Staff, Associates and Board
Dr. Nancy S. Going
Interim Executive Director
(919) 399-1612 – Direct Office
Dr. Nancy Going is a twenty-some year veteran of congregational Youth Ministry leadership, and still loves working with kids any chance she gets to do that. She will be come on board the Vibrant Faith team as Interim Executive Director on February 1, 2014. She served as VFM Board Chair for the last six years. She comes to VFM after providing leadership and teaching in the Children Youth and Family Ministry Masters Degree Distributed Learning Program and Center for First Third Ministry the at Luther Seminary.
Nancy lives in Durham, N.C, with her husband Art an Anglican Priest and a church planter. She has a Master of Arts in Counseling from Covenant Seminary, and received her PhD from Luther Seminary on adolescent spiritual development. She enjoys seeing God at work in the unfolding faith stories of people of all ages.
Rev. Dr. David W. Anderson
Presenter, Coach and Author
Rev. Dr. David W. Anderson is a presenter, coach and author at Vibrant Faith Ministries. He has been instrumental in developing the Vibrant Faith Frame (formerly known as The Child In Our Hands Initiative), which helps congregations focus on faith formation and community outreach. He is also the co-developer of the Hand in Hand Congregational Training events that tailor the Vibrant Faith Frame to individual congregations.
David is an ecumenically and internationally recognized leader in faith and family life enrichment. He has worked as a seminary and college instructor, editor of adult Christian curriculum at Augsburg Fortress Publishers, parish pastor and hospital chaplain.
In addition, David has written extensively on partnering home and congregation in faith formation. Some of his publications include:
- Frogs without Legs Can’t Hear: Nurturing Disciples in Home and Congregation (co-author)
- Coming of Age: Exploring the Identity and Spirituality of Younger Men (co-author)
- The Child In Our Hands Leadership Manual
- From the Great Omission to Vibrant Faith
- Vibrant Faith in the Congregation
Rev. Dr. Paul Hill
Emeritus Executive Director
Rev. Dr. Paul Hill has more than 35 years experience in outdoor ministries, lay education, youth and family ministry, and congregational development. He has served as a parish pastor, camp director and taught for 17 years in theological education.
Paul was the developer and first director of the Center for Youth Ministries of Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. While in this role, he launched the youth ministry certification schools and has trained more than 700 youth ministers. Paul has led seminars and workshops across the country on effective practices in vibrant faith formation and on youth and family ministry. He has also served as a national leader for the Lutheran youth gatherings and as president of Lutheran Outdoor Ministries.
Paul is a certified adventure facilitator and utilizes adventure education methods, including low and high element ropes courses, in many of his classes and seminars. He is also a certified camp director, serving as adjunct faculty to the Outdoor Ministry concentration through Luther Seminary’s master’s degree program in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is co-author of many books and articles, including:
- Up the Creek with a Paddle: Building an Effective Youth and Family
- Frogs Without Legs Can’t Hear: Nurturing Disciples in Home and Congregation
- Coming of Age: Exploring Identity and Spirituality in Younger Men
- Operation Fuzzy Squirrel: Effective Youth Ministry Practices
Paul is the co-developer of Hand in Hand: Partnering Home and Congregation and Four Key training events. Both are designed to equip congregations and leaders in effective faith formation practices.
When not working, Paul enjoys life on any lake or body of water, biking, skiing and snorkeling. Paul and his wife, Elaine, have been married for 37 years and enjoy the company of their children, Amber and Josh, as well as their extended family. Paul is the proud grandfather and Monday daycare provider of his grandson!
Vibrant Faith @ Home Team Leader
Leif Kehrwald has worked in family ministry and faith formation on the local, regional and national levels for more than thirty years. Currently, he serves as the VibrantFaith@Home team leader, a service of Vibrant Faith Ministries. Leif has published several books and numerous articles on family life, family ministry, marriage and youth ministry. In his latest publication, The Catholic Faith and Family Bible, Leif served as general editor.
Leif has taught courses on family ministry, parish partnership and family spirituality at Dominican University (Chicago), Loyola University (Chicago), the University of Dayton and Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon. He travels frequently throughout the country offering presentations and workshops on family faith development. Leif and his wife, Rene, have two young adult sons and live in Portland, Oregon.
Presenter and Coach
Jim LaDoux supports the creation, planning and promotion of Vibrant Faith Ministries’ coaching and training services. Jim has a Master of Management Arts degree from Metropolitan State University with a special emphasis in organizational development and strategic planning. For more than 20 years, Jim has served numerous congregations by helping them establish gifts-based ministry programs, small group ministries, youth ministry programs, community outreach programs and strategic initiatives.
Jim and his wife, Gina, and their two young boys, Brett and Kenton, enjoy traveling, camping, board games and serving at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, their home congregation. Some of Jim’s favorite pastimes include kayaking, digital photography, downhill skiing and being a “faith shaper” in the lives of young people.
