2020 Fall Theological Conference



The Pastor in a Secular Age
Being a pastor is no easy task in our time. Institutions are weaker, budgets are in decline, people are uninterested, and commitment is wavering.  But these are only symptoms of a bigger issue (and this was all before the pandemic).  These presentations will seek to peer beneath the symptoms and explore why many pastors find themselves in an identity crisis.  The presentation examines what living in a secular age does to pastoral identity and how pastors can find new footing within it.

The Fall Theological Conference is for SW MN Synod Pastors, Deacons, TEEM Students, Interns, Synodically Authorized Lay Ministers, and paid staff youth coordinators.

By action of the 1988 Synod Assembly, this conference has been designated as an “official synodical event.” This means that all pastors and deacons under call or appointment are expected to attend. If you must be absent, please email Bishop Jon Anderson at [email protected].

If you are not able to join the FTC due to a funeral, illness, or have an excused absence you will be able to access the Zoom recording for a fee of $15. Please email [email protected].

Registration Information
Click here to register!
Registration fee: $30 per person.

Dr. Andrew Root will be presenting at the synod office to a live Zoom room and in person to a small group following COVID-19 guidelines. The majority of FTC attendees will attend by Zoom. Only 10 people may attend in person at the synod office. Registration to attend in person will be at a first come, first serve basis. [clear-line]

Zoom Chats!
Throughout the conference there will be opportunities to chat with the synod staff and Deacon Terri Endres from Portico in separate Zoom rooms. We have set up 30 minute time blocks for the following people: (Sign-up opening on Friday, Sept. 4th)

Bp. Jon Anderson
Rev. Kathryn Skoglund
Rev. Stephen Cook
Rev. Dee Pederson
Deacon Terri Endres
Gifts of Grace Zoom Room (Pr. Andrew Hermodson-Olsen, Program Director and Pr. Kelly France, Program Developer)

Click here to sign-up for a Zoom Chat!

As always, your synod staff is available to take your phone calls and emails during regular office hours, but because of the digital format of FTC we would like to create an opportunity for you to connect one on one with synod staff. 

All Zoom links will be emailed out one week prior to the conference to the email provided in your registration.[clear-line]

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Andy Root 

AndyRoot 5 200x300 1Andrew Root joined Luther Seminary in 2005.  He is often mentioned as one of the leading scholars in youth ministry and practical theology in the world.  His first book Revisiting Relational Ministry (IVP, 2007) presented a new trajectory for youth ministry, offering the field one of the first robust theological projects.  Since then, Root has published sixteen books, many of which have been found on lists for book of year.  His 2011 book, The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry, was awarded Book of Merit by Christianity Today. 

Root has also offered important texts on pastoral ministry more generally, asserting that “the theological substance of youth ministry is no different than ministry generally; my concern is to discuss how real people (whether young or old) experience the living presence of God.”  His books The Promise of Despair, The Relational Pastor, and Christopraxishave all offered new visions for pastoral practice and practical theology.  Root’s unique theological project is see all of theology through the lens of ministry, particularly exploring God’s own act and being as fundamentally ministry. 

From 2015 to 2018 Root was the principal leader for 1.2 million dollar John Templeton Foundation grant called “Science for Youth Ministry.” 

Root’s latest project is a three volume series with Baker Academic called “Ministry in a Secular Age.”  Volume one was released as Faith Formation in a Secular Age in October 2017. Volume two, titled The Pastor in a Secular Age releases late Spring 2019, with volume three to follow.  In this series Root uses Charles Taylor’s thought to explore the challenges of ministry, offering a theological and ministerial response.  Root is known as a leading thinker on the thought of Charles Taylor, secularity, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, modernity, science and ministry, pastoral theology, practical theology, and youth ministry. 

Andrew Root is a sought-after speaker at conferences, colleges, and churches.  He is known for an engaging style that laces together stories, theological depth, and humor.  He has lectured and presented all over the world, including South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and throughout Europe. [clear-line]


Monday, October 12th 

9:15 a.m. Welcome
9:30-10:30 “Why are They Leaving? Mis-Diagnosing Our Challenges in a Secular Age” by Dr. Andy Root
10:30-10:45 Break
10:45-11:15 Q&A by Dr. Andy Root
11:15-12:00 Synod PSAs: Continuous Growth Pathways, Gifts of Grace, Portico
12:00-1:30 p.m. Lunch (Main Zoom room will be closed.)
1:30-2:30  “Ministry Inside the Immanent Frame: The Task of Speaking of God in a Secular Age” by Dr. Andy Root
2:30-2:45 Break
2:45-3:15 Q&A by Dr. Andy Root
3:30-5:00 Zoom Chats (Optional)
6:30p.m. Social Time via Main Zoom Room
(Anyone who wants to form their own affinity groups are free to do so w/ own Zoom accounts.)

Tuesday, October 13th 

9:15 a.m. Welcome
9:30-10:30  “Families, the Good Life, the Need for a Story: Or Why Everything Else is More Important than Church” by Dr. Andy Root
10:30-10:45 Break
10:45-11:15 Q&A by Dr. Andy Root
11:15-1:00 p.m. Lunch (Main Zoom room will be closed.)
1:00-1:30 Synod PSAs
1:30-3:00 Bishop’s Time
3:30 Zoom Chats (Optional)
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