Joel Heckendorf - Not Everyone is a Eunice: Creatively Weaving a Theme Throughout the Worship Service
Joel Heckendorf has served in the pastoral ministry since 2001, serving at St. Peter - Schofield, WI (2001-2008), Immanuel – Greenville, WI (2008-2018), and recently took a call to start Light of the Valleys mission in Reno, Nevada. While not necessarily a “WELS Creative” himself, he has been blessed to work side-by-side with worship coordinators, tremendous musicians and marketing minds who helped shape his appreciation of cohesive and compelling worship.
On a personal level, Joel and his wife, Mary, are blessed with three children – Alyssa (19), Caleb (17) and Connor (14) and are learning to adjust to their new life in Reno so that they can echo the locals who sing, “Home Means Nevada.”
Jason Jaspersen - The Artist’s Tribe
Jason Jaspersen has been producing a diverse portfolio of art for the past 20 years. His art works include public sculptures, theological paintings, woodblock prints, Japanese ink paintings, sand animations, and stacks of sketchbooks. He was an art educator at Minnesota Valley Lutheran High School 2001-2018. Jason has recently joined Koiné Worship Media as a full time artist and will be teaching sculpture at Bethany Lutheran College. Clients include Koiné, Martin Luther College, St. Croix Lutheran High School, Kloria Publishers, Time of Grace Ministries, the WELS National Worship Conference, Kingdom Workers, The Lutheran Ceili Orchestra, Design Fugitives, and Men of His Word. Discover Jason’s fresh perspectives on timeless truths at jjjaspersen.com.
Corissa Nelson - Thinking Made Visual: Creating Clear Visual Communication
Corissa Nelson is a designer who can’t help approaching ministry with an architect’s perspective by analyzing community and context, vision casting, and communicating ideas visually. She received her Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies and Master of Architecture Degrees from UW-Milwaukee, where she loved teaching a design studio as an adjunct professor. Corissa worked as a designer for firms in Minnesota and also HGA in Milwaukee’s Third Ward. Recently, Corissa has been living the freelance life – combining art and technology to create illustrations for websites and books, logo design for mission churches, and worship art for download. See her work at corissanelsonart.com.
Sarah Henrich & Lydia Metzger - Risking for the Reward: Navigating Life Moves and Your Creative Career
Sarah and Lydia are cousins through their mothers, and often get mistaken for each other. They have collaborated for various events for many years, combining their love of piano, choral and string music. They are thrilled to have the opportunity to present an address to Hearts and Hands.
Lydia Metzger is an American violinist and music educator who is currently based in St. Albert, Alberta, Canada. She holds a Bachelor of Music- violin performance from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and in December 2017 graduated with high honors from UW with a Masters degree in violin performance. While in the Southern Wisconsin, Lydia taught piano and violin lessons at several schools and performed regularly with area orchestras. She also gave various solo and chamber recitals all across Minnesota and Wisconsin. She moved with her husband Peter Metzger to Alberta in the summer of 2018, where she took Suzuki violin training with Elayne Ras at the Alberta Suzuki Institute. In the Edmonton area, Lydia performs regularly with Symphony Borealis as a first violinist and in various venues around the city. She freelances as a pianist as well. Lydia currently teaches piano and violin group and private lessons at the Visionary Centre of Performing Arts in St. Albert.
Sarah Henrich (nee Zietlow) holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from Martin Luther College and a Master of Arts in Choral Conducting and Pedagogy from The University of Iowa. After graduate school, she moved to Milwaukee, where she was on the faculty at The Wisconsin Conservatory of Music (WCM). At WCM, she filled various roles as Vocal Department Chair, General Music Teacher, Choral Teacher, and Associate Director of the Milwaukee Children’s Choir. She organized and ran The Art Song Festival, an international festival for student and professional singers, as well as WCM's Vocal Arts Camp for 6th-12th grade students. In Milwaukee, she also served as a choral conductor at Grace Downtown.
Sarah has performed recitals in the Milwaukee area and has sung as a chorister with the Professional Core of the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus, Bel Canto Chorus, Canticum Novum, and Denver Symphony Chorus. She freelances as a pianist, as well as a clinician and conductor for adult and children’s choirs. Sarah currently lives in Knoxville, TN, where she plays for worship, teaches, and sings professionally with Symphony of Voices and the Knoxville Chamber Chorale. She is blessed to be married to Pastor Scott Henrich and to be a mother to their daughter, Cora Lynne.
