“Christianity without Discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.” This quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German professor and pastor whose passion for Christ led him to martyrdom, makes a powerfully true statement about Christianity. Becoming and helping others who help others to become more like Jesus Christ is crucial to our faith. This is discipleship in a nutshell. Discipleship appears to be the order of the day for the church, as many ministry groups are focusing on it, state assemblies are resourcing it in great measure, and nearly every new conference seems to be making it their theme. Unlike many of the church fads that have come and gone, Discipleship hopefully is here to stay, as it has its foundational roots in the Great Commission of Jesus Christ. He commissioned, instructed, and equipped us to do so.

Our 2020 Ministers Retreat will focus on Discipleship, as Dr. Denny Heiberg will share with us the exciting program and process utilized by the Bonhoeffer Project. The Bonhoeffer Project is patterned after Bonhoeffer’s Grand Experiment, where he trained pastors in an illegal seminary in Germany, focusing first and foremost on Discipleship. As Dr. Heiberg shares with us, we will become aware of the straightforward goal of the Bonhoeffer Project: “…to encourage each participant to become a disciple making leader. Once that decision has been made, then to provide the participant with the knowledge necessary to carry out a plan for making disciples who also will make disciples.” The focus is on intentionally creating a plan for discipleship, carried out in 10 monthly gatherings, with specific monthly projects that bring life to the plan.

The potential benefits to the Kingdom of God are significant, as we empower people to be disciple makers who make disciples. We hope that you will join us for this exciting time of learning, fellowship, food, and fun. It may just be the perfect Discipleship resource for you and your people.

Mark Richardson

Keynote Speaker

Rev. Mark Richardson

State Pastor

Rev. Mark Kevin Richardson was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. He is the son of Harrison and Josephine Richardson. He is a first generation Church of God member, and minister, having grown up in the Catholic Church. He was educated in Akron through graduation from Archbishop Hoban High School. He attended Mount Union College, in Alliance, Ohio, graduating in 1979, with a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting, with a minor in Communications. Upon graduation, he worked for the IBM Corporation, from 1979 through 1983. While working in the computer industry from 1985 through 1996, Rev. Richardson developed as a lay minister under the pastoral leadership of Rev. Dr. Ronald J. Fowler in Akron. When his job required relocation to Maryland, from 1989 through 1991, he continued to develop as a lay minister under the pastoral leadership of Rev. Marc Farmer, of the Oakland Mills Church of God in Columbia, MD. Upon his relocation back to Akron in 1992, he resumed his development under Rev. Fowler. Rev, Richardson was ordained in 1994, at the Arlington Church of God.

He came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ under the ministry of Rev. Dr. Ronald J. Fowler, of the Arlington Church of God, in Akron, Ohio, in 1981. He experienced the call on his life for Pastoral Ministry in late 1983, and began the process of preparation for ministry immediately. After a brief time of study at the Anderson University School of Theology, Rev. Mark returned to Akron to develop in ministry while returning to work in the computer industry for Digital Equipment Corporation. In September of 1984 he married the love of his life, Sharon, to whom he has been married for over 34 years. They have two children whom they consider great blessings from God, Anna and Joshua, and another great blessing in grandson, Akhil.

In 1996 he answered the call to his first pastorate, the Lincoln Avenue Church of God in Pittsburgh, PA, where he was the Senior Pastor until July 2002. Since 2002, Rev. Richardson has served as the founding Senior Pastor of the New Life Church of God, in Pittsburgh, PA, a thriving congregation reaching into Pittsburgh and its eastern suburbs. During his time in Western Pennsylvania, he served in the state ministry, as a member, and chair, of the Credentialing Services Team, and as Team Leader of the Church Health Team. Rev. Richardson also served as a member of the Ministries Council of Western Pennsylvania Ministries. For nearly two years from June 2012 through January 2014, Rev. Richardson served as a Co-Director of Leadership Development and Church Multiplication with Church of God Ministries in Anderson, IN, working for the General Director of Church of God Ministries. Currently Rev. Richardson is the President of the General Assembly of WPA Ministries of the Church of God and Chair of the Ministries Council. He is currently a member of the Board of Servant Solutions of the Church of God. Rev. Richardson is also a Coach with the Leadership Focus Ministry of the Church of God.

