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Best Practices 2024

Updated: Apr 8

This past week (February 22-24), dozens of individuals from CNH District churches and schools participated in Best Practices for Ministry (BPM) at Christ Church Lutheran in Phoenix. They joined almost 2700 other participants at this conference from Lutheran churches and ministries all across the United States. BPM was started 12 years ago by Christ Church Lutheran as a way to give back to the members of the LCMS. The conference is totally free to attend, and that includes all meals, snacks, drinks, and more snacks. It is open to professional church workers as well as lay members of congregations. This year’s theme was “You are Loved, You are not Alone, and You Matter.”


The schedule includes keynote speakers, 265 individual breakout sessions, and 184 exhibitors. All of the presenters and speakers volunteer their time and expertise, speaking on topics that range from preaching to leadership to “How to be an Elder.” The conference also includes two worship services.


This conference is funded mainly through a children’s summer program that Christ Church holds each year. If you have not been to a conference like this, you are encouraged to attend BPM in the future!



BPM Reflections By: Gerald Kieschnick


2,500 of My Nearest and Dearest Friends


OK. That number might be a bit exaggerated but not by much. It’s approximately the headcount of folks from around the country who came last week to Best Practices in Ministry, hosted by Christ Church Lutheran (that’s not a typo—that’s the church’s real name) in Phoenix.


One might accurately surmise that many attendees hailed from the Midwest, particularly the upper Midwest. For most people, February in Phoenix beats February in Fargo or Faribault.


It’s called a Free Conference because there’s no registration fee and the generous members and staff at Christ Church provide the food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For free. Along with ice cream bars, cookies galore, innumerable cases of bottled water and soft drinks. For free.


This conference was created more than a decade ago by Senior Pastor Jeff Schrank, a good friend who served with me on the Board of Directors of our national church body, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, during some of my years as national church president in St. Louis.

After his church completed an all-day summer camp for kids, Jeff determined to do something productive with the resulting resources. He wanted to bless church workers and leaders, assuring them in the words of the annual conference theme: “You Are Not Alone!”


Through a simple but ingenious process, anyone who wants to share information, inspiration, and/or encouragement in a 90-min. presentation is invited to propose their theme and a brief description thereof. Prior year attendees get to vote for only a few of the 500 options presented.

After the votes are tabulated, the 250 successful applicants are informed that their proposal has been accepted. Each presenter is assigned a day, time, and location. The number of attendees at each session can range from single digits to hundreds.


Allowing time for plenary presenters, worship, meals, and breaks, the schedule allows each attendee to attend a maximum of only eight individual sessions. That means everyone misses the other 242 presentations. Church members and volunteers work hard. Students at Christ Lutheran School handle all the technology. Senior women and men cook, serve, and clean.


Over the years, I’ve been able to present topics related to my work with Lutheran Foundation of Texas/Legacy Deo, including estate planning, charitable giving, and endowment growing. I’ve also shared thoughts on topics like “Quo Vadis, LCMS?” and this year’s topic “Main Reasons for the Rapid Decline of the LCMS.”


Kudos to Pastor Jeff Schrank and the people of Christ Church Lutheran for blessing me and 2,500 of my nearest and dearest friends last week, including my dear Terry!


God has promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you!” I pray and trust that each of you, wherever you may be, will be assured: “You Are Not Alone!” And Happy Leap Year Day, you all!





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