Anna Biedenbender - Bridging the Gap
Anna Leigh Biedenbender is a visual artist, classically trained soprano, mentor, and ministry coordinator based in the Twin Cities. Her multi-faceted, creative life involves painting in her studio in NE Minneapolis; singing with the Twin Cities’ Magnum Chorum, her church's worship team, and, of course, in the studio as she paints; as well as working at Mt Olive, St Paul in designing, implementing, and coordinating communications, worship, and music. She has worked with various mentor programs, galleries, and arts organizations including the Milwaukee Artist Resource Network, Soo Visual Arts Center (Minneapolis), and, most recently, on the board of LutheranArts. She was one of 12 Minnesota artists invited to the Studio:HERE artist-residency program at the 2017 Minnesota State Fair, and her most recent solo exhibitions were at Modus Locus Gallery (Minneapolis) and the Owatonna Arts Center. She holds an MFA in visual art, with an emphasis in painting and drawing, from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design (MCAD, ’16) and centers her studio practice and personal ministry around the human condition, empathy, and vulnerability - all in pursuit of showing people Jesus. // annaleighbiedenbender.com // i: @a_bieds // f: @annaleighbiedenbenderstudio
Jeffrey Bonack - Creative Sermon Series: It Takes a Village
Jeffrey grew up on a dairy farm near Mayville, WI. He attended Northwestern College in Watertown and Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon. Since graduation he has served as youth and family pastor, worship pastor and counseling pastor at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Muskego, WI. One of Jeffrey’s great loves is overseeing all worship and creative arts planning at St. Paul’s. Additionally, Jeffrey is currently pursuing a masters in clinical mental health counseling with the goal of opening a congregational community counseling center within the next couple of years.
Jeffrey and his wife, Laura, have been married 27 years and have 8 children – 4 daughters (Anna, Emma, Rose, Victoria) and 4 sons (Josiah, Julien, Elisha, Westley). They recently purchased a small hobby farm and are working toward becoming as self-sufficient as possible. Jeffrey loves to run, garden and spend as much time as possible outdoors.
Sean Floeter - Lighting for the Church
Sean holds a BFA in Technical Theater with an emphasis in Lighting Design from UW-Whitewater. He is currently the Technical Director for the Oconomowoc Arts Center. In addition to his work at Oconomowoc he runs his own sound and lighting company, does freelance work with various companies in southeastern wisconsin, and is a camera operator and does lighting maintenance for Time of Grace Ministries. If all that wasn’t enough he also is a Factory Authorized Service Technician for Electronic Theater Controls, a world wide leader in theatrical lighting, rigging, and control systems. He has been working in the theater and live entertainment industry for over 15 years.
Zach Gebert - Craft Worship: Organic & Locally Sourced
Zach is on staff at Bethany in Appleton, WI as a pastor overseeing Bethany’s vision, worship, and marketing. Since 2015, he’s been primarily at Bethany’s Lynndale Campus, which is also the host site of Our Shepherd Childcare where he works to build bridges between church and childcare.
For the last 3 years, Zach has been working on crafting a worship experience at Bethany’s Lynndale Campus targeted for a very narrow demographic, unchurched families with children ages 0-5. He’s learned a lot about thinking creatively to engage people with the gospel in a worship experience that’s meaningful and natural to them. His wife, Kerin, is his perpetual sounding board for bad (and every now and then good) ideas. His two daughters, Annora and Evie, keep him up-to-date on the cultural trends and buzzwords of the 0-5 generation.
Arik McGathey - Arranging Songs to Fit Your Context
Arik McGathey is the music and youth coordinator for Carbon Valley Lutheran Church in Firestone, CO. Arik graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran College where he studied percussion and voice and graduated with a degree in music theory and composition. After several years working for Hal Leonard, Arik and his wife Lisa moved to Colorado. He enjoys arranging for small ensembles of unique combinations, which applies well in a mission setting.
