The Church of the Lutheran Brethren is pleased to introduce Rev. Nick Mundis as the new Director of North American Mission, Dr. Ryan Nilsen as the new Associate Director and Phil Heiser as the new Associate for Ministry Support in the Office of the President.
On April 12, the CLB Council of Directors approved President Larson’s recommendation to call Rev. Nick Mundis to this new position.
Rev. Mundis has been Senior Pastor of Oak Hill Church in Bloomington, Minnesota since 2003. His primary role as Director of North American Mission will be to advance the CLB disciple-making movement by resourcing congregational vitality. This will include developing a strategic plan for disciple-making in the CLB, partnering with CLB churches to advance congregational health and vitality, administering training opportunities in disciple-making models, and facilitating shared resources between pastors and congregations.
Regarding this new position, Rev. Mundis said, “I’ve loved serving as a pastor immensely, but when President Paul Larson contacted me and asked me if I would be interested in serving as the Director of NAM, I found myself getting more and more excited about it. As I processed that, as I prayed about it with my wife Barb, it didn’t take me too long to respond to President Paul that I would be honored and humbled to serve in this capacity.
“In this calling, I will get to help many churches move toward greater health and vitality. And that’s a passion God has placed in me—a desire to make churches more effective in proclaiming the gospel, in being the family of God, in expanding the family of God.
“The Church has always been God’s way to create and grow disciples. It is because of that truth that I am so excited about this new position.
“Please join me in praying for God to ignite a fresh consuming passion in our CLB congregations of North America. May God’s Spirit and his Word drive our vision, plans and actions to more effectively become a disciple-making movement.”
Together, President Larson and Rev. Mundis chose Dr. Ryan Nilsen to serve as the Associate Director of NAM.
Dr. Nilsen has served as the Lead Pastor of Praise Christian Fellowship in Barkhamsted, Connecticut since 2007. He is the Director of Fifth Act Church Planting and serves as a member of a CLB church-planting cluster called Cultivate New England. Ryan has a Doctor of Ministry degree in Church and Parachurch Executive Leadership from Denver Seminary and has extensively studied the topic of church health. He serves as a consultant and coach for several CLB congregations.
His primary responsibility as the Associate Director of North American Mission will be leading a new CLB initiative in congregational reproduction and church planting. This will include energizing disciple-making congregations, clusters and regions for church planting; identifying, recruiting, and equipping CLB church planters; engaging youth and young adults in ownership of CLB theology and mission; and pursuing the goal of multiple CLB church plants in various forms each year.
Dr. Nilsen says, “I feel that God has given me some experiences and some skills that will really, really help in this role. God’s been preparing me for it in some different ways. I’ve had some great learning experiences being a pastor in the central and eastern regions over the past 15 years. As the director of Fifth Act, I’ve received some great training and coaching in leading church-planting movements.
“So I’m really excited to jump into this and I’m looking forward to the challenges that are up ahead. What excites me most is that we, the CLB, have a missionary heart, and that heart will be needed to be a positive influence in the challenging North American mission field. And while we continue to send missionaries all over the world, it’s also time for us to be missionaries to our neighbors, to our communities.
“I am excited to see what will happen when we harness our CLB passion for global mission and apply it at home. I firmly believe that the CLB is greatly needed in the North American mission field. I’m excited to be a part of sending missionaries to plant new churches in the towns and cities of the US and Canada, and to help our established congregations become missionary outposts to their own communities. I’m passionate about supporting the success of our pastors and other ministry leaders.”
Rev. Mundis will begin his call August 15, 2019. Dr. Nilsen will join him shortly after on September 1. Nick will be located in the Central Region with his office in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Ryan will be located in our Eastern Region with his office in Torrington, Connecticut.
As part of the restructure of North American Mission, much of the day-to-day operation responsibilities that were formerly handled by our Regional Pastors moved into the Office of the President. That additional increase in workload required additional staff to help manage it. The restructure accounts for that by adding in the Office of the President the position of Associate for Ministry Support. Rev. Phil Heiser, who has served the Church of the Lutheran Brethren since August 1, 2015 as your Pacific Region Pastor, was called to fill that position. His first day in that role was July 1. Rev. Heiser will continue to live in our Pacific Region, and will office out of Queen Creek, Arizona. His primary responsibilities as Associate for Ministry Support will be engaging Ministers of the Gospel with support for ministry health and effectiveness, assisting congregations and pastors during transitional periods, shaping a tiered model of care and self-accountability, and training and guiding pastors and congregations in reconciliation ministry (To learn more visit: Click Here).
Rev. Brent Juliot serves as pastor of Oak Ridge Lutheran Brethren Church in Menomonie, Wisconsin and is a contributing editor of Faith & Fellowship magazine.