To help you get to know our speakers this year, here is a bit about each one of them.
We've got a great line-up, and we think you'll enjoy and be challenged by what they have to say, and the conversations that they start with us.
“I knew I would never be happy unless I was in full-time Christian service.”
WGM’s president, Dr. E. Dan Schafer, came to know the Lord as a teenager at a church service. Three months later, God called him to full-time Christian service. At the time, he thought that meant pastoring churches, but God revealed to him over time that his gifts were in administration.
While attending Anderson University (Indiana), he married Pam, his high school sweetheart. Dan then pastored churches in Ohio and Indiana for 12 years. During that time, he began to serve in regional and general leadership roles in Churches of Christ in Christian Union.
“God began to say, ‘I called you to full-time service, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the pastorate.’”
Dan contacted World Gospel Mission to see if there were any needs in administration and was asked to serve at Fairhaven, a nursing home for missionaries in California that has since closed. Two years later, he was asked to go to Hungary to fill in for a missionary who needed to return to the United States.
“I’d never really felt a call to overseas missions, but I figured it doesn’t take a call to be willing to fill in,” he shared.
Dan and Pam served in Hungary for two years, returning to the States so Dan could work at WGM headquarters in Marion, Indiana. He served in a number of administrative roles, including vice president of Advancement and vice president of Business Services. During that time, he earned his MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University. Dan later earned his DBA from Anderson in business administration.
In 2001, they moved to Kansas City for Dan to serve at the Church of the Nazarene as executive vice president for the JESUS Film Project. He eventually became the director of Finance for the Global Missions department, a role he served in for 12 years. For the last two years, Dan has
served as CFO for Shepherd Community Center, a compassionate ministry to the urban poor in Indianapolis.
Dan and Pam have been married for 38 years and have two adult children, Kevin (married to Kandy) and Julie (married to Jonathan), and six grandchildren.
Stan Key was appointed President of The Francis Asbury Society on March 1, 2014.
Prior to coming to FAS after 10 years of missionary service in Paris, France, and 18 years of pastoral leadership at Loudonville Community Church in Albany, New York.
Joining the FAS team in January of 2013, Stan has contributed to the ministry of the Society through preaching, teaching, writing, and more recently, serving as Director of Operations. He also serves as Spiritual Dean with the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS) and serves on the board of One Mission Society.
He travels and speaks in churches, retreats, conferences, and camps both here and abroad. Katy also serves in many capacities at his side, and they serve at FAS as a team.
Stan is the author of The Last Word (Warner Press, 2015), a study on the book of Revelation.
Katy is the daughter of the founder of FAS, Dennis Kinlaw. Stan and Katy have three grown daughters and four grandchildren.
Alene Burgert and her husband Steve were called to full-time missionary work in Kenya in 2009, serving with World Gospel Mission. Prior to their calling, Steve had been in private practice as a Gastroenterologist (digestive disease specialist), and Alene had been serving as an ordained chaplain in the Colorado State Prisons.
The Lord has continued to use Alene's training and passion for prison ministry to teach and encourage Kenyan chaplains and the national churches to hear the call of Jesus Christ to visit men and women in the prisons, and to assist those who are released for reconciliation with their home communities.
Alene has served on the WGM Kenya field in several roles, currently as Country Director. She is a strong advocate for strengthening WGM's collaboration with the national church and other ministry partners, and for broadening the understanding and practice of transforming spiritual leadership in both the mission and the national church.
Professor Safiyah Fosua is the Assistant Professor of Christian Worship and Christian Ministry. Among her teaching responsibilities are the worship portions of the M.Div. core praxis courses. Her research interests include contextual liturgy, the Psalms, and the uses of poetry and spoken word in worship.
Prior to coming to Wesley Seminary at IWU, Safiyah Fosua served for ten years as the Director of Transformational Preaching Ministries of the General Board of Discipleship for the United Methodist Church. She and her husband, the Rev. Dr. Kwasi Kena, also served as missionaries to Ghana, West Africa, assisting the Methodist Church of Ghana in curriculum writing, leader development and local pastors’ education. Fosua has served as an adjunct professor at several colleges and universities prior to coming to IWU. She has served churches in Iowa, and New Jersey. Safiyah has been in frequent demand as a preacher, speaker, Bible study leader and worship designer for national events.
