(Pictured left to right, Emily Schutte and Wendy Kuschel)

As the owner of Emily Writes, LLC, I help organizations create outstanding written content and social media. I bring advanced writing and editing skills as well as a background in strategic planning and marketing insight. I have been working with St. Mark Ministries since May 2019. I started by helping market the church podcast and later took over the social media management – hand-in-hand with Communications Coordinator Wendy Kuschel – just prior to the pandemic, in March 2020. I have been a partner at St. Mark’s since 2010 and am active in the praise band as a keyboardist and flautist.

As a former TV & radio news anchor, reporter, & producer, Wendy Kuschel is St. Mark Ministries’ Communications Coordinator.  This position is brand new to St. Mark as of March 2, 2021 (yes, just weeks before COVID hit – hah!).  She runs their website, e-newsletters, press releases, does video intros for worship services and Facebook and coordinates their social media platforms.

Catechism: Parent Driven and Student Focused

We all want parents to take the lead in training their children as disciples of Jesus, but too often we hear that they don’t feel capable or empowered, so we step in and take the job for them. This robs them both of their God-given responsibility and the joy of leading their own children into the Word. This session will introduce a model for training, equipping, and encouraging parents to be the primary teachers of Catechism lessons at home, so that they can once again have the responsibility and joy God has given them.

A native of Seattle, Brandon Steenbock spent the first decade of his ministry in Southern Minnesota, and now lives in Green Bay with his wife, Nikki, and two teenage sons. Brandon holds a B.S. in Ministry from Martin Luther College, an M.A. in Family Life Education from Concordia University-St. Paul, an M.A. in Theological Studies from Martin Luther College, and is in the Doctor of Ministry program at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.Brandon Steenbock serves as Family Minister at St. Mark Ministries in the Green Bay, WI area. Brandon is passionate for helping families be spiritually strong and relationally resilient. He loves studying and teaching theology, hearing and telling good stories, and crafting excellent coffee.

Family Culture

In this workshop we will address how Family Discipleship is really about addressing, shaping, reforming, and sanctifying family culture.  Every family has one, and it is the biggest obstacle or greatest blessing when seeking to raise children in the Lord!  We’ll take a moment to define culture, assess our own, investigate the cultivators and pillars of family culture, and leave with practical tools to form the ideal family culture in every home as prescribed in Deuteronomy 6:4-9.

Aaron Schultz is a husband and father of four. He considers it a privilege to serve as pastor of evangelism and youth and family. He co-founded with his wife a non-profit (Shining Light Raising Hope) dedicated to supporting families who suffer infant loss. He watches sports, tries to play sports, and enjoys time with his family. While not a Wisconsin native, he is a Packer fan abnormally born. It’s complicated…

Online Worship Designed for an Online World


It sucks that it took a global pandemic to push most of the church onto the internet, but – God be praised – the time has come. As does any transition (oral tradition to written word, horses to cars, letters to phones) this one brings new features, new flaws, and new FAQs that must be answered. Come listen and wonder as 4 nerds who have it 1,000% figured out answer every single one of your questions in this roundtable discussion.

(Pictured left to right)

Anthony Catalano – A lifelong lover of movies, Anthony graduated magna cum laude from Columbia College Chicago in 2011 with a BA in Film & Video. He then founded his video production company ADC-Video which specialized in filming live events and over the next 10 years he became one of the region’s premiere wedding videographers. In 2018 Anthony joined St. Mark Ministries as a Media Production & Technology Consultant, where he was tasked with updating the church’s video system to be able to deliver a weekly livestream of its worship services. Anthony continues to produce the weekly live production, along with producing a variety of media projects for St. Mark. Anthony recently completed his first feature length film titled “Last Testament” and it has been picked up for distribution by Gravitas Ventures and is expected to be released in October 2021.

Tim Babler – Tim oversees the worship ministry at St. Mark Ministries.  He strives to plan, lead and executive authentic, compelling worship services for the in-person and online campuses. Tim attended Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN and did post-graduate work in music and worship at Liberty University in Virginia.

Pastor Kent Reeder – Kent is a church planter who has worked in missions his whole career. He interned at Beautiful Savior in Charleston, planted Illumine in Charlotte, and (most recently) is engaged in a mission restart project called Illume in Seattle.

He graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 2013 and Seth Godin’s altMBA in 2019. He co-founded Hearts and Hands, an organization supporting WELS art and artists, as well as the Great City Network, an organization of WELS churches establishing best practices in major North American cities.

He is a songwriter and musician best known for his work with Luke Thompson and Caleb Schmiege on the modern hymn Christ Begins. Along with his wife, Alexandra, and their son, Beck, Kent enjoys camping, finding new ice cream shops to try, and staring at whatever mountain range presently occupies the horizon.

Johnathan Favorite – I grew up in Eagle River, WI and attended Martin Luther College to become a high school science teacher. While there, I was part of a musical group called Corban Creek that toured the country providing concerts and worship assistance to churches from 2002-2005. Because of that experience, I was called to be the Director of Worship Arts at CrossWalk Church in Phoenix, AZ where I served for 13 years. I have since been serving at 922 Ministries in Appleton, WI and lead the worship ministry for both of our campuses (St. Peter Lutheran and The CORE). Our 922 Worship Team consists of 60 musicians that serve both campuses and other tech volunteers.

Visitor-Friendly Church

What could our churches learn from a grocery store about a proven process bringing people back again? We will discuss many practical ideas that businesses use to create a welcoming environment and how these concepts can be adapted to a ministry setting. Bring your ideas to add to the conversation.

Peter Wolfgramm is a Martin Luther College graduate and has served as a teacher and staff minister in the WELS since 1996. He has served in Jenera, Ohio; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Appleton, Wisconsin. Through his current role at Grace in Action he serves ministry teams around the synod with leadership tools and training. He, his wife Missy, and son Levi live in Appleton.

Building a Foundation for Leadership - Spiritual, Emotional, and Physical Health and Resiliency

Today’s ministry environment overwhelms too many leaders with frenzied schedules, burned-out spirits, and stress-induced ailments. We will discuss these realities along with Biblical realities and the necessity of a solid foundation of spiritual, emotional, and physical health and resiliency. We will discover how much personal resiliency benefits the leader and impacts others. Participants will take home a one-page, self-designed, personal resiliency plan with tools and ideas to get started on their journey to greater spiritual, emotional, and physical health — which form the true foundation for leadership.

Greg Schmill has served as a teacher and principal in WELS elementary and high schools in Minnesota, Florida, and Wisconsin. He has also served as the WELS Forward with Lutheran Schools (FWLS) educational consultant and as the director of the WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools (CLS). He now lives out his passion for supporting and encouraging WELS school and church leaders as a facilitator and leadership coach with Grace in Action – Ministry Leadership. In this role, he partners with others to develop and deliver leadership training and coaching support for WELS and ELS ministry teams.

Moving from Surviving to Thriving: Recalculating Happiness

Jesus came that we may have life and have it to the full! (John 10:10)  Psychology seeks to understand the components of happiness and wellness. Dr. Wolle’s presentation will meet at the intersection of Scripture and the latest research regarding what people can do to move from simply surviving to truly thriving. Some of the components that make a significant impact are  gratitude, contentment, discovering and utilizing strengths and skills to impact others, and guilt-free rest. Participants will leave the presentation with an action plan they can implement in their personal and professional life.

Dr. Rhoda Wolle is also an Associate Professor of Education and teaches Educational Psychology in both the Graduate and Undergraduate program. As an educational psychologist, Rhoda has taught workshops on four continents and has spoken to thousands of educators, parents, and teens on the topics of student success and the science of thriving. She is the cohost of the weekly podcast 5toThrive, and has authored multiple books. She is a member of St. Marcus Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, WI.  In her spare time she enjoys traveling, music, reading, golf, sailing, and animals.

When Child Abuse Hits Home: Corporal Punishment, the Law, and the Faith Community.

Victor Vieth

In this workshop, participants receive an overview of research on the effectiveness and risk factors associated with corporal punishment as well as an overview of the contracting legal definition of reasonable force. Various theological approaches to corporal punishment will be addressed. Participants will be presented with a case scenario and work through possible approaches to a case of physical discipline resulting in child injuries.

Victor Vieth is the Chief Program Officer of the Zero Abuse Project, a 501©(3) public charity based in St Paul, MN, committed to education, training, and survivor support in order to eradicate child sex abuse and remedy its resulting harms.

