The 68th Regular Convention


Preachers, Essayists, Catechists & Chaplains

LCMS National Convention   •   July 28–Aug. 3, 2023   •   Milwaukee

The 68th Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod from July 29 to Aug. 3 in Milwaukee will include daily worship services, four essay presentations, and four catechetical presentations.

Bios for the preachers, essayists, catechists, and chaplains are featured below.

•  Preachers

•  Essayists

•  Catechists

•  Chaplains





Rev. Benjamin Ball

The Rev. Benjamin BallThe Rev. Benjamin Ball has served as senior pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church and School in Hamel, Ill., since 2012. He was elected LCMS sixth vice-president (representing the Central Region) in 2019.

He and his wife, Serena, are the parents of Sophia (18), Alethea (15), Elijah (13), Irene (10) and Zoe (2).




Rev. Christopher Esget

Rev. Christopher EsgetThe Rev. Christopher Esget is senior pastor of Immanuel Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Alexandria, Va., where he has served since 2001. He previously served Bethel Lutheran Church in Du Quoin, Ill. Esget is LCMS fifth vice-president (representing the East-Southeast Region).

He is the author of (Dis)Ordered: Lies about Human Nature and the Truth That Sets Us Free (Concordia Publishing House, 2023). He holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Berklee College, Boston, and Master of Divinity and Master of Sacred Theology degrees from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind.

He and his wife, Kassie, have one son.




Rev. Joe Hoem

Rev. Joe HoemThe Rev. Joe Hoem was born in southern India. Hoem is the oldest of nine adopted kids. He and his wife, Kristin, have been married for over 25 years and have four children. Hoem is a second-career pastor; prior to becoming a pastor, he ran a large car dealership in Sheboygan, Wis.

He received his Master of Divinity from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind. in 2012. Hoem currently serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Ind., which is his second call. He is very involved in the community and serves as a member of the LCMS Board of Directors.

He is an avid Wisconsin Badger fan, but most of all, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends and also fishing when the opportunity arises.




Rev. Peter Lange

Rev. Peter LangeThe Rev. Peter Lange has served as LCMS first vice-president since 2019. In addition to chairing the colloquy committees for pastoral and commissioned ministry, he serves on the Synod Board of Directors, Commission on Theology and Church Relations, Council of Presidents and Praesidium, as well as the Board of Regents for Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, Ill., and Master of Divinity and Master of Sacred Theology degrees from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind. Previous service includes Kansas District president, senior pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Topeka, Kan., and associate pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Concordia, Mo.

He and his wife, Marcia, live in St. Louis. They have four married daughters and 10 grandchildren.




Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray

Rev. Dr. Scott R. MurrayThe Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray is LCMS third vice-president, representing the West-Southwest Region. He has served as a vice-president since 2010. Murray serves as senior pastor of Memorial Lutheran Church in Houston, Texas, where he was called in 1996.

He writes a devotion every weekday called “Memorial Moments,” which is based on the church fathers. He is also editor of The Gates of Hell: Confessing Christ in a Hostile World (Concordia Publishing House, 2018) and has written numerous journal articles.

Born in Kitchener, Ontario, Murray graduated with a B.A. from Concordia University, Ann Arbor, Mich., in 1980 and earned a Master of Divinity from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., in 1983. He also holds a master’s degree from Loyola University and a doctorate from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Murray and his wife, Maryann, live in Houston. They have two daughters and four grandchildren.




Rev. Nabil S. Nour

Rev. Nabil S. NourThe Rev. Nabil S. Nour is LCMS fourth vice-president, representing the Great Plains Region. He has served as an LCMS vice-president since 2013. He also serves as pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Hartford, S.D.

Born in Nazareth, Israel, Nour moved with his family to Haifa when he was three and lived on the very slopes of Mount Carmel where Elijah once hid from Jezebel. Nour immigrated to the United States when he was 16 and eventually became a naturalized citizen. He also underwent adult instruction in the Lutheran faith.

Nour graduated in 1978 from Huron College, Huron, S.D., with a Bachelor of Science in criminology and sociology. He worked in the construction industry before entering Concordia Seminary, St. Louis in 1989. Nour’s first parish was Redeemer Lutheran Church in Armour, S.D. He also served the South Dakota District as second and then first vice-president from 2003–2013.

Nour and his wife, Jean, live in Sioux Falls, S.D. They have three sons, three daughters-in-law, and 14 grandchildren.




Rev. Dr. Ely Prieto

Rev. Dr. Ely Prieto The Rev. Dr. Ely Prieto is associate professor of practical theology, professor of urban and cross-cultural ministry, and associate dean for urban and cross-cultural ministry at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis (CSL).