Safiyah Fosua is married to Kwasi Kena, who also serves as an Associate Professor of Christian Ministry at Wesley Seminary at IWU. They have two adult children and are the proud grandparents of two grandchildren. In spare moments, Safiyah writes prayers and Christian poetry. Safiyah’s hobbies include needlecrafts, quilting and batik.
Shelly is the Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer for World Gospel Mission.
Shelly’s role as CFO may, at first glance, appear to be all about numbers, budgets, and charts. However, she serves World Gospel Mission with a deep sense of calling and a desire for the world to know that Jesus came for them. “I can’t imagine living without the peace of Jesus in my heart. I love being a part of bringing hope and peace to hurting people!” Before joining WGM over 21 years ago, Shelly was a corporate tax auditor for the Indiana Department of Revenue.
Shelly has particularly enjoyed traveling to WGM’s fields of service – from Honduras to Kenya to Northern Ireland and beyond. In addition to helping with field finances and audits, she has gotten to lay bricks, hold babies, minister to women with HIV, run electrical conduit, speak to police wives at a police and military retreat, and much more.
Shelly and her husband, Kirk, are deeply invested in their community in Gas City, Indiana, where Kirk recently retired as police chief. They are the parents of Todd and Katelin and proud grandparents of Daylin and Dace. Shelly is an avid Green Bay Packers fan and enjoys hunting for treasures at rummage sales.
“Missions is at the very heart of who God is. His desire is for all people to come to know Him fully and live holy lives in service to Him.”
John committed to serve the Lord at the age of 17, after hearing former WGM Chairman of the Board Roy Lauter preach about sanctification. He told the Lord he would go anywhere and do anything He asked, a promise that led him and his wife, Erica, to serve in Uganda for two years as missionary disciples. After almost a decade spent in the pastorate near Chicago, John is returning to WGM, this time in a new role that will combine Mobilization and Communications departments.
“I believe God has called me to preach, teach and lead others in creating disciple-making movements,” he said. “I felt the Holy Spirit stirring me, and when I got the phone call from Dan and heard his vision, I sensed Jesus was telling us to trust Him and step into this new season of ministry.”
With the vision to double WGM’s missionary numbers in the next five years, John is looking forward to the challenge of taking the helm of the Mobilization and Communications teams.
One of John’s favorite Bible verses is 1 John 2:6 (NKJV), “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” “I love this verse because it reminds me that God’s goal for us is Christ-likeness and to live fruitful lives of victory. I love how this verse expresses the relational nature of God and His desire to share his life with us and work through us to do more than we can ask or imagine.”
John was born and raised in New Jersey. He and Erica have three children: Jackson, Caleb, and Ava. In his spare time, John likes sports, including beach volley ball, being active with this family in the outdoors, guitar, hiking, and date nights with Erica. Their family lives in Noblesville, Indiana.
Bret Layton currently serves as Vice President of Advancement and Church Relations at World Gospel Mission in Marion, IN.
He is a 1987 graduate of Ohio Christian University, a 1995 graduate of Mount Vernon Nazarene University and an Ordained Elder in the Church of the Nazarene.
He has served local churches as pastor for more than 29 years...leading churches in Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and Georgia.
Dr. Lorne Oke came to IWU in 2007 as the AVP for IT after serving for 16 years in higher education as a professor, administrator and coach.
In 2010 he assumed the role as the executive director of the Center for Learning and Innovation which assists in online curriculum development as well as faculty support and the integration of technology in various academic environments. He speaks regularly at conferences on a variety of subjects including instructional strategies, instructional technologies and the transition to digital content.
Because of his study in instructional design and learning technologies, Dr. Oke is pursuing his interests in the application of ID theories and systems thinking to technology integration, leadership and worldviews. He is also active in mentoring undergraduate students on the Marion campus.
Zach Szmara serves as the pastor of The Bridge Community Church in Logansport, Indiana. He has seen firsthand how God can take a mono-cultural, declining church that was near closing its doors and transform it into a growing, dynamic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual church that has impacted her city, her region, and the nation for Jesus.
He is an accredited immigration legal representative and launched the first Immigrant Connection office. Since it opened in 2014, over 600 immigrants from over 50 different countries have been served and over 70 different church leaders have been trained. Zach also serves as immigrant connection director of The Wesleyan Church and looks forward to continuing to partner with Wesleyans as they holistically love immigrants within their churches and communities.
