Canoeing the Mountains
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Thursday - Friday
January 24-25, 2019

St. Andrew Lutheran Church
13600 Technology Drive
Eden Prairie, MN


Tod Bolsinger, author of Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory, will help us reframe our leadership for the sake of the church today. Rather than seeing graphs of decline or propaganda of a hopeful church, we will acknowledge the challenge of our time and hear stories of resurrection and hope from real leaders doing the work of Christian ministry.

Change is inevitable. But how we respond to it matters. Don’t miss this opportunity to see signs of vital, creative ministry in our era of rapid change.  Outcomes


  • Hear testimonies of new life--not just numerical growth or church transformation--in diverse contexts.

  • Wonder about God’s call for change in your community.

  • Engage with leaders in practical questions of “how”

    • How did you lead through change?

    • How did you manage naysayers or difficulties?

    • How can you lead differently?

    • How can new spiritual disciplines stimulate and empower fresh and creative engagement with our changing world?

  • Make a concrete plan for spiritual development for yourself that is rooted in the needs of your role and context.





Thursday, January 24

8:00  Registration & Breakfast

9:00  Worship - Tania Haber

10:15  Keynote - Tod Bolsinger

11:45  Lunch

12:15  Signs of Vitality in Churches

1:00  Panel Conversation

1:45  Workshops

2:45  Workshops

3:45  Wrap-up with Tod Bolsinger

Friday, January 25

8:00  Breakfast 

9:00  Keynote - Tod Bolsinger

10:15 Lived Spiritualities

12:30  Lunch and Series Database






Tod Bolsinger

Tod Bolsinger joined Fuller Seminary in 2014 as vice president for vocation and formation and assistant professor of practical theology, and he now serves as vice president and chief of leadership formation. Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1993, Dr. Bolsinger served as senior pastor of San Clemente Presbyterian Church from 1997 to 2014. Prior to that he was associate pastor of discipleship and spiritual formation at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood.

Holding both a PhD in Theology and Master of Divinity from Fuller, Bolsinger taught graduate-level classes in theology for 14 years at Fuller’s regional campus in Orange County prior to joining the seminary’s regular faculty. He has extensive experience in church and nonprofit consulting and executive coaching, and writes infrequent weblogs on church and leadership formation. His faculty role at Fuller includes teaching the Practices of Vocational Formation class and a cohort in Leading Change for DMin students.



Tania Haber

Tania Haber has served as Senior Pastor at Westwood Lutheran Church in St. Louis Park for the past 15 years. She is energized by parish ministry and passionately believes that the church needs a new kind of leader for our changing church in this changing world. She and her congregation love exploring hard questions, and they are committed to climbing new mountains and charting new territory. Tania is married to Pastor Bob Wertz. They have a newly-ordained daughter and a daughter teaching in Italy. Tania loves to run…which is necessary with the added pasta and wine in her diet.



Meta Herrick Carlson

Meta is a pastor and writer passionate about building connections and courage in liminal spaces. Her theology has been influenced by work with recovery communities and survivors of sexual violence. Meta entered seminary skeptical about parish ministry, but then discovered a call to nurture healthy relationships and resist systems where trauma, denial, or broken trust hold power. It turns out the church is a good place to practice these things. After nine years in urban ministry, Meta now serves as Minnetonka Campus Pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church Twin Cities and thinks the learning from this model and experiment is a gift to the wider church. She's also a co-creator of the podcast Alter Guild and writes a blog. At home, her three loud and sticky kids run the show.

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Kelly Chatman

Kelly Chatman is senior pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church and director of Redeemer’s non-profit, Redeemer Center for Life. He also serves as adviser to the Bishop of the Minneapolis Area Synod (ELCA). Redeemer is a 108 year old congregation in the diverse Harrison neighborhood in North Minneapolis. Redeemer’s non-profit includes a bike and coffee shop, youth development, attainable housing and employment programs. Prior to his work at Redeemer, Kelly formerly served as Director for Youth Ministries for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (95-01) and Dean of Residence at Oregon Episcopal School (87-89). Kelly has served numerous college, outdoor ministry, and nonprofit boards; he is a Princeton Theological Seminary Benjamin E. Mays Fellow and a 2006 recipient of the Luther Seminary Race, Church, and Change Award. Kelly is married to the amazing Dr. Cheryl Chatman who is the Executive Vice President and Dean at Concordia University in St. Paul, MN.

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Bryant Kaden

Pastor Bryant Kaden serves as lead pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Redwood Falls, Minnesota. Having grown up as a pastor’s kid in predominantly small towns, he is passionate about rural ministry. Over the last three years at Gloria Dei, through an emphasis on relational evangelism, spiritual practices, and adaptive leadership, he has helped lead a congregation that experienced division and loss following the ELCA churchwide decisions of 2009 into a place of renewal, enthusiasm, and optimism. He and his wife Lindy have three children, one cat, several fish, too many books, and an ever-growing collection of model trains.


David Lillejord

David Lillejord is Senior Pastor at St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. He agreed to speak mainly because he’s already at the site of the conference :-). David is a preacher’s kid and so he has been marinated in the church for his whole life. However, in and through the course of 27 years in the ministry, he has noticed the need to change and adapt to an ever-changing world in which we live. Lillejord firmly believes in the importance of leaders sharing what they know, what they don’t know, and especially, what they think might work well! When Pastor Lillejord is not on the job, he relishes and draws strength from being with his wife, Joy, their three children, and their dog, Ruby.

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Lori Peper

Having been blessed by faith, the Christian community, and the opportunity to pass on the great story of God’s love for the world, Pastor Lori Peper serves as lead pastor to Neighbors United in Christ, a vibrant 3 point parish in rural Amery, WI. With a passion for building strong, healthy communities of faith that respond to the rapidly changing human, cultural and religious landscape around us, she consistently leads creatively, care-fully and prayerfully. Pastor Lori is the married mother of 3 young adults who also enjoys fly fishing, traveling and early morning walks.







Super Early Bird (Nov. 30)

Early Bird (January 10)

Regular Rate

Pricing includes lunch, coffee, and treats throughout the conference.

We are pleased to offer a block of promotional rooms at SpringHill Suites in Eden Prairie. You can make reservations by calling 952-944-7700 and mentioning the conference or by clicking this link and making your reservation online. The promotional rate is first come, first served and will only be available until January 4, 2019.

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