Pastors’ Conference

Event details

  • Saturday | October 19, 2019 to Monday | October 21, 2019
  • 5:00 am
  • Tan-Tar-A, Osage Beach, MO

About | Lodging | Schedule | Keynotes | Breakouts

Registration powered by RegOnline

Pastor:                                     $90
Emeritus Pastor & Vicar:         $45
Other Church Workers:          $90
Guest (Monday Lunch):          $30

Conference Registration Deadline:  Monday, October 7th
Note: Housing is not included in the conference registration.


Shepherding Souls in a Changing World

District Pastors will meet at Margaritaville Lake Resort (formerly Tan-Tar-A) in Osage Beach on October 20-22, 2019 for the Missouri District Pastors’ Conference.

Shepherding Souls in a Changing World – The conference will explore the challenges of pastoral care in our complicated times.  The plenary presentations and sectionals will help pastors apply Law and Gospel in the care of souls.  This is a relevant topic for all pastors from every context.  We hope that you will attend the conference and be strengthened in your calling as shepherds of God’s flock.

The Divine Service will be held at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Lake Ozark on Sunday, October 20th at 7:00 p.m.  No evening program has been planned, allowing time for “mutual conversation and consolation of the brethren.”

The conference will begin on Monday morning, October 21st and conclude shortly after noon on Tuesday, October 22nd.


Remember, housing is not included in the conference registration.

You are to make your own housing arrangements, and the price is not included in the conference registration fees, which are:

A block of rooms has been reserved at Margaritaville Lake Resort (formerly Tan-Tar-A) in Osage Beach at a discounted rate starting at $96.00 per night (plus tax). Hotel reservation deadline: September 29, 2019.

Make your hotel reservations online, using the group code LCMS for the discounted room rate.

Reservations can also be made by phone: 800-826-8272, with group code: LCMS.

When registering at the hotel, remember to bring your tax exempt letter and pay either with a church credit card or church check, to avoid the state sales tax.   Personal credit cards will not receive this exemption.  Local taxes still apply. Reservations are from 4:00 p.m. the day of arrival until 11:00 a.m. the day of departure.

Excused Absences: Participation is strongly encouraged at this conference.  If you cannot attend, please submit a request for an excused absence.  Excused Absences may be submitted by email to:, or by mail:

Missouri District Pastors’ Conference
Attn.: Sue Thompson
660 Mason Ridge Center Drive, Suite 300
St. Louis, MO  63141-8557


Sunday, October 20  

4:00 – 6:00
Registration – Margaritaville Lake Resort Lobby

Divine Service at Christ the King, Lake Ozark
Ice Cream Social following worship at Christ the King

Monday, October 21

8:00 – 9:00
Registration & Exhibitors and Vendors

9:00 – 9:15 
Welcome and Morning Worship

9:15 – 9:45
Bible Study with Rev. William Marler

9:45 – 10:00

10:00 – 11:00
The Transgender Child: Caring for Child, Family and Church
Dr. Beverly Yahnke

11:00 – 11:30 
President’s Report

11:30 – 12:30

12:30 – 1:30 
The Fine Art of Referral for Pastors Who Know Their Flock Well
Dr. Beverly Yahnke

1:30 – 1:45 

1:45 – 2:45     
Breakout Session A

2:45 – 3:00

3:00 – 4:00   
Breakout Session B

Free Time / Dinner / Fellowship (on your own)

Tuesday, October 22

8:00 – 9:00  
Exhibitors and Vendors

9:00 – 9:15
Morning Worship

9:15 – 9:45
Bible Study with Rev. William Marler

9:45 – 10:45
Making Christian Counseling More Christ-Centered: Part 1 – Dr. Rick Marrs

10:45 – 11:00 

11:00 – 12:00        
Making Christian Counseling More Christ-Centered: Part 2 – Dr. Rick Marrs

Closing Prayer/Benediction


Monday, October 21
10:00-11:00 a.m.