With thirty-five years experience in sales and marketing, Patty Matthews brings broad experience, expertise and enthusiasm to Vibrant Faith Ministries as its marketing director. Prior to coming to Vibrant Faith Ministries, Patty served as sales and marketing director for Atomic Props and Effects, and sales support manager for EcoWater.
Patty’s passion for her work at Vibrant Faith Ministries is fueled by her faith, being a parent of five grown children and grandparent to seven precious grandchildren, and her role as a pastor’s wife. Patty’s husband, John, serves as Senior Pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Apple Valley, Minnesota.
In her free time, Patty enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, knitting, gardening, traveling and looking for ways to make a difference.
Social Networking Manager
Anna Rendell’s passion for faith development, writing and connecting with others is what brought her to the world of social media. She is now bringing Vibrant Faith Ministries into that world as its social networking manager.
Anna graduated from Augsburg College’s Youth and Family Ministry program, and went on to work as director of Youth Ministries at Grace Lutheran Church in Apple Valley, Minnesota. She has also worked at several Bible camps as a counselor, high school leadership director, and year-round program director. Anna is the author of Girl with Blog (her personal blog), where she has created an active community on Facebook and Twitter. In addition, Anna frequently contributes articles to other websites and blogs.
In her spare time, Anna loves baking, crafting, being outside, and spending time with her husband, Jared, their son, Samuel, and their golden retriever, Nysse.
Project Coordinator, Faith Formation Learning Exchange
John Roberto serves as the project coordinator for Vibrant Faith Ministries’ Faith Formation Learning Exchange. In addition, John is president of Lifelong Faith Associates, where he acts as editor of the Lifelong Faith Journal and coordinator for the Faith Formation 2020 initiative.
John’s most recent publications include: The Spirit and Culture of Youth Ministry; Faith Formation 2020; Living Well: Christian Practices for Everyday Life; Becoming a Church of Lifelong Learners; and four volumes of intergenerational learning programs in the People of Faith series.
John was the founder and director of the Center for Ministry Development, where he worked for 28 years. John continues to serve as a consultant to churches and national organizations; teach courses and conduct workshops in faith formation; and author books and program manuals in youth ministry, family ministry and intergenerational faith formation. John created the theory and practice of Generations of Faith—an intergenerational, lifelong approach to faith formation. He also administered the five-year Lilly Endowment-funded project to develop lifelong faith formation in Catholic parishes across the United States.
Specializes in: Coaching, Consulting, Vibrant Faith Frame and Youth Ministry
Tom Schwolert joins the Vibrant Faith Ministries’ team after spending more than 26 years in youth and family ministry at churches in Minnesota and Texas. Along with his vast experience and a master’s degree in Children, Youth and Family Ministry, Tom brings a passion for helping others learn that they are capable of being faith builders in their everyday lives.
Tom successfully helped the four churches he served shift from being program-based to a more intergenerational and relational focus. As part of these efforts, he developed and oversaw popular weekly intergenerational ministries that included worship, study and community life. Tom also created Full Circle training that resulted in unique workshops in homes to enliven the faith of families and neighborhoods. In addition, his community outreach encouraged churches, law enforcement, schools and non-profit organizations to partner together to provide a healthy community for youth. Tom is a certified peer ministry and parenting trainer. Tom is uniquely gifted as a presenter, speaker and facilitator for large and small gatherings. He has the ability to assess and move churches from current realities to using the power of family for the movement of the Spirit in people of all ages.
Tom resides in Texas with his wife, Melanie, and two daughters, Zoey (16) and Jazmine (20). The Schwolert family was also blessed with a son, Max, who died from a virus at the age of 17 on December 29th, 2012. In his free time, Tom enjoys playing guitar and singing, fishing, golfing, playing racquetball and spending time with his family.
- Dealing with Losing a Child
- Youth Leadership in Student Ministry
- Small Group Facilitator Training
- Parenting in Contemporary Culture
- Connecting Church to Community
- Using the Bible in the Family without Freaking Everyone Out
- Involving Young People in Worship Leadership
- Exemplary Youth Ministry Trainer
- Moving from Program to Relationship Centered Ministry
- Giving Ministry Away: Moving from One Expert to Many Experts
- Developing a New Job Description for Youth and Family Ministry
- Developing a Plan for Ministering to Families
- Hiring Children, Youth and Family Staff Planning
- Milestones Ministry
- Developing Home and Congregation Faith Practices
Part-Time Shipping and Inventory Coordinator
Julianne Simmons brings her customer service and project management experience to her part-time position as Shipping, Inventory and Development Coordinator.
In her free time, Julianne employs her passion for music and photography by leading bell choir at their church camp and recording her daughter’s musical concerts and plays through pictures! Julianne and her husband, Kent, enjoy traveling and taking walks with their dog, Rosie.
