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Jan. 6-10, 2020

California Lutheran Executive Skills Workshop

for Pastors & Church Leaders


This continuing education event for pastors and church leaders will explore how concepts from a MBA program can be applied to the arena of congregational life. This event is for any denomination.

For the 6th year, California Lutheran University offers a week of continuing education with faculty from the School of Management at Spirit in the Desert!  In the complex environment of congregational management, we all can use new tools for ministry.  Each day, we explore a different theme.

All three levels run at the same time. This is due to our desire to create synergies between the participants as they join together in housing, meals and breaks while participating in different levels/classes.  Level 1 is the prerequisite to Level 2/3. Note that you cannot take both levels at the same time. Also, the workshop cannot be broken into parts for different participants from the same church. Each participant is expected to attend for all courses. A 10% discount is given to the the 2nd (or more) attendees from same church.

  Level 1 will include:

  • Finance – The Importance of Numbers
  • Leadership – What is Your Leadership Style?
  • Marketing- What is Marketing?
  • Information Systems – Ministry in a Digital Age
  • Strategic Questions – The Five Most Important Questions You Can Ask
    Emerging technology for pastors will identify a framework for evaluating choices about new technology for worship, pastoral care, and other church functions. Various emerging technologies for churches will be considered, such as virtual reality, livestreaming worship (both directions), drones, new social media, and the like. New technologies appear frequently – how do we make the best use of those (and avoid others) to accomplish our mission?
  • Entrepreneurship – What is our Value Proposition?

Level 2/3 will include:

  • Human Resources – Getting the Right People in the Right Job
  • Leadership and Spirituality – Why does Spirituality Matter in Leadership?
  • Strategy – How to Go From Good to Great
    What is Strategic Thinking?Rather than traditional strategic planning, which focuses on a set time period of 3 to 5 years, Beth Lewis, President & CEO of 1517 Media has used the concept of strategic thinking as a technique for turning around the organization from near collapse to a vibrant, sustainable ministry and business of publishing. In this session, you’ll learn the basics of adapting to this faster-paced and more flexible way of leading an organization, especially in turbulent times.Strategic Thinking in a Faith-based ContextIn this segment, attendees will take the strategic thinking techniques discussed in the first session and apply them to missional congregational planning. Among the things you will learn are:

    • How to educate members of your congregation about strategic thinking and why it’s important for your missional calling in your context.
    • How to get people thinking strategically for mission rather than tactically.
    • How to assess your environments, both internal & external.
    • Plus, you’ll walk away with specific tools to use in your setting.Practical Tools for Moving Your Ministry from Good to Great
    • In this segment, attendees will discuss the concepts in Jim Collins’ Good to Great and the Social Sectors and how they can be applied to their ministries. This research-based analysis of organizations focuses on leadership, excellence in staffing, embracing the Stockdale paradox, focus, creating a culture of discipline, use of technology and other helpful tools for moving ministries from good to great.
  • Mission – What is a Missional Organization?
  • Organizational Development – How to Make Your Organization Healthy (case studies)
  • Technology – Emerging Technology for Your Organization

This dynamic continuing education program will be limited to 20 registrants for each level. Participants will be invited to bring a particular project or issue that they will focus on during the week. Through lectures, group work, and one-on-one learning participants will gain valuable and needed skills for their work as pastors and church leaders in congregational settings. The participants will live, learn, and work together throughout the week.

*This education event equals 25 contact hours. Your presenters (this can change due to teaching schedules) are: Bruce Gillies; Kapp Johnson; Bonnie Johnson; Beth Lewis; Becca Merrill; Alan Nelson; Warren Chain; Mike Panesis.

Schedule: Begins with a working Lunch on Jan 6 (don’t miss lunch!). Ends with Lunch on Jan 10.

Registration and costs: 

  • 13 meals: From Lunch on 1/6/20 ending with Lunch on 1/10/20, also snacks/beverages throughout the workshop. [Meals include vegetarian and limited gluten-free options for those with allergy/celiac disease. We do not accommodate vegan.]
  • 4 nights lodging (private or shared rooms–all rooms have private baths and balconies)
  • Commuters welcome–fee covers all meals and tuition.
  • Part of the inclusive fee below is your tuition of $450 per person, which is required upon registration. Balance is due by Nov. 1, 2020. Please call if you need to set up a different payment schedule due to continuing education funds.
  • Participants must purchase their own books. A required reading list will be sent out in early October.

$745.00 Commuter (includes tuition & ALL meals)
$1195.00 Private Room w/Bath (includes tuition & ALL meals) Due to space, private rooms are reserved for medical purposes ONLY.
$1070.00 Shared Room w/Bath (includes tuition & ALL meals)

To Register:  call (480) 488-5218 x 430, or email to:  info@spiritinthedesert.org

*Currently, we have the ability to offer additional lodging before the retreat on Sunday January 5, 18 rooms are available now. We have additional lodging after the retreat for 12 rooms on Jan 10, 11 rooms on Jan 11.  Availability can easily change, especially on weekend days of Fri, Sat, Sun, so if you need travel time or personal retreat time before or after, book it NOW! Call Cyndy at (480) 488-5218.