The Transgender Child: Caring for Child, Family and Church

“Pastor, our son wants to be a girl.” If you haven’t heard that yet; you may well hear it soon. In 50 years we’ve spiked to what is now a cultural epidemic from what was a nearly non-existent issue.  We can wring our hands, remain unacquainted with the facts, or simply remain silent and avoidant. Dr. Yahnke will equip pastors to speak confidently about competing perspectives and will offer recommendations/action plans regarding care for transgender children at a time their very identity and well-being are gravely imperiled.

12:30-1:30 p.m.

The Fine Art of Referral for Pastors Who Know Their Flock Well

Spiritual care is always useful for individuals struggling with significant life challenges or mental illness; yet many individuals will benefit from receiving psychological care as, well. When can an individual’s issues be addressed exclusively by pastoral care?  When does an individual merit referral for psychological assistance?  How might one find a competent therapist? This presentation will provide useful tools for pastors to identify the circumstances that merit referral and will offer recommendations to increase pastors’ caution and confidence in making referrals.

 Dr. Beverly K. Yahnke is a licensed psychologist serving DOXOLOGY since 2008 as the Executive Director for Christian Counsel.  From 2010-2015 she served as the Chair and Professor of Psycholology at Concordia Wisconsin.  Previously, Dr. Yahnke spent over 20 years in private practice providing care for church workers and their families in the clinical group she founded, Christian Counseling Services.

Dr. Yahnke is a frequently invited speaker for clergy and educator conferences on matters of psychology education and faith. She is serving now as an elected member of Concordia Theological Seminary’s Board of Regents.


Tuesday, October 22
Part One  9:45-10:45 a.m. and 
Part Two  11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Making Christian Counseling More Christ-Centered

Much of what passes for Christian counseling is actually based in the Law, not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. How can Lutheran pastors help their local Christian counselors to learn more about Luther’s Gospel-focus to soul care and counseling? How can pastors become more Gospel-focused themselves in the counseling they do with parishioners? How did Luther’s Theology of the Cross and Theology of the Word lead him to become such an effective soul care giver himself.

Dr. Richard “Rick” Marrs is the director of the Master of Divinity and Residential Alternate Route (RAR) Programs and associate professor of Practical Theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, where he has served since 2006. His areas of interest and expertise include pastoral care and counseling, and Christian reconciliation.  Marrs served as pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Junction City, KS. Prior to that he was a professor of psychology and counseling for 15 years at two different LCMS colleges, plus experience in consulting and private practice. He has M.Div. from Concordia Seminary and a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Loyola University of Chicago. He has numerous publications, including the upcoming book Making Christian Counseling More Christ-Centered, which focuses on the relevance of a Luther’s theology for Christian counseling. Rick is married to Laura, who is an early childhood teacher at Christ Community Lutheran School. They have two adult daughters, two sons-in-law and three grandchildren. He also competes nationally in stair climb races.


Breakout Session A: Monday, October 21st
1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

Sectional Title Facilitator
A-01 Pastoral Care for the Reluctant Rev. Kevin Golden
A-02 The Veterans Among You: An Untapped Goldmine for the Body of Christ Chaplain, Steven Hokana
A-03 Pastoral Care to the Ageing Congregation Rev. Dave & Lesley Oddi
A-04 Pastoral Care and the Christian Liturgy for People with Special Needs Rev. Erik Rottmann
A-05 Pastoral Care and the Pastor’s Self-Care: Staying Joyful amid the Struggles and Sacrifices of Ministry Rev. Dr. Darrell Zimmerman
A-06 The Pastor’s Silver Bullet for Peace in the Congregation Rev. Rick Foss & Rev. Marty Hasz

Pastoral Care for the Reluctant

Pastors are called by Christ and strengthened through the Spirit via the Word to tend to the whole flock entrusted to them. The flock includes those who do not regularly attend the Divine Service and those who balk at invitations for pastoral visits. This sectional will offer encouragement and strategies for faithfully seeking those who are reluctant to receive the care that Christ would deliver through their pastor.