Previous positions include serving as the executive director and urban mission developer at Lutheran Intercity Network Coalition – San Antonio, Texas; assistant pastor and director of world missions at Concordia Lutheran Church in San Antonio; senior pastor at Congregação São Paulo in Arroio do Meio, Brazil; and assistant pastor at Congregação São Paulo in Porto Alegre, Brazil. He also served as professor of practical theology at Seminário Concórdia in São Leopoldo, Brazil and professor of theology at the Lutheran University of Brazil (ULBRA) in Canoas, Brazil.

He received his Doctor of Ministry from CSL and a Master of Sacred Theology from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind. He also holds bachelor’s degrees in theology from ULBRA and Seminário Concórdia.

Prieto and his wife, Miriam, have two grown children: Filipe and Natalia.




Rev. Dr. John C. Wille

Rev. Dr. John C. WilleThe Rev. Dr. John C. Wille has served as LCMS South Wisconsin District (SWD) president since 2006. He is the chairman of the Council of Presidents Clergy Call and Roster Committee. He also serves on the Board of Regents for Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon, Wis., and for Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. Wille has served congregations in Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin.

Prior to becoming SWD president, he served as the church planter and founding pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Tomah, Wis., where he served for 16 years. As SWD president, he is responsible for ecclesiastical oversight of 202 congregations and multiple elementary schools and high schools, along with the ordained and commissioned church workers in the SWD.

Wille and his wife, Lynette, have been married for 45 years. They have three daughters and seven grandchildren.




Rev. Dr. John C. Wohlrabe Jr.

Rev. Dr. John C. Wohlrabe Jr.The Rev. Dr. John C. Wohlrabe Jr. is LCMS second vice-president, representing the Great Lakes Region, and a member of the Praesidium. Wohlrabe has served as a vice-president since 2007. Wohlrabe also serves as assistant pastor at Our Savior Evangelical Lutheran Church, in Whitefish Bay, Wis.; as editor-in-chief for the Concordia Historical Institute (CHI) Quarterly; as president of the CHI Board of Governors; and as an adjunct instructor at Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon, Wis.

Previously, Wohlrabe was regional chaplain for Naval District Washington. After 22 years as an active-duty U.S. Navy chaplain, he retired with the rank of captain in May 2009. Wohlrabe received a Master of Divinity in 1981, a Master of Sacred Theology in 1982 and a Doctor of Theology in 1987, all from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis (CSL). In 2021, CSL faculty awarded him a Doctor of Divinity.

Wohlrabe and his wife, Julie, live in St. Francis, Wis. They have one daughter and two sons.






Rev. Dr. Thomas J. Egger

Rev. Dr. Thomas J. EggerThe Rev. Dr. Thomas Egger serves as president of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. He joined the seminary faculty in 2005, teaching mainly in the area of Old Testament.

A native of Muscatine, Iowa, he served as pastor at Zion Lutheran Church in Storm Lake, Iowa, from 2000 to 2005. His areas of interest include biblical Hebrew, the books of Genesis and Exodus, Christ typology, narrative and rhetoric analysis, and the nature and authority of Scripture. He has also made contributions in the area of American Lutheran history, especially the history of the LCMS and its first president, Dr. C. F. W. Walther. He served on the LCMS Small Catechism Explanation Revision Committee (2015–2017), the Board of Directors for Providence Classical Christian Academy in St. Louis (2008–2019), and the Board of Regents for Concordia University Chicago (2019–2021). He has served on the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations since 2010.

Tom and his wife, Tori, have six children and three grandchildren.

Download essay




Rev. Dr. Abjar Bahkou

Rev. Dr. Abjar BahkouDr. Bahkou has been associate professor of practical theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis since 2018. Formerly he was senior lecturer of Arabic language and culture at Baylor University in Waco, Texas and non-resident research fellow at the Institute for Studies of Religion, a program on Global Studies of Religion at Baylor University.

Bahkou holds two doctorates, one in Arabic and Islamic studies, and another in catechesis and youth ministry. His publications include Defending Christian Faith: The Fifth Part of the Christian Apology of Geraniums (Warsaw/Berlin: DeGruter Open, 2014); The Monk Encounters the Prophet: The Story of the Encounter between Monk Bahīra and Muhammad (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 2015); and Shining the Light of the Gospel on the Quran: Understanding and Engaging Muslims (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2021).

Bahkou, originally from Damascus, Syria, is an ordained pastor in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. He is the executive director of Arabic Lutheran Ministries, a mission society and a global ministry that reaches out to Arabs and Muslims through media ministry and publications.