New Hymnal Resources for You

Pastor Jon Zabell

Newly published in the fall of 2021, Christian Worship: Hymnal is accompanied by a suite of worship resources. There is something here for everybody. This presentation offers each participant practical ideas for enriching worship in their unique congregational setting.

Since 2013 Jon Zabell has chaired the executive committee of the WELS Hymnal Project. He has served as chair of the WELS Commission on Worship since 2010. He has delivered a keynote address for the WELS National Worship Conference and an essay for the 2011 WELS convention. Jon is a pastor at St. Paul in Green Bay.  Jon enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, swimming, and playing piano.


Creating a Culture that Facilitates Member Engagement

Why aren’t people engaging and becoming active members at your church? The need for more member involvement is often the felt need of systemic issues.  I’ll help you name, claim and tame the old culture and unleash a new culture that engages, equips and empowers your members to actively live out their faith and make their unique kingdom impact.  Join me for a lively, interactive discussion. I can’t wait to meet you!

Lori Lorig is the passionate leader of Faith Unleashed. More than 700 people have participated in her self-discovery workshops which allow people to live intentionally based on how God has uniquely designed them.

Lori’s spiritual gifts include administration, leadership, teaching, hospitality, and faith. Her strengths include maximizing, individualization, belief, learner, and arranger. In 2010 she launched an annual Faith in Action Day at Trinity which has served thousands through Christians working together. Lori has also served on numerous vision planning teams and worked to build many successful ministries inside and outside the walls of her church. She currently serves as the President of the Christian Women’s Leadership Circle at Wisconsin Lutheran College.

Staffing for the New World

“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:37-38).  Join us to explore how the Lord answers our prayers with pastors, staff ministers, teachers, congregational assistants, and lay workers and to consider staffing options that will align with the vision of your ministry.

Lawrence Olson is a professor of theology at Martin Luther College, where he also directs the Staff Ministry Program and the Congregational Assistant Program and serves as an assistant football coach.

Olson holds two additional graduate degrees, a Master of Sacred Theology degree in exegetical theology and a Doctor of Ministry degree with an emphasis on outreach. His doctoral dissertation dealt with understanding and responding to inactive members in our congregations.

Policies and Pastoral Care


Victor Vieth

Participants will learn best practices for policies to prevent abuse within faith communities and, when it can’t be prevented, to respond with excellence. Policies for managing a convicted sex offender in the congregation will also be discussed. Discussion will include where participants are with their community’s child protection policies or how to get started creating one. A primer on spiritual care for both survivors and offenders will be included.

Victor Vieth is the Chief Program Officer of the Zero Abuse Project, a 501©(3) public charity based in St Paul, MN, committed to education, training, and survivor support in order to eradicate child sex abuse and remedy its resulting harms.

Event Schedule

3:00 p.m. - Check-in Open
4:00 - 6:00 p.m. - Conference Registration
6:00- 9:00 p.m. - Meet and Greet (2 beer tickets provided per registered conference guest)

8:00 - 9:00 a.m. - Conference Registration and Breakfast
9:00 - 9:15 p.m. - Opening Devotion/Pastor Parlow Welcome
9:15 - 10:45 a.m. - Keynote #1
11:00 - 12:00 p.m. - Breakout #1
12:00 - 1:00 p.m. - Lunch
1:00 - 2:30 p.m. - Keynote #2
2:45 - 3:45 p.m. - Breakout #2
4:00 - 5:00 p.m. - Breakout #3
Dinner on your own (see program booklet for happy hour and dinner suggestions as well as notes on where each keynote and breakout speaker will be at for further discussion).

7:30 - 8:30 a.m. - Breakfast
8:30 - 8:45 a.m. - Opening Devotion
9:00 - 10:00 a.m. - Breakout #4
10:15 - 11:45 a.m. -Keynote #3

Thank you to our big God, the Antioch Foundation and St. Mark Ministries partners for making this conference possible.

Hotel Block, Dining and Tourism Info

Book Your Room

Hyatt Regency, Green Bay

hotel block
Titletown District

Titletown District
Lambeau Tours & Hall of Fame

Book a Tour
Dining Out

Copper State Brewing Co. (owned by WELS members). Authentic Mexican - Vintage Cantina. See program booklet for more restaurant options.

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