Pastor Kevin Golden, PhD 

Kevin Golden is pastor of Village Lutheran Church in Ladue, MO and the Second Vice-President of the Missouri District. He has been a guest instructor at Concordia Seminary-St. Louis and Concordia Theological Seminary-Fort Wayne. He is the author of the forthcoming Hosea volume of the Concordia Commentary Series. He is husband to Joy; Christ has blessed their union with seven children.

The Veterans Among You: An Untapped Goldmine for the Body of Christ

Where do ministers go to assist veterans and their families? This presentation equips Pastors and Congregations with tools to reach out and embrace our veterans. The presentation includes resources to embolden congregational out-reach to veterans, tools to assist veterans and their families with tissues they face. Finally, we will explore the deep sense of duty veterans possess which when handled correctly, translates into dedicated service to Christ and his Church.

Chaplain, Lieutenant Colonel, Steven Hokana, USA (Ret.) is the Assistant Director of Ministry of the Armed Forces, for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. His driving passion is a deep love for those who struggle through difficult life events. He has written and spoken extensively on the topic of Christ’s power through painful issues of life. He is a clinically trained chaplain with a specialty in spirituality and post-traumatic stress disorder. He is a member of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education and a Diplomate, American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress as well as a Board-Certified Chaplain.

Hokana is a retired active-duty U.S. Army chaplain with 31 years of service to our nation. He loves those who serve our country and their families as well as those who serve the Church. His assignments vary from Airborne Infantry, Armor, Combat Service Support, to major medical centers and military academic institutions. He is the recipient of the Legion of Merit medal, Order of Medical Military Merit medallion, the St. Martin of Tours Medal for meritorious service as an LCMS Chaplain in the military, and the “Four Chaplains Medal” by the United States Army Chaplaincy for collegial selfless behavior while rendering religious support in the US military. Chaplain Hokana is married to his awesome bride Mary for 36 years. They have three adult children and two wonderful grandchildren.

Pastoral Care to the Ageing Congregation 

As pastors we bring the peace and comfort of God’s Word of grace to everyone we visit. When we make our visits to those who are growing older, what do we see, what do we look for? Are there warning signs? What can we do? Is there someone to call besides family, what if there is no other family? We will discuss what we as pastors can observe (and act upon if necessary) as we visit our members with special needs, to include: dementia, physical disabilities, loneliness, homebound.

Pastor Dave Oddi is pastor of Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church in Maryville, MO. He graduated from Concordia, St. Louis in 2007 his first call was as associate pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Farmington, MO. In 2010 he accepted a call as sole pastor of Hope in Maryville where he is still serving today.

Lesley Oddi is employed by Phoenix Family, a non-profit organization as a services coordinator at an apartment building for elderly, low-income, and or handicapped residents. She helps them to set up appointments, obtain home health services, and deal with Medicare and Medicaid issues. In her position with Phoenix Family she is also a mandated reporter. She has served in this capacity for the last 5 years.

Pastor Dave and Lesley have personal experience in caring for family members suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s and various physical infirmities; and understand just how important pastoral care is to both the one suffering the affliction and also their family members.

Pastoral Care and the Christian Liturgy for People with Special Needs 

Worldly misconceptions about People with Special Needs (PSN) can negatively shape the way PSN are received by the congregation and served by their pastor. The historic Lutheran confession of faith speaks a singular message that clearly shines the light of Christ upon this important topic. Pr. Erik Rottmann’s essay, “A Lutheran Perspective on the Christian Liturgy for People with Special Needs,” will provide you with comfort, direction, and reason to praise our God for His mercy in Jesus.

Pr. Erik Rottmann is the pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, Versailles, MO. Both my congregational duties and my family life have thrust me into the fledgling topic of Disability Theology, which I have grown to love.

