Leadership Team — Office of the President

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod


The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s leadership team takes on a vital role in assisting the president with his ministry to the church.

 

Rev. Kevin D. Robson — Chief Mission Officer

The Rev. Kevin D. Robson is chief mission officer for The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

Rev. Robson has served God’s faithful as pastor of Prince of Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church, Baxter, within the Minnesota North District, since 2006. He also has served at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Elgin, Minn. — first in a deferred vicarage (2000-01) and then as pastor (2001-04); as vacancy pastor of Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Hay Creek (Red Wing), Minn. (2004); and vacancy and sole pastor of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Long Prairie, Minn. (2005-06).

Prior to earning his Master of Divinity at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., in 2001, Pastor Robson enjoyed a broad career in corporate research and development, product management, business development, sales and consulting, with Union Carbide Corporation, Chicago, Ill., and Air Products and Chemicals, Allentown, Pa.

He is a 1988 graduate of the University of Chicago, Graduate School of Business, with a master’s degree in Finance and Marketing and a 1982 graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, earning both a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and a Bachelor of Science and Engineering in Chemical Engineering.

He has completed his coursework and is currently engaged in a dissertation project for the Doctorate of Ministry degree (Pastoral Care and Leadership) at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind. He also is a 2009 alumnus of the DOXOLOGY pastoral continuing-education program.

Robson’s duties as the Synod’s chief mission officer (per Synod Bylaw 3.4.3 — 3.4.3.8) include:

  • Serving as the LCMS president’s liaison to Synod commissions and corporate entities.
  • Working closely with the Synod’s chief financial officer and chief administrative officer in carrying out the programmatic, administrative and financial functions of the national Synod.
  • Supervising the work of the Office of International Mission, the Office of National Mission, national LCMS fundraising efforts and Synod communications, including the official periodicals.
  • Providing leadership, coordination and oversight for pre-seminary, seminary and post-seminary education, and advocacy for pastoral education and health in the Synod.

He and his wife, Peg, have one adult son, Karl.

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Barbara Below — Assistant to the President

Barbara A. Below is serving as assistant to Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Below is the first woman to serve on the executive-level staff for an LCMS president.

Prior to joining the president’s staff in September 2010, Below, a licensed clinical social worker, served for six years as director of social ministry organizations for LCMS World Relief and Human Care, the disaster relief and mercy ministry of the Synod. In that position, Below worked directly with 125 social-ministry organizations recognized by the Synod and served as the Synod’s liaison to Lutheran Services in America, the inter-Lutheran alliance of nearly 300 agencies that is among the largest nonprofits in the country. She also served on the LCMS management team of the Dominican Republic Lutheran Mission.

A native of Bemidji, Minn., Below received a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1982 from Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon, formerly known as Concordia College. She received her master’s degree in social work from the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1998, graduating magna cum laude.

Before joining the Synod in 2004, Below held numerous case management and clinical services positions. She was a therapist at Kairos Counseling in Elm Grove, Wis., and also served as project manager for a program known as “Healthy Connections with Clergy Spouses.” During the same time, she served as an in-home therapist at Lad Lake Inc., an organization focused on helping at-risk youth and their families throughout Walworth County in southern Wisconsin. From 1998 to 2004, she held various positions in Salt Lake City. Among them, she served as a therapist at Samaritan Counseling Centers of Utah; inpatient admissions counselor at the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Hospital; and as an in-home therapist for the Utah Division of Child and Family Services.

Below and her husband, Mark, reside in Fenton, Mo. They are members of Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Chesterfield, Mo., where Mark serves as senior pastor.

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Rev. Jeffrey B. Hemmer — Assistant to the President

The Rev. Jeffrey B. Hemmer is assistant to the Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). Prior to joining the president’s staff in August 2021, Hemmer served as pastor of Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church in Fairview Heights, Ill. He continues to serve as pastor there in a part-time capacity.

Born in Belleville, Ill., Hemmer received a B.A. in English from Concordia University, Nebraska, Seward, Neb., and an M.Div. from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Concordia Seminary, working on a dissertation on the theology of body and the theology of place. His other theological and academic interests include biblical masculinity and the function of Christian fathers, the role of the resurrection in Christian ethics, and martyrdom and the cross-shaped Christian life.

Hemmer is the author of Man Up!: The Quest for Masculinity (CPH, 2017); Behold the Man! Lenten and Easter sermon series (CPH, 2019); A Noble Army sermon series on the martyrs (CPH, 2020); and assorted other articles, essays and posts.

Hemmer and his wife, Laura, live in Fairview Heights, Ill., while they restore an 1860s farmhouse in Caseyville, Ill. They have seven children ex utero, with an eighth on the way.

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Rev. Dr. Jonathan E. Shaw — Director of Church Relations and Assistant to the President

The Rev. Dr. Jonathan E. Shaw is a pastor, writer, educator and retired U.S. Army chaplain who serves The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) as director of Church Relations.

He assists the LCMS president, the chief ecumenical officer of the Synod, in inter-church relations in 57 countries with about 100 church bodies, of which approximately 40 are united in altar and pulpit fellowship and about 60 are cooperative friends in theological education, theological conversation, mercy programs and other relationships. The goal is to develop closer working relationships among confessional Lutheran church bodies and to promote unity in Christ and His Word worldwide. In his position, Shaw collaborates closely with the executive director of the LCMS Office of International Mission; the executive director of the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations; and the International Lutheran Council, a worldwide association of confessional Lutheran churches founded by the LCMS.

Shaw and his wife, Brenda, married in 1980 and are blessed with three adult children and seven grandchildren.

Before becoming director of Church Relations, Shaw served as a U.S. Army chaplain (colonel), retiring from the Pentagon in October 2020 with 39 years of service. Past positions include U.S. Army Chaplain Corps director of operations for 6,000 chaplains and religious affairs specialists; command chaplain, U.S. Army Europe; professor of ethics and senior chaplain, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pa.; command chaplain and faculty, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; and combat operations in Panama and Iraq, with deployments and overseas postings in Europe, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Central America.

After his ordination in 1984, Shaw served LCMS parishes in Guadalajara, Mexico, and Winchester, Va., and spent nine years on the Synod’s former Board for Congregational Services, concluding as its chair. In addition, he has presented frequently at LCMS district, seminary, professional academic and joint military conferences; is founding editor of the journal Gottesdienst (1992); and has published over 50 articles in systematic and exegetical theology, with applications in liturgics, ethics, two-kingdom doctrine, religious liberty, religion in policy and strategy, moral injury, and just war.

Shaw also teaches in the Doctor of Ministry program at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne (CTSFW). His academic work includes: a B.A. in Political Science from Wheaton College, Wheaton, Ill.; M.Div. and S.T.M. degrees in Systematic Theology and Ethics from CTSFW; an M.A. in Ethics from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.; a CGSOC in Military Doctrine and Operations, in residence at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; an MSS in Strategic Studies, in residence at the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pa. (2010); and a D.D. from Concordia University Irvine, Irvine, Calif.

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