I have a life-long love of the Christian church, its heritage, its weaknesses and how to make it more effective. I grew up in a vibrant English-speaking German Lutheran community in Cleveland that died out. What happened? I had a Fulbright scholarship to study philosophy at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, where I loved the intellectual stimulation but had to recognize how weak their church life was. After seminary I thought I could help best contribute to church life by studying leadership and organization, which I did at Washington University in St. Louis. Teaching at Lutheran Valparaiso University, I saw a highly formalized church life that seemed to lack energy. Energy for ministry was overflowing at Fuller Theological Seminary during my seven years as administrator and faculty member there; I learned much about Evangelical and Pentecostal churches. Over the past thirty years in pastoral ministry, I probably learned more about what doesn’t work than what does. I have pastored now for almost twenty-five years at a Lutheran church that became large and is constantly experimenting with new ways of making and growing disciples.
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