Pastoral Care and the Pastor’s Self-Care: Staying Joyful amid the Struggles and Sacrifices of Ministry 

Ministry is hard, just as Jesus said it would be, but it is the greatest calling on earth. God’s intention is that every servant of the Word would know the joy of ministry as well as the crosses. Pastors who serve from a place of humility and joy offer better care to others; self-care is not selfish, but furthers the ministry. Learn the Grace Place Wellness model for spiritual, emotional, physical, relational and vocational renewal.

The Rev. Dr. Darrell Zimmerman served thirty years as a parish pastor in St. Louis, MO and Saginaw, MI. In the fall of 2012, Darrell became the first full time Program Director at Grace Place Wellness and has shared the church worker wellness message across the synod.

The Pastor’s Silver Bullet for Peace in the Congregation

Peace in the congregation? It makes a pastor’s heart sing with joy when there are peaceful relationships in the congregation and when conflicts are resolved having effectively shared the forgiveness of Jesus. And, how we long to effectively foster the propagation of forgiving members, so that each molehill is handled with grace. In this workshop you will experience effective conflict resolution by using the pastor’s silver bullet, reconciliation, and by learning how to distinguish it from conflict resolution. It makes all the difference for you and for your congregation.

Rev. Rick Foss & Rev. Marty Hasz

Both presenters have been trained by Ambassadors of Reconciliation in Conflict Coaching, Mediation, and Teaching Reconciliation Seminars. They have facilitated resolutions in numerous congregational settings have advanced training through doctoral and master’s programs as well as special certifications to develop care ministries.

Breakout Session B: Monday, October 21st
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Sectional Title Facilitator
B-01 Pastoral Care and the Lord’s Supper President Lee Hagan
B-02 Pastoral Care for Christians in Conflict: Facilitating Biblical Reconciliation Rev. Kristopher Morris
B-03 Feeling the Squeeze: The Good News for our Troubles Rev. Jacob T. Mueller
B-04 Let’s Talk Dual Parish Rev. David Kettner
B-05 Pastoral Care for Cohabitating Couples Rev. Frank Greene & Rev. Daniel Clemens
B-06 Ministry in Light the Cross Rev. Michael Meyer & Rev. Dr. Ross Johnson

Pastoral Care and the Lord’s Supper

This presentation will focus on how pastoral care relates broadly to a pastor’s teaching regarding the Lord’s Supper and the church’s communion practice.

Rev. Dr. R. Lee Hagan was elected as the fifth president of the Missouri District-LCMS in 2015.  He is a 1992 graduate of Concordia College (now University), Seward, Nebraska.  He graduated from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis with a Master of Divinity in 1996 and Doctor of Ministry in 2011.  Dr. Hagan served as associate pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Evansville, Indiana from 1996-2002.  In 2002, he was called to serve as senior pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Concordia where he served until his election as district president.  Additionally, he served as the Interim Director of LCMS Rural and Small Town Mission from 2011-2012.  He has written articles for Lutheran Witness, Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly, Concordia Pulpit Resources and Missio Apostolica and developed the forthcoming, “Shepherding the Strays” module as part of the LCMS Re:Vitality training courses.  Dr. Hagan is married to Jill (nee Johnson), who works as a speech-language pathologist.  They have two children, Caroline, a sophomore at Concordia University Wisconsin, and Jack, a sophomore at Lutheran High School, St. Charles.

Pastoral Care for Christians in Conflict: Facilitating Biblical Reconciliation

Christians will encounter conflict. How we handle it can either glorify sin and selfishness or it can glorify Christ. Pastors can help facilitate the process toward Biblical reconciliation which leads people to the forgiveness and restoration Christ earned for His people.

