Congregations regularly reach out to the District staff looking for help in a number of different areas. Our biennial Encourage and Equip (E2) Conferences are held in five locations throughout the District and cover a number of relevant topics for congregations. However, some of the areas below are types of training that District staff is able to offer at a more in-depth level for a single congregation or cluster of congregations.

Pastors Bill Geis and Marty Hasz, along with President Hagan, are available to lead elder training to assist them in their roles and to strengthen the relationship between elders and the pastor. This training can be offered in a weekend retreat or in other formats.

One of the types of training that is most requested is for school boards in understanding their roles as it pertains to the purpose of a school. Alan Freeman has led this training for early childhood centers, parish or association elementary schools, and high schools. This training is offered regularly with the annual inclusion of new board members and the need for ongoing board development.

Conflict is always present for our congregations and schools. It is best to seek out training to address conflict in a biblical manner rather than waiting for the conflict to grow to the point that it becomes harmful to the ministry and the individuals. Pastor Marty Hasz has done extensive training with Ambassadors of Reconciliation and is available to offer workshops for congregations, schools, or in circuits to help guide back to the Word of God as we live together.

From Vacation Bible School to youth ministry, from community outreach to the sharing of staff members, there are growing numbers of examples of congregational collaboration across the District. Pastor Bill Geis has worked with mission leaders from across the Synod to develop “Shared Ministry Models,” a workshop that lays out examples of how congregations work together that are applicable to every context. Pastor Geis and President Hagan will be leading a series of these workshops this fall.

These are just a few of the types of training that the District offers. We continue to offer Plus One coaches to assist in community engagement. And we are also working to develop coaches to equip faith formation in the home. If you are in need of training in any area of congregational life and you want to see how the District can help, please contact Colleen Zaruba ( or 314-590-6200) and she will connect you with our staff.