About the Speakers:

Rev. Michael K. Hurst has been Pastor-Teacher of Elim Christian Fellowship of Des Moines, Iowa, Inc. since its inception on October 14, 2001. Elim is a strong supporter of reconciliation among the races, genders, classes, cultures and denominations. People from all races, religions, age groups and denominational affiliations are welcomed to worship and seek God’s face. Pastor is married to formerly known Cheryl Jackson and has two children.

Elim’s mission is to create worship that touches the heart of God, as a result, the wounded feel welcome and the faithful experience the freedom to have fellowship with Christ. To this end, God’s presence produces the joy which enables his children to find the peace which passes all understanding. Pastor-Teacher Michael K. Hurst is a 1991 graduate of Colgate-Rochester Divinity School where he received the Master of Divinity Degree in Theology.

Additionally, Pastor Hurst completed undergraduate work at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan receiving the Bachelor of Arts Degree as a Communication  Arts major with a minor in Volunteer Administration.  Prior to his ministry at Elim, Michael K. Hurst served as Pastor-Teacher of the Historical Bethel A.M.E. Church in Chicago, Illinois as well as Pastor-Teacher of the St. Paul A.M.E. Church in Des Moines, Iowa. His ministry is biblical-based, God-centered, and Holy Ghost directed as it relates to implementing relevant and insightful ministries to resurrect God’s children. Along with his ministerial experience, he is the Godly proud father of two children, Michael II and Imari Noelle.  He also loves his church family.


Dr. Bill Withers has over two decades of management and leadership experience in both business and education, and he is a two-time presenter at the International Conference on Business in Honolulu, where he fell in love with the “Aloha shirts” he’s often seen wearing…

His work and service with churches is also extensive.  He served on the ELCA/Churchwide communications advisory committee years ago, and has also done strategic planning, trainings, and workshops for churches and their pastoral and lay-leaders from synods as far away as Texas, to those around the Midwest.  In his home church, he’s been a lay-teacher, music worship leader, Church Council member, and served on the senior pastor and administrator call committees.

Bill has studied, and in some cases served, organizations such as Proctor & Gamble, Ritz-Carlton, Disney, Four Seasons, Starbucks, Hy-Vee, and Southwest Airlines, and he was a contributing writer to three books in the areas of leadership and customer service.  He was also invited to do a TED Talk at a recent TEDx event, and that video was just launched on the TEDx YouTube Channel.

Today, Bill continues to serve as a professor and Leadership Fellow at Wartburg College in Northeast Iowa where he was recently name the “Most Influential Professor” by the college’s student leadership society, Sigma Alpha Pi. The I-T-A Group, a national event-management company, has named Bill one of their top workshop and speaker recommendations two years running. Dr. Withers continues to specialize in the areas of public relations, customer service, organizational change, and leadership.

Rev. Louise Johnson serves as president at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. Prior to her election in 2015, Johnson had served as vice president for mission advancement at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia since 2012 and as associate director of admissions from 2006 to 2012. She served as associate director of admissions at Wartburg from 1999 to 2004 and as pastor of Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Spragueville, Iowa, from 2000 to 2004.


Sunday, September 23

4:30 – 5:30 pm Reception for “New to Synod” – “First Call” People

5:00 – 5:30 pm Registration at St. Paul

5:30 – 6:30 pm Welcome and Prayer; Cookout and Band

6:30 – 6:50 pm Welcome, Introductions, and Worship – Bishop Burk

7:00-8:00 pm Improv Comedy-Guys in Ties

Monday, September 24

9:00 – 9:15 am Devotions/Announcements

9:15 – 10:15 am Presentation #1 –Dr. Bill Withers, “Our Permanent Whitewater World in Which We Live”:This new era of constant and continuous change is what Dr. Withers refers to as our “permanent whitewater world,” the “new normal.”  Yes, it’s important to “keep both oars in the water,” but Bill will help us better understand more about the human dynamic of adapting to and even leading through changes that may be impacting our churches, their leaders, and our communities.

10:15 – 10:45 am Break

10:45 – 11:45 am Time with the Bishop

Noon – 5:00 pm Lunch on Own/Free Time ( Restaurant Listings 2018)

3:30 pm    Optional:  “Palestine Food and Culture” sponsored by Peace not Walls

          Text Study with Pastor Ryan Cosgrove

5:00 – 6:00 pm Dinner at St. Paul

6:15 – 7:15 pm Presentation #2: Rev. Michael Hurst, “A Chapter Away”

7:30 – 8:30 pm Evening Prayer – Chapel

Tuesday, September 25

9:00 – 9:15 am Devotions/Announcements

9:15 – 10:15 am Presentation #3: Dr. Bill Withers, “The ABC’s of XYZ”: Did you realize you may have as many as five unique generations in your communities and churches? Bill has worked alongside three entire generations over the decades as BOTH a college professor and advisor, and he continues to consult and work with other organizations during this critical time in our generational history. Join Bill as he helps us better understand nuances around the largest segment of the U.S., generations X, Y, and Z and how they might impact your church.

10:15 – 10:45 am Break

10:45 – 11:45 am Holy Communion

11:45 – 12:30 pm Lunch at St. Paul

12:30 – 1:30 pm Presentation #4: Rev. Louise Johnson


A block of rooms has been reserved at a lower group rate at a nearby hotel for your convenience. Rooms reserved for Sunday, September 23 and Monday night, September 24

Radisson Quad City Plaza
111 E 2nd St.
Davenport, Iowa
Room rate: $104 per night plus tax for either single or double room.

  • Complimentary breakfast provided for up to 2 people per overnight room.
  • Complimentary parking in either the City of Davenport’s parking garage or the hotel lot; complimentary parking space to be designated by hotel.  Check with hotel before parking your car to ensure that you are in the lot that will be provided at no cost, otherwise $8.00 per day.

Reservations must be made no later than Tuesday, September 6, 2018

Book Hotel Room Online


Cancellations received less than 72 hours ahead of the reservation date will not be refunded.