Rev. Kristopher Morris graduated from Concordia Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree in May 2005. Two months later, he was ordained into the office of the public ministry and installed as Associate Pastor of Faith Lutheran Church, Collierville, TN. During his time at Faith, Pastor Morris served as Short-Term Mission Coordinator for the Mid-South District, taught classes for the District’s Deacon Training Program, and served as the District Pastoral Counselor to the LWML.

In September 2010, Rev. Morris accepted a call to serve at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Lake Ozark, MO and has served there since that time.  From 2014-2018 he served as the Missouri District LWML pastoral counselor. From 2015-2018 he was the chairman of the Board of Congregational Services for the Missouri District. In the summer of 2018, he was elected to serve as the fourth Vice President of the Missouri District. Since 2011 he has also served as a professor teaching Philosophy, Ethics, and Religion at State Fair Community College in Lake Ozark, teaching 12 hours per semester. To date the relationships formed at the college have led to 7 adult baptisms at Christ the King, thanks be to God!

Feeling the Squeeze: The Good News for our Troubles 

Often, we are called to minister to people who are feeling the squeeze of life in a broken, sinful world. We’ll study the usage of the Greek word “thlipsis” (tribulation) and see the promises God brings to us in the middle of our tribulations.

Rev. Jacob T. Mueller is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Emma. A 2012 graduate of Concordia Seminary, Jacob taught a class on Paul’s letter to the Romans at the Lutheran Theological College in Uganda earlier this year. During his battle with colon cancer in 2015, he found incredible comfort these promises we’ll be looking at in God’s Word. Jacob is married to Julia and together they have two children; Hannah and Zachariah.

Let’s Talk Dual Parish 

With the growing shortage of pastors and the dwindling attendance in some of our congregations, the need for churches to engage in conversation regarding whether to enter into a dual parish is great. This presentation will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of dual parishes. From the presenter’s experience, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. We will discuss the process whereby Salem Lutheran (Salem) and Holy Cross Lutheran (Houston) entered into a dual parish 25 years ago and how this arrangement is working wonderfully today.

Rev. David Kettner has been serving Salem Lutheran Church in Salem since his ordination in 1989. Five years into his ministry, Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Houston (36 miles from Salem) experienced a split. In order for Holy Cross to remain open, they needed help. Salem itself was struggling to survive financially, still receiving district subsidy even though it had been in existence for 45 years. So both churches agreed to become a dual parish. In the 25 years since that agreement, both churches have had two successful building programs with no debt; they have been financially stable; they have been able to provide financial support to seminarians and missionaries; they have provided other mission support and have been active in their communities. Entering into a dual parish was the best thing that could have happened for everyone involved, including Pastor Kettner.

Pastoral Care for Cohabitating Couples

Over the past few decades, cohabitation has become the new “normal” for couples prior to or instead of marriage. In this presentation, we will look at the prevailing attitude of our culture, encourage the participants to stand firm as God’s messengers, evaluate case studies drawn from the presenters’ ministries, and have an opportunity to share your own successes and failures.

Rev. Frank Greene is Senior Pastor of King of Kings Lutheran Church in Kansas City. His 12 years in ministry have given him the opportunity to counsel dozens of married and unmarried couples and their families. He has been married for 22 years, and has two children.

Rev. Daniel Clemens is the Assistant Pastor of King of Kings Lutheran Church in Kansas City, and a 2018 graduate of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. He, his wife, and their seven siblings are all part of the “Millenial” generation, giving him a great insight into the culture as he ministers to his peers.

 Ministry in Light the Cross

We will talk about Luther’s theology of the cross and it is implication for the life and ministry of the church. We will be surveying Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation of 1518 and applying it to ministering to people going through a variety of life’s tragedy.

Rev. Michael Meyer is Director of LCMS Disaster Training. For over five years Michael was a parish pastor in Denver, Colorado.

Rev. Dr. Ross Johnson is Director of LCMS Disaster Response. Ross served as a missionary in Latin America, parish pastor in Fairhope, Alabama, and is a Chaplain in the United States Army Reserve.