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2021 Fall Theological Conference

October 11, 2021 - October 12, 2021

“Leadership in a Time When Everything Has and Hasn’t Changed”

October 11-12, 2021 – Zoom Gathering

Welcome to this year’s Fall Theological Conference planned especially for Pastors, Deacons, TEEM Students, Interns, Synodically Authorized Lay Ministers, and paid staff youth coordinators. To ensure the greatest comfort and safety for participants, this year’s conference again will be an online gathering via Zoom.

Speakers: Dr. Terri Elton, Professor of Leadership at Luther Seminary and Dr. Michael Chan, Assistant Professor of Old Testament at Luther Seminary.

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 need to be absent, please email Bishop Dee Pederson at [email protected] and CC Kristin Bakeberg, [email protected] in your email.

Registration Information:

Speakers will be presenting at the synod office to a live Zoom room and in person to a small group. The majority of FTC attendees will attend by Zoom. Only 15 people may attend in person at the synod office using both large meeting rooms. Those attending in person are required to wear a mask indoors. Registration to attend in person will be at a first come, first serve basis.

Registration Deadline: Friday, October 1st

Click here to register!

Registration fee: $30 per person.

Registration is per person, even if you are gathering as a small group you will need to register separately. Zoom links will be emailed one week prior to the conference.

Recording Policy: We will be sharing the conference recording after the FTC for a modest additional fee of $15 to replay for personal use. Even If you have an excused absence, you still need to register and pay the registration fee of $30, plus the recording fee of $15. With an online conference and because of the digital format, this policy honors our speakers and our participation together. We value your online presence.

Conference Schedule:
Click here to download and print schedule.

Monday, October 11th

10:00-10:45 a.m. – Welcome and Worship

10:45-12:00 p.m. – Speaker Terri Elton, Ph.D. Professor of Leadership, Luther Seminary
Finding Dynamic Stability in Wilderness Times
We are living in a season of uncertainty and ambiguity. Today the past is not a good predictor of the future; our “way of doing things” has (and continues to be) disrupted, and contextual factors increasingly add complexities to the challenges we face. Just like Google Maps has replaced Rand McNally’s paper atlases, leaders need “GPS-like” capacities for faithfully navigating the ministry that provides dynamic stability. 

12:15-1:00 – Lunch Break

1:15-2:30 – Speaker Michael J. Chan, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Old Testament, Luther Seminary
Promise and Adversity 
Ancient Israel frequently found itself in dire straights, due to famine, military conflict, sin, economic troubles, etc. In the thick of these challenges, the prophets were called to speak words of both demand and promise, and to help orient Israel toward Yhwh’s faithfulness. In this session we will explore these topics in Isaiah 36-37, where Isaiah helps King Hezekiah navigate a life-or-death crisis. 

2:30-3:15 – Ministry Information

3:15-6:30 – Open Time and Time for Dinner

6:30-7:30 – Joint Presentation: Dr. Michael Chan & Dr. Terri Elton
Lament, Promise, and Neighbors: practicing our way into the future
In times of uncertainty, practices ground and guide our lives. This session will introduce 3 distinct practices that faithful to the past, provide meaning in this moment, and propel us into the future. 

7:30-8:30 – Bishop’s Time: Rev. Dr. Dee Pederson


Tuesday, October 12th

8:30 a.m. – Gather

8:45-10:15 – Joint Presentation: Dr. Michael Chan & Dr. Terri Elton
Living a Paradox
We’ve been here before. This is true in many ways. At the same time, we’ve never been here before. A life of faith is always a paradox. What do we need to keep in mind as we lead in this time and place?

10:15-10:45 – Break

10:45-11:15 – Ministry Information

11:15- 12:00 p.m. – Worship

12:00 – Sending


Dr. Terri Martinson Elton is Professor of Leadership at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN. Terri is interested in congregational leadership, innovative ministry, and reimagining faith formation. Her writing includes a contextual approach to forming faith (Journeying in the Wilderness: Forming Faith in the 21st Century), research on confirmation ministry (Cultivating Teen Faith: Insights from The Confirmation Project), and discovering new organizational structures for congregations and nonprofits (Leading Congregations and Nonprofits in a Connected World: Platforms, People, and Purpose, a book she co-authored with Rabbi Hayim Herring). 

Terri is a member of the ELCA and has served in various roles at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Burnsville, MN and as an assistant to the bishop ing the Saint Paul Area Synod. She is married to Eric, and they have two young adult daughters, Jordan and Elizabeth. For more see her website: terrielton.com.

Dr. Michael Chan is Associate Professor of Old Testament at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. He holds degrees from Pacific Lutheran University (B.A.), Luther Seminary (M.A.), and Emory University (Ph.D.). He has authored numerous books and articles related to the Old Testament and is a sought-after adult educator, leader, and group facilitator. His research and teaching focus on theological interpretation of the Old Testament for the sake of the church. In addition to his teaching and research, Chan is deeply involved in a variety of innovation initiatives at Luther Seminary.



October 11, 2021
October 12, 2021
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