Zach is married to Lyndy, a transformative special educator. They have a 6-year-old son, Isaac, who lives up to his name (“laughter”) every day.
Joy Phillips is a connector.
In her role as WGM's Wholistic Transformation Coordinator, she connects people to each other and people to resources. With a BSN from IWU and an MPH from Johns Hopkins Joy served as the Director of Tenwek's Community Health and Development program for many years. Growing this program and mentoring emerging leaders was a challenge that she greatly enjoyed.
Twenty-one years and several positions after arriving at Tenwek God called Joy to South Sudan where she was Program Manager for Samaritan's Purse in Lui and oversaw the distribution of 250,000 Bibles. After working with Samaritan’s Purse for two years she helped WGM begin ministry in South Sudan. Their three-pronged outreach was called Mango Ministries and focused on empowering South Sudanese in the provision of health care, wholistic community transformation and church leadership.
In 2014 Joy became WGM's Wholistic Transformation Coordinator. Along with connecting, encouraging and resourcing missionaries for compassionate ministry she has also explored outreach opportunities in the Arab world where many open doors exist.
Nathan Metz is a missionary with World Gospel Mission to Uganda.
As a teacher, preacher and disciple maker, Nathan has written several books including The Curious Learner, the Church Discipleship Manual and Leader’s Guide and This Is Perfect. He is a graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University and a current Wesley Seminary student.
As a licensed Wesleyan pastor and the son (and grandson) of Wesleyan pastors, Nathan is a part of the next generation of holiness preachers. Nathan’s passions include reading, project development, writing, preaching, discipleship and teaching.
He is married to Jade Metz, also a missionary to Uganda and the leader of The Dignity Project, an initiative providing sanitary solutions to women in need. Together they have four children and they live in Marion, IN and Kampala, UG.
Dr. Steve Moore serves as the Executive Director of nexleader, an emerging generation leadership development initiative of ABHE. His personal life mission is to inspire and equip others to live a focused life, finish well and join with God in blessing the nations. His three life passions are personal growth, destiny fulfillment and world evangelization, with a special focus on developing leaders.
Former Executive Director of Missio Nexus, Steve’s ministry has taken him around the world. He has provided leadership for teams serving in Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and the Caribbean.
He has written numerous articles about leadership, and his monthly video blog, Learning @ the Speed of Life, is widely viewed by mission leaders around the world. Steve’s book, The Dream Cycle: Leveraging the Power of Personal Growth, was released in March 2004. His book, While You Were Micro-Sleeping, based on his popular video blog, was released in the fall of 2009. Who is My Neighbor? was released in the spring of 2011 and his latest book, Seize the Vuja De, was released in 2013.
Steve and his wife Sherry have four children, and they currently reside in Atlanta, Georgia.
“I like knowing that my work has eternal consequences and that I am directly a part of the fulfilling of the Great Commission through what I do at WGM.”
In his current role as vice president of International Ministries, Tim works to strengthen partnerships with national churches, help missionaries make good transitions to their fields of service, and provide overarching leadership to all the regions where missionaries serve.
Tim’s WGM story began when he was a small child in Junior Prayer Band. At the age of 13, Tim felt the Lord leading him into missions. He was appointed as a missionary to Honduras in 1984. During those rich but intense nine years in Honduras, Tim served as a church planter and as assistant field director and acting field director. During that time, he also met his wife, Laurie, who was then a missionary to Bolivia.
In the U.S. on the support staff side of things, Tim has served in a number of leadership roles, including director of Men With Vision and Media, assistant to the vice president of Field Ministries, vice president of Communication Ministries, and chief operating officer. In 2016, Tim celebrated 30 years of service with WGM. Over the years, he has been influential in unique ways, including pushing WGM in the mid-1990s to establish a web presence and integrating Customer Migration Strategy as an organization-wide cultural shift.
“My top strengths have to do with relationship building,” shared Tim. “That serves me well as I meet with our missionaries and encourage them in their work, helping them work through issues that arise in ministry. I’m also pretty tech savvy, and that certainly helps a lot in this age of using technology to connect and collaborate over large distances.”
Tim and Laurie enjoy camping and spending time with their daughter, Alisa. Tim has traveled extensively, having visited 24 countries where WGM has ministries or missionaries. However, the most exciting thing he has done is leading people to the Lord.