Denny Heiberg

Session Speaker

Dr. Denny Heiberg

Mobilizing Disciples

Denny Heiberg currently lives in Hendersonville, Tennessee, just north of Nashville, with his wife of 39 years, Cindy. He is the father of three amazing daughters and the “Papa” of three energetic grandchildren. Denny is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church where he pastored three churches over a twenty-two year span. From 1994-2012, Denny served as Lead Pastor of Grace UMC in Gainesville, Florida where he led the church in becoming a missional influence within his community and around the globe. During his last two years he led a group of men through a discipleship experience using the gospel of John as their blueprint for life and ministry.

In 2012 Denny joined a mission sending organization, TMS Global, where he and Cindy both serve in the area of discipleship training and pastoral care. Since 2015, Denny has been also engaged in a disciple making movement called, The Bonhoeffer Project. Co-founded by Bill Hull and Brandon Cook, this unique ministry develops church and mission leaders around the world into becoming disciple making leaders. Denny is on the National Leadership Team for The Bonhoeffer Project and is the Director of Cohort Mobilization. He is a graduate from Columbia International University with a BA in Biblical and Pastoral Studies; a MA in Biblical Studies from Asbury Theological Seminary along with a Master of Divinity. In 2001 he also received his DMin. in Biblical Preaching and Leadership from Asbury Seminary.

Denny’s passion and personal mission statement is to mobilize others to become disciple makers. He loves spending time with his family, exercising and anything to do with baseball!

Chris Shattuck

Worship Leader

Pastor Chris Shattuck

Worship Pastor
North Avenue Church of God

Here are 10 things you should know about Me!

  1. I was born and raised in Otsego, Michigan and I live there today with my wife Cindy and our twins, Carter and Amelia. They are 11 years old and amazing little tornados. Their mother is the strongest person I’ve ever met. I’m lucky to have them and I know it.
  2. My hobbies include classic cars, guitars, golf, skiing, Legos, music, guitars, guitar pedals, and guitars. Oh, I almost forgot…Guitars.
  3. I love music. Going to school for music, they teach you to tear it apart and dissect it into little pieces. I can’t hear a song and just appreciate it as a whole anymore, but I will LOVE a song because of an amazing bass line, an interesting keys run, or if the band collectively is on point. Music is a wonderful enigma where the more I know, the more I’m impressed with simplicity. I love bands that are basic, but not boring. Simple is very hard to hide behind, and it’s the most challenging music to play.
  4. I can sing “row, row, row your boat” in two part round all by myself.
  5. I was raised in the church, and grew up singing out of both hymnals. While that style may not be my preference now, I appreciate those who have gone before me. I like to think that the direction worship ministry is headed musically is a continuation of what was started thousands of years ago.
  6. My daughter is one minute older than my son, and she never lets him forget it.
  7. I love people. I need people. They fill my bucket. Let’s get lunch and talk about life (especially if it’s Mexican food because YUM).
  8. I’m a maker. I run a small “hobby” building guitars and pedalboards, and my wife and I build custom signs for fun. There’s a certain satisfaction that comes from making something and holding it in your hands at the end of the day.
  9. I’ve unsuccessfully tried to convince my wife to get me a dog for 3 years. I want a bulldog, I’ll name him Gus, and we’ll be best friends. She’s not buying what I’m selling. I married way above my pay grade (she would disagree), and she’s too intelligent for my brand of shenanigans.
  10. I believe that God created and called me into worship ministry. There’s something about how my spirit feels while leading worship that’s just…right. Sometimes I get lost in the moment, play a wrong note or sing a wrong word, and just don’t care because I can feel God sitting in the front row and I want Him to know how amazing I think He is. That is an amazing feeling, and the goal of my worship ministry is to worship WITH people, not AT them.

Sandy Kuepfer

Minister in Residence

Rev. Sandy Kuepfer

Spiritual Direction

Rev. Sandy Kuepfer [kip-fer] was raised in Wisconsin and graduated from Anderson University and the School of Theology, where she met her husband Scott, who is also an ordained pastor. Sandy served as associate pastor at Rustic Hills Community Church in Sioux Falls, SD for nine years. She then stayed home with her children, Noah and Ella, for eight years. Three years ago, her family moved to the Lansing area, where they worship at Pennway Church of God. Sandy completed her certification for Spiritual Direction from Sioux Falls Seminary in 2017. Currently she is bi-vocational and offering spiritual direction part-time. Through retreats, classes, spiritual direction, and everyday conversations, Sandy enjoys sharing with believers about contemplative spiritual practices, prayer, and creating space to rest and listen to Jesus.












Lifelong Learning Matching Funds

Lifelong Learning Matching Funds may be used for this event. Email the Service Center your request to use these funds as registration or to know your current balance. Include a roommate preference in your email.