Canceled - Workshop: Exploring Congregational Partnerships in Neighboring Communities | Michigan District, LCMS

Canceled - Workshop: Exploring Congregational Partnerships in Neighboring Communities

Saturday, September 22, 2018 - 08:30 am to 03:30 pm EDT

Our Savior Lutheran Church
7910 E St Joe Hwy
Lansing, MI, 48917-8871

Event Description: 

“From Boogey Man to Big Brother”
(From Fear to Friendship)

Exploring Congregational Partnerships in Neighboring Communities

This is the story and lessons learned from an experience born out of desperation. Instead of getting mad at the large intimidating church (the boogey man) and grumbling about the ‘sheep stealer’ up the road, this small church stepped through its fears and asked, “How does that big church do it?”  We should ask them!” Someone replied, “Let’s ask them!” The question became a conversation. The conversation grew into a partnership. The boogey man became big brother.

St. Peter, Vernon Center (a town of 300) was down to 20-30 people in worship. Average worship attendance is now 90-100. Young families are attending. There are baptisms, Sunday School, confirmation, and outreach activities that are touching the lives of residents and neighbors of Vernon Center and the surrounding area.

Registration Information: 

Registration cost is $14.00 and includes a boxed lunch and drink.

Deadline to register is September 13, 2018.


Rev. Dennis Heiden

Pastor Dennis Heiden was born and raised in Minnesota. He attended Concordia University, St. Paul and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. Dennis is married to Sheila. They have four grown children who are married and are blessed with eleven wonderful grandchildren. Dennis has served congregations in Nebraska, Michigan, and Minnesota since 1983. He has served as Lead Pastor at Hosanna Lutheran Church, in Mankato, since 2010. In the past six years, Hosanna has purchased and planted a church at the campus chapel at Minnesota State University. In that same period of time, Hosanna has also partnered with St. Peter Lutheran Church in Vernon Center, MN. The partnership helped turn a small congregation, in a mode of desperation, into a thriving church dedicated to serving its community.

Dean and Tammy Sonnabend

Dean and Tammy Sonnabend are a husband-and-wife team from a small town in rural Southern Minnesota. They operate a family farm of 2,300 acres and were recently named Blue Earth County Farm Family of the year for 2018. Dean has been on many local agricultural boards and is Supervisor for their Township Board, where Tammy is the Clerk and Treasurer.

Dean and Tammy have been actively involved with St. Peter’s Lutheran Church for the past 25 years. Dean is the current Vice-Chair and past Finance Board Chairman. Tammy is currently the secretary and past Treasurer of St. Peter’s. They are both on the call committee, and have been involved in the on-going partnership discussion with Hosanna since the beginning. 

Dean and Tammy have three adult children and two grandchildren.

Will Purvis

Will is the president of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Vernon Center, Minn. Will worked as a Deputy Sheriff for over 30 years and currently serves as an elected County Commissioner in Blue Earth County. He has also served St. Peter’s as Elder and Sunday school teacher.

He and his wife Paula have been married for 46 years and have been members of St. Peter’s for 40 years. They have two adult children and 5 grandchildren. They live on a farm near Vernon Center.

Michael Omtvedt

Michael Omtvedt was a corporate leader and trainer for over 20 years, and has always had a passion to make a positive difference in the lives of people. Realizing that the most positive impact comes in one’s relationship to Jesus Christ, Omtvedt attended Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Mo. through the Specific Ministry Pastoral program and graduated in February 2017. He now serves as an associate pastor at Hosanna Lutheran Church in Mankato, Minn. as a part of their caregiving ministries. More recently, he began walking with smaller congregations to help them navigate through a challenging and ever-changing culture. Omtvedt’s highest priority has always been one of relationships, stating that “People don’t care what you know until they know you care.” Omtvedt recently celebrated 30 years of marriage with His wife Rhonda and has been blessed with 4 boys and 2 grandchildren.

Agenda Details: 

Saturday, September 22, 2018 

  8:30 - 9:00 a.m.  Arrive, meet and greet, coffee and juice 
  9:00 a.m.  Introductions and opening prayer - Rev. Dr. Rob Kasper, MI District
  9:15 a.m.  The Story's Characters are Developed - Rev. Dennis Heiden and team
  10:15 a.m.  Break
  10:30 a.m.  The Story's Scene is Set - Rev. Dennis Heiden and team
  11:40 a.m.  Break for lunch 
  12:30 p.m.  The Story Unfolds - Rev. Dennis Heiden and team
  1:30 p.m.  Break
  1:45 p.m.  The Story Tells a Story and Offers Some Learning 
  2:45 p.m.  Debrief and Q & A - Rev. Todd Jones, MI District
  3:15 p.m.  Closing prayer and dismissal 

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