Associates are gifted presenters who lead workshops, seminars, and conferences on behalf of Vibrant Faith Ministries. Many provide consulting and coaching services designed to help congregations fulfill their vision for youth and family ministry. Please contact Jim Ladoux at 877-239-2492 to make use of their services.
Nicole Havelka passionately believes the renewal of the church will come from helping the Sunday morning experience live 24/7. For five years, she has served the wider church doing training, coach- ing and leadership development in the United Church of Christ, first in the Iowa Conference UCC and now in Michigan. She previously served at Chicago Theological Seminary in a Lilly-grant funded pro- gram to help high school youth discern their sense of God’s call to vocation. She is also one of the only people to have served a congregation of children and teenagers when she worked as a chaplain at a treatment facility for young people with mental illness and behavioral disorders. Her background in journalism and theater and experience as a yoga student and teacher give her additional creative resources as she develops worship that honors, but also innovates, traditional liturgies. Nicole en- courages you to connect with her by “Liking” her Facebook page and following her on Twitter (@revnhavelka) and Pinterest where she posts ideas, resources and articles about church transformation. You can also read her thoughts on her blog, www.prayitforward247.com.
When she’s not in church, Nicole can be found doing yoga, cooking for friends or swimming, biking and running. Nicole recently completed her first Olympic-distance triathlon and is eager to try another one!
Specialty: Certification School
A Diaconal Minister is called to walk with one foot in the sacred world and the other in the secular world, constantly building bridges to connect these communities. The foundation of the bridge is the light of Christ. Erin Morris lives out this calling by working with youth who are already straddling those two worlds in their daily lives.
The basis of her identity was formed in a small country church in southern Ohio, and God’s call has taken her to large suburban churches in Ohio, Colorado and Minnesota. Erin received her undergraduate degree from Berea College in Kentucky and her master’s degree from Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. Her passion and what keeps her in ministry is her desire that every Christian, young and old, live a life that reflects Christ’s light to others. Erin currently serves as team lead for Youth and Family Ministry at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi, Minnesota.
Specialty: Website Design and Coaching
A congregation’s website is their digital front door, and it should feel just as welcoming as actually walking through the front door of the church. Jared Rendell combines website design with coaching to help congregations cultivate an online presence that encourages visitors to engage more with that faith community. With a background in youth and outdoor ministry, Jared serves as a “translator” between technical language and church language.
Jared specializes in designing WordPress websites for bloggers, small businesses, nonprofit organizations and ministries. A coach by training and personality, he partners with church leaders to develop tools, strategize, and follow through on ways to attract new and current members to the congregation’s website. He is passionate about helping ministries move toward the cutting edge of technology, design and innovation rather than lag behind.
Jared is married to Anna, Vibrant Faith Ministries’ social media expert, and has two children. When he isn’t designing websites, he works full-time at Thrivent Financial, and is involved in a number of other vocational and avocational adventures. He loves being outside, and would always rather be paddling his canoe through the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota.
View the brochure to learn more about our website coaching and design program,
Over the past 25 years, Debbie has facilitated, overseen, organized, and developed faith formation programs from infants through adults in the congregational setting. In addition to her role as Associate Consultant at Vibrant Faith Ministries, Debbie is Project Coordinator for Milestones Ministry and a Curator for the Faith Formation Learning Exchange. As a volunteer, she serves as president for LACE (Lutheran Association of Christian Educators), a national support network for resources in congregations.
She has worked intricately with Faith Inkubators resources and has consulted and led events across the United States and in Australia for congregations focusing on the importance of establishing faith practices in the congregation and in the home.
Her background is in language. Coupled with her passion for family ministry, she uses her knowledge and experience learned from teaching languages as a tool to implement systems for teaching about immersion in the language of faith. Her vision is to involve all ages in faith formation, strengthen family relationships through Spiritual growth, and empower God-given gifts to do ministry.
Debbie has lived in many places across the country, in Spain, and in Japan thanks to her husband’s career in the Navy. She and her husband, Burt, have three sons, a daughter-in-law, and two grandsons.
Board of Directors
Mdiv Student – Luther Seminary
St. Paul, MN
Board Vice President
Executive Director, Luther Crest Bible Camp
Reverend Shannyn Magee
Saint John Lutheran Church
Council Bluffs, IA
Canon for Youth and Young Adults/Vicar, St. Jude’s Church
Luther Seminary Professor Emeritus
New Brighton, MN
Reverend Paul Nelson
Pastor, Immanuel Lutheran Church
Eden Prairie, MN
Vice President, Research and Development
The Right Reverend William H. (Chip) Stokes
Bishop of New Jersey (Episcopal Church)
Trenton, New Jersey
Dr. Phyllis Tickle
Editor, Author and Lecturer