“Missions is the whole theme of the Bible. It is what God has tasked every believer to be a part of. What could possibly be more meaningful than that?”
Don sensed God calling him to cross-cultural missions service when he was 16 years old. In order to prepare, he studied Bible and missions at Vennard College (Iowa) where he met his wife, Glenda. He turned 20 in the Ecuadorean jungle during his first cross-cultural trip. This trip showed him the importance of specific training for cross-cultural ministry. However, he also appreciated the importance of receiving training in the local church, so he served for four years as a youth pastor at churches in Alabama and Pennsylvania.
Don and Glenda were appointed as missionaries with WGM in 1984. After Spanish language study in Costa Rica, they arrived in Argentina, where within months of his arrival, Don was appointed as field director for the small missionary team. The urgency to train for leadership left a deep impact on Don that continues to this day.
He later completed degrees at Azusa Pacific University (Azusa, California) and William Carey International University (Pasadena, California) and is committed to being a life-long learner. He served as a regional director for WGM for nine years and is now on special assignment.
Serving from Córdoba, Argentina, Don works with a network of people and churches in Latin America to mobilize and train churches and missionaries from Latin America to minister among the least-reached peoples of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. He believes God has placed him and his wife in this ministry to multiply themselves, not only in Latin America but also around the world, by helping train missionaries and working to connect them to a path to the nations.
Increasingly God is raising up cross-cultural missionaries from across the globe, calling people from everywhere to go to everyone.
As we seek to fulfill God’s vision for WGM, it is likely that our ministry teams will increasingly be multi-cultural in nature. What will it take to incorporate missionaries from Africa or Latin America, for example, into our teams? How would they connect with WGM? What might the composition of a multi-cultural team look like? How would it function?
We will explore these topics along with others in this presentation.
Sandy is currently in ministry with her husband Dan in Cincinnati Ohio. They moved to Cincinnati in 2011 after living most of their lives in Marion IN. Prior to pastoring Community Life Church (a Wesleyan Church) they were in bi-vocational ministry at Farrville Community Church near Van Buren, Indiana while working at and attending Indiana Wesleyan University.
Sandy earned a BA in Psychology and an MA in Counseling from Indiana Wesleyan University. During her counseling internship she developed a program for ministry students headed for ordination at Indiana Wesleyan University. The program was designed to help students discover their strengths and weaknesses through individual counseling and group experiences. It was during this work with students that the power of the relational system on the work of the minister began to impact her thinking and ministry. What began as a passion to help ministers become healthy grew into and awareness that health is not just an individual pursuit. True health involves a community of persons who are committed to growth and maturity within a relational system.
Sandy has taught courses, led seminars and helped to design a new ministerial process for ordination candidates in the Greater Ohio District of the Wesleyan Church all reflecting this passion to guide people in ministry into greater wholeness through better understanding of how the relational systems of their their past and present impact them.
Sandy is currently in an adjunct professor at Indiana Wesleyan University. She is also an Ohio licensed Independent Marriage and Family therapist in private practice. She is head of the counseling team for the District Board of Ministerial Development for the Greater Ohio District. She also occasionally teaches FLAME courses for the Wesleyan Church.
She is the mother of two WGM employees, Nathan and Micah. Their brother Luke is an Actuary and lives in McCordsville, Indiana. Her greatest joy is that Nathan, Luke and Micah are all serving God and are married wonderful women who are amazing parents to "our" seven beautiful grandchildren.
John Muehleisen is a WGM missionary currently serving in Uganda.
Like many missionaries who wear many hats, he is coordinates tranformational development ministries in Uganda (including DNA / Samaritan Strategy, CHE, Farming God's Way, Women's Cycle of Life, and Children's CHE).
He likes numbers and three letter acronyms: His favorite numbers are 10:02 (for the 10:02 Challenge), 4:14 (for reaching the 4:14 Window) and and 2:2:2 (for 2 Timothy 2:2) as he tries to build multiplacation into everything he is involved in.
His favorite acronyms are WGM, DNA, CHE, FGW, WCL, CMS, GTD (Getting Things Done), and is huge believer in 4DX (The 4 Disciplines of Execution). He believes that we should integrate the core principles of CMS into about everthing we do (helping people move from being a spectator to participation, then engagement, and on to cause ownership).
He also serves as a global strategy advisor to WGM ministries.
He and Beth have served with WGM since 1985 in Kenya, Uganda, and in the US.