Tim Nolte - Hollywood Quality production on a small church budget
Tim Nolte is a director and producer, and has quickly gained a strong reputation in the Denver independent film community for a number of award-winning short films. He graduated from Colorado Film School, one of Hollywood Reporters top 25 film schools, and founded Maskil Productions Ltd in 2012.
He is currently in preproduction on his first feature-length film, a Christian romantic comedy called Lying Together. He handles the video and tech work for Carbon Valley Lutheran, a mission church north of Denver, and works as a freelance director and cinematographer in television and commercial work. A Colorado native, he lives near Boulder, Colorado.
Caleb Schmiege - Writing Songs for Worship: Inspiration, Relation, and Communication
Caleb Schmiege is a pastor at Divine Savior Church & Academy in Doral, Florida. At Divine Savior, he teaches religion, leads worship, and serves as lead campus pastor. Caleb lives in Doral with his beautiful, supportive, loving wife, Elise.
Caleb’s creative energy is often dedicated to worship and music. In his own words, Caleb is interested in fostering worship that “directs people to Christ by communicating clearly, welcoming creativity, and encouraging authenticity.” The biggest way he works toward that goal is by creating new songs for use in worship. Caleb loves to arrange hymns, write new songs, and compose new tunes to existing texts. Caleb has a compulsive instrument-collecting problem. He plays over a dozen instruments and is always looking for another to add to his collection.
Paul Trapp - Color, Symbolism, and Interpretation of Visual Art
Paul Trapp is known for his painting of interior and exterior places. Mainly working in acrylic, he depicts distorted domestic spaces with doors and windows that open up to sea and landscapes.
Being influenced by the Cubists and the San Fransisco Bay Area painters, his work has moments of visual distortion that contradict our typical perception of reality. He does this to show that the mundane and ordinary are not what they appear to be, because our experience of them can be unique, magical, and filled with wonder.
Paul earned his MFA in painting from Illinois State University in 2011. He currently resides in Portland, Oregon with his wife, son, and a Guide Dogs for the Blind puppy in training. paulsilastrapp.com
Danny Wegner - Training Youth to Serve as Part of a Worship Team
Danny Wegner has served on staff as the Worship Arts Director at NorthCross Lutheran Church (formerly known as Bethlehem Lutheran Church) in Lakeville, MN for the past four years. His duties include coordinating and training worship teams, recruiting volunteers, leading worship, sound design, graphic design, and social media and video development for NorthCross. In coordination with NorthCross he also founded Wegner Music Academy in 2014 as a way to train musicians, specifically youth, to serve on their church worship team.
Danny is a graduate of Bethany Lutheran College where he studied Communications and Music and met his wife Heather. Together, they have a ten month old son named Judah. In his free time Danny enjoys fishing, skiing, videography, and writing and producing music. Most recently he released an album entitled "Mysteries". His music can be found on Itunes, Spotify, and most music platforms.
Mike Westendorf - Communication and the Worship Leader: Exploring the Why to Figure Out the How
Since 2007, Mike’s music and ministry has touched the lives of thousands of people through various concerts, worship services and speaking engagement. With a heart that beats for the spiritual well-being of young adults and a love for the local church and community, Mike’s music echoes the opening passages from Psalm 89 “I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever, with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations”. Mike’s music and songs are rich with biblical texts that speak to the Gospel hope and an encouragement. Whether as a solo artist or with a full band of talented musicians his concerts are always upbeat, yet contemplative and inspirational with moments of invitation for everyone who comes, to add their own voice to the songs and stories.
As a WELS worship leader, Mike has worked with dozens of churches over the years to present the heart of the story of God’s faithfulness in fresh and meaningful ways. With a clear focus on the traditional content of Lutheran worship, the songs and services encourage participation as a congregation from start to finish. Mike is part of the Ministry at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Muskego, WI and was recently part of the team that developed a comprehensive sermon series and set of resources to help people of all ages and stations of life to recommit to the strengthening of spiritual, biological and functional Family Churches that ultimately serve as the healthy foundation of the local church.
Mike has been a professional consulting and on-air meteorologist since 1998, young adult ministry leader since 2007 and a Christian recording artist with 9 albums since 2004. Mike is also a worship leader and member of the ministry team at St. Paul's Muskego. From Milwaukee, WI he married his wife Melissa in 1997 and together they have three children. mikewestendorf.com