About Us

staff at training 1We are pastors and lay leaders who have been there. We wished for something to aid our congregations. Are you experiencing:

  • tired leaders?
  • fragile stewardship?
  • conflict in congregation?
  • inactive and hard to reach members?

Yup, we did too. When we walked through the HealthierChurch process and experienced the growth, maturation and vitality of our congregations, we had a desire to share it with others.

Healthier congregations mean more focus and energy on the work we’ve been called by God to do. View what other congregations experienced after  engaging our services in a 9-minute DVD at http://www.vision2serve.com/video.html.  So stop worrying and contact us at info@healthierchurch.org for a introductory conversation.

  • Our vision is creating space for God’s Spirit to transform people and congregations.
  • Our mission is walking with congregational leaders to create the space to grow.
  • Our value is 10% helping them get ready to grow, 90% helping them grow when they’re ready.
  • Our purpose is being faithful in all these things for God’s glory and for building up the body of Christ.

HealthierChurch.org Team

Ed Kruse [ ed.kruse@healthierchurch.org ]

Pic of Ed- proDr. Kruse is the President and Leader of the team.  He has been facilitating stewardship leadership development for over forty years. He has  served as a synod stewardship specialist in Central States Synod (Missouri and Kansas) and national Director for Stewardship for the ELCA before forming transformational leadership consulting.

Dr. Kruse has also been a pastor and has taught at two college faculties.  He has authored books on transformational leadership, conflict resolution, growing ministries and  growing congregations. His latest book, Wake Up, Church!  is available on this website under Resources.

Ed and his wife, Barbara, have 6 children and 21 grandchildren, and reside in Chicago, Illinois.

Jennifer Czarnota [ jen.czarnota@healthierchurch.org ]

Pastor Jennifer Czarnota is an ordained minister of the ELCA, with 17 years congregational experience.  She has worked in multiple site parishes, addressing issues such as embezzlement, mis-use of church funds, shared ministry conflicts and sexual misconduct, as well as day to day congregational un-ease.
Jen has received training in multiple conflict management approaches, including Appreciative Inquiry and Healthy Congregations.  Her Spiritual Gifts include Peaceforming, Advocacy and Apostleship.
She lives in Wisconsin with her son, Jonathan.

William E. Flippin, Jr. [ william.flippin@healthierchurch.org ]

William Flippin

Reverend William E. Flippin, Jr. serves as pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Atlanta, Georgia. He has served multiple congregations in the Chicago and Atlanta areas. William has been featured on the History Channel which aired April, 2008 on the Reformation. He has been a contributor to the African American Lectionary as a Cultural Commentator and is a regular contributor blogger for the Huffington Post (Black Voices and Religion). He serves on the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Church Council and is the ELCA’s representative for ecumenical relations for the United Methodist Church. He continues to serve his community as the Third Vice President for the Georgia NAACP.

Rev. Flippin, Jr’s mantra is found in Matthew 20:26 “the greatest among you shall be your servant”. He is committed to serving this present age and being truly a shepherd-servant leader.

 He is married to Kedra Phillips-Flippin.

John Gillespie [ john.gillespie@healthierchurch.org ]

John Gillespie croppedJohn and his wife, Jan, founded Rawhide Boys Ranch near New London, WI in 1965 and he served as the first President of that organization ( www.rawhide.org ). Rawhide Boys Ranch helps over 200 troubled youth each year with leadership training at their residential facility.

John founded Vision2Serve in 2001 (www.Vision2Serve.com ). Since then he has successfully led many congregations to move toward thriving in mission. In 2011 he and Ed Kruse partnered together and both now provide wisdom and creativity in carrying out the mission of HealthierChurch.org and Vision2Serve.

John says, “There is no greater need in the world today than for God’s church to focus on discipleship and leadership development for Christ.” John lives in Appleton, Wisconsin and has two grown sons, Steve and Tim.

Juan Gonzalez [ juan.gonzalez@healthierchurch.org ]

Reverend Juan A. Gonzalez has served congregations in New York, Ohio, Alaska and Florida. He is presently serving as pastor of Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, Lehigh Acres, Florida.

He is the former Executive Director of Lutheran Services New York Alliance (LSNYA), an alliance of local Lutheran judicatories (LCMS & ELCA) and social ministry organizations in the metropolitan New York area.

For over 35 years he has founded and directed community-based development organizations in various legislative and administrative forums, and has served on a number of other international, national and regional boards and commissions in the areas of the arts, health, housing, community and economic development.

Juan and his wife Eva live in the Fort Myers area and have three adult children and three grandchildren.

James Provenza [ jim.provenza@healthierchurch.org ]

Jim ProvenzaJames Provenza is president and attorney at James C Provenza, PC.  He practices in estate planning and administration, and works with nonprofit organizations in various areas, including planned giving and governance, to help them grow in their mission.

Jim is former President and founding member of Northern Illinois Planned Giving Council in Rockford and is a member of the Crusader Health Foundation Planned Giving Advisory Committee (Rockford) and the Salvation Army of Chicago Planned Giving Advisory Committee.

His skills and expertise in these areas fit nicely with the work he does for congregations in HealthierChurch.org.

