Great Lakes Theological Academy 2014

Traverse City, Michigan

July 28 – August 1, 2014

The Basics

Where: Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 1050 Peninsula Drive, Traverse City, Michigan, (231) 947-9880
When: July 28-August 1
Speakers: Rick Barger, President of Trinity Lutheran Seminary; Sarai Rice, former Field Consultant at the Alban Institute
Theme: "Change that Gives Life, for the Sake of the World"

The time in which we live requires a different kind of leader. With new and emerging trends in congregational behavior, the collapse of the Constantinian synthesis, and a hurricane of change, church leaders have to be adaptive rather than technical. They have to ask the right questions in order to focus on God’s mission.

Why is change so hard for people and congregations? Within the context of congregational life, how do we practice change in a way that normalizes it for pastors and congregational leaders? How do we create change with excellence?

Come and learn how to manage change in a way that gives life to your congregation - for the sake of the world.


Early Bird (Before July 1): $180
Regular (July 1 - July 28): $195
Fulltime Student Rate: $90
Accompanying Guest: $90

To register securely online (before July 28), click here. (Great Lakes info is toward the bottom.)

file pdfBrochures with registration information were mailed on 5/20/14. For a PDF of the brochure, click here.

Participants will be gifted in these areas of effective change:

  • Adaptive leadership
  • Asking the right questions for missionally-driven change
  • Why change is hard
  • Why and how we continue to live out of assumptions handed to us from previous ages in the church's history and culture's memory
  • How change is a culture, not an event
  • Spiritually enriching tools for the work of change

Speaker Bios

barger rick low great lakesRick Barger

The Rev. Dr. Robert C. “Rick” Barger began his term as president of Trinity Lutheran Seminary on September 1, 2013. He is 1989 graduate of Trinity and has served as the pastor of three congregations, most recently Epiphany Lutheran Church in Suwanee, Georgia. Prior to his call to Epiphany in 2008, he served for 15 years as the lead pastor at Abiding Hope Lutheran Church in Littleton, Colo., and four years as pastor at Calvary Lutheran Church in Apollo Beach, Fla.

Dr. Barger earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s degree in construction engineering and management. He entered seminary with 12 years of international executive experience, focused primarily in the Middle East.

During his pastoral ministry Dr. Barger supervised 13 of Trinity’s former interns and taught on Trinity’s campus. He is the author of A New and Right Spirit: Creating an Authentic Church in a Consumer Culture and has a passion for developing “authentically transformational leaders.”

Inspired by a trip to Haiti in 1997, he founded and now serves as chair of the Haitian Timoun Foundation, a grassroots consortium that invests in the development and self-sustainability of the youth and children of Haiti.

sarai schnucker riceSarai Schnucker Rice

Rev. Sarai Schnucker Rice is the Executive Director of the Des Moines Area Religious Council and a former Field Consultant for the Alban Institute, specializing in strategic planning, staffing, and governance issues. Sarai is a graduate of Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman University) and Yale Divinity School.

Prior to beginning her work with DMARC, Rev. Rice served as an Interim Presbytery Executive for the Presbyteries of the Twin Cities Area and North Central Iowa. She also taught at Memphis Theological Seminary (Cumberland Presbyterian) in Memphis, Tennessee, served as a co-pastor at Northminster Presbyterian Church in Ames, Iowa, and was the Executive Director of Ecumenical Ministries of Iowa.

Lodging Possibilities

(Please note: There are many, many options for lodging in Traverse City. These are just a few possibilities we sleuthed out near Bethlehem Lutheran Church. You can likely find cheaper rates outside the city or by using discount websites. Due to the Film Festival, rates are somewhat higher during this week. Rates listed below are variable. There is no special rate for participants in the Theological Academy.)

Keith J. Charters Traverse City State Park
1132 US-31 N., Traverse City, MI 49686-3069
~$4.50, $27, $100-$200, depending on site

Best Western Four Seasons

305 Munson Avenue (US 31), Traverse City, MI 49686-3069

Bayshore Resort
833 East Front Street, Traverse City, MI 49686
(800) 634-4401

Comfort Inn
460 Munson Ave. (US HWY 31)
Traverse City, MI, 49686
(231) 778-8000

Cambria Suites
255 Munson Avenue (US31), Traverse City, MI, 49686
(231) 778-9000

Grand Beach Resort Hotel
1683 US 31 N, Traverse City, MI 49686
1 800-968-1992
Rate: ~$359