Jim lives with his wife Margaret in Rockford, IL.

Jan Rizzo [ jan.rizzo@healthierchurch.org ]

Jan-Rizzo

Jan Rizzo has over 30 years experience in marketing and public relations. She has served on the marketing/public relations team of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, most recently as the team leader for the social media initiatives. She also works with 2 churches in the Metro Chicago Synod.

In addition to serving HealthierChurch.org, as a coach, Jan shares with us her expertise in social media and technology.

She lives with her husband, John in the Chicago area.

Dawn Roucka [ dawn.roucka@healthierchurch.org ]

Dawn Roucka cropped 3Reverend Dawn Hansen Roucka’s 25 year experience spans many topics including politics and religion.  She served at the US Senate, is an ordained ELCA pastor and has traveled around the world as an advocate and speaker sharing her experience in development work.

Dawn joins HealthierChurch.org to use her talents to help congregations make transitions or find new ways to tell their faith story. She is learning the vital call for congregations to be fluid and flexible in the Spirit to stay true to their mission.

Watch for Dawn’s upcoming book  Missing!  Finding the Holy Spirit and Your Community’s Power.”

She lives with her husband, Ken, in Bartlett, Illinois.

Grant K. Seaholm [ grant.seaholm@healthierchurch.org ]

Grant Seaholm cropped 2

Grant has dedicated the past 36 years to fostering a positive climate for children and teachers to grow to their maximum potential.  As a positive role model for students and parents, he has focused on demonstrating Christ-like behaviors that  honors Jesus Christ.

Grant has served his congregation on the human relations team, call committees and church councils.  He has been an adult leader on five mission trips.

Recently Grant’s congregation was involved with a Healthierchurch.org Year of Renewal. After serving as mission coordinator that year, he decided to join the HealthierChurch.org team as an associate to help other congregations.

Grant and his wife, Karen, have four adult children and live in Grayslake, Illinois.

Paul Sheehan [ paul.sheehan@healthierchurch.org ]

Paul SheehanPaul started his stewardship work at St. Luke Lutheran Church in Park Ridge, IL where he has been a member for over 25 years. He felt called to begin what has grown into a far-reaching charitable job transition service. He is the Founder and Director of Interfaith Job Search Network, a non-profit coalition that serves people in job transition for over 40 faith communities in the Chicago area.

Paul’s expertise is in the areas of survey development, organizational growth,  assessment and communication. He has provided coaching support with congregations in Rockford, Illinois and Dodgeville and Mount Horeb, Wisconsin.

Paul says, “We help keep church doors open.” Paul has two adult children and lives in Park Ridge, Illinois.

William Steadman [ bill.steadman@healthierchurch.org ]

Bill Steadman redone

The Rev. Dr. Bill Steadman is part of a ministry team at St. Andrew’s United Church in Sudbury, Ontario.

He has over 30 years of pastoral experience in all regions of Ontario, including rural, suburban, and downtown churches.  He also has over 6 years of experience as a senior administrator within The United Church of Canada, primarily in the area of stewardship.

Bill is co-author of the book Wake Up, Church! (with Ed Kruse), and has worked as a consultant with government agencies, community groups, and not-for-profit organizations.

Bill suggests the key for any organization to find its way is to “ask the right questions.”

Currently Bill is a member of the Theology and Inter-Church Inter-Faith Committee of the United Church.

Bill has two adult daughters and lives in Sudbury, Ontario.

Jerry Tews [ jerry.tews@healthierchurch.org ]

Jerr TewsReverend Jerry Tews has been in ministry for 40 years, serving congregations in Canada, Illinois, and Wisconsin, his most recent call being to a large congregation in Mc Farland, Wisconsin. Jerry provides excellent administrative guidance for congregations and for other coaches.

His special training includes stewardship and conflict resolution (Bridgebuilders). This expertise enables congregations and associates to experience and learn about the church as a family system.

Jerry says, “I appreciate the permission-giving leadership that is so well-emphasized in the process that HealthierChurch brings; it gives new energy to a church committed to reconciling the world to God through Jesus Christ.” He and his wife, Lynn, live in Stoughton, Wisconsin.

Mark Vance [ mark.vance@healthierchurch.org ]

Pastor Vance from Website

Mark Vance has served as a pastor in what is now the Indiana-Kentucky Synod of the ELCA for 36 years before retiring.  Most of that was at Holy Shepherd in St. John, Indiana, where he led the congregation through two building programs, five capital appeals campaigns, and numerous staff and program changes.

He is a  Certified Grant Writer with the American Grant Writers Association and has special experience in stewardship and creative funding of congregational ministries.

He and his wife, Beth live in California. They have one grown daughter, Sarah.

Barbara Kruse [ barb.kruse@healthierchurch.org ]

P5 (819x1024)Barbara serves as the administrative assistant, events coordinator and website administrator for the team. She owned her own business for 22 years and has been in customer service for over 40 years.

“I enjoy seeing people work together for a common goal,” says Barb. She and her husband, Ed, have 6 children and 21 grandchildren and live in Chicago, IIlinois.



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