Download essay




Dr. Russell P. Dawn

Dr. Russell P. DawnDr. Russell P. Dawn is the 12th president of Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, Ill. He holds three degrees from Oxford University, including a doctorate in historical theology. He also holds advanced degrees in law and business from the University of Colorado.

An award-winning historian of Lutheran higher education, he has taught in history, political thought, theology, and religious studies. Prior to his academic career, he practiced corporate law in Denver, Colo.

He is devoted to his wife and two daughters, dotes on his three small dogs, and delights in swimming and traveling. He and his family are members of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Forest Park, Ill.

Download essay




Rev. Dr. Juhana Pohjola

Rev. Dr. Juhana PohjolaThe Rev. Dr. Juhana Pohjola is bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland (ELMDF), a position he has held since August 2021. Since his ordination in 1999, Pohjola has served the church in various ways, including as a pastor (2000–2010); as dean of the Luther Foundation Finland (2000–2011); as a visiting scholar at Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary in St. Catharine’s, Ontario, Canada (2011–2012); as dean of the ELMDF (2013–2021); and as chairman of the International Lutheran Council (2022–present).

Pohjola received worldwide attention in late 2021 when he was tried by Finland’s prosecutor general for inciting hate speech. The charges stem from his endorsement of a 2004 booklet on Christian teachings on human sexuality. The booklet was written by Finnish Parliament member Dr. Päivi Räsänen — who was also prosecuted — and published by the Luther Foundation during Pohjola’s tenure. The two were acquitted in early 2022.

Pohjola holds degrees from the University of Helsinki (a Master of Theology and a Doctor of Theology) and Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne (a Master of Sacred Theology and an honorary Doctor of Divinity).

He and his wife, Päivi Pohjola, have been married since 1995 and have four children together: Anni, Aaro, Olli and Lotta.

Download essay




Rev. Peter Bender

Rev. Peter BenderThe Rev. Peter Bender is pastor of Peace Lutheran Church in Sussex, Wis., a position he has held since 1991. He also serves on the LCMS Board for National Mission (2016 to present) and as the founder and director of Concordia Catechetical Academy (1994 to present). Previously, Bender served on the LSB Agenda committee and as a visiting instructor in catechesis in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, Ill., and a Master of Divinity from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne.

He and his wife, Elizabeth, have four children.




Rev. Dr. Jacob Corzine

Rev. Dr. Jacob CorzineThe Rev. Dr. Jacob Corzine recently started as vice president for publication at Concordia Publishing House. Previously, he served as associate professor of theology and interim dean of the College of Theology, Arts, and Humanities at Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, Ill., and in campus ministry in Pretoria, South Africa.

Dr. Corzine is a graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne (M.Div. 2008) and the Humboldt University, Berlin (Th.D. 2017).

He and his wife, Tiia, have three children, and are in the midst of a move from Chicago to St. Louis.






Rev. Sean Daenzer

Convention Chaplain

Rev. Sean DaenzerThe Rev. Sean Daenzer is director of LCMS Worship and the chaplain at the Synod’s International Center. He previously served for seven years as pastor of a dual parish in rural North Dakota.

Daenzer holds a Bachelor of Music in Organ from Hope College, Holland, Mich. (2006), and a Master of Divinity from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind. (2011).

He and his wife, Audrey, have four living children (Lucia, Monica, Renata and Christina) and two awaiting the resurrection (Perpetua and Matthias).




Rev. Silas Hasselbrook

Assistant Convention Chaplain

Rev. Silas HasselbrookThe Rev. Silas Hasselbrook was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., and is the oldest of 12 children, with nine brothers and two sisters. He met his wife, Moira, on the track team at Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon, Wis., where they both attended college.

Rev. Hasselbrook currently serves Oklahoma Avenue Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, Wis., and Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in West Allis, Wis. He is also a doctoral student at Marquette University in systematic theology and theological ethics, with an interdisciplinary focus in health care ethics.

He enjoys playing basketball and board games, reading, exercising, playing organ and spending time with Moira.



Join us on the journey

 Facebook   Twitter    Instagram    YouTube   Vimeo   LinkedIn

Mission and Vision

Seven Mission Priorities

The Lutheran Witness Magazine

Lutheran Witness February 2024

MDFL Resource Center

Making Disciples for Life - Resource Center

Million Dollar Life Match

Ready to expland your congrgation's pro-life ministry? Apply now for the Million Dollar Life Match.

Church Work Recruitment Initiative

Set Apart to Serve

Caring for Ukraine

Ukraine Support

Contact Us

  Email us

  Church Info Center: 888-843-5267
  Staff Switchboard: 800-248-1930
  Donor Care Line: 888-930-4438

 1333 S. Kirkwood Road, St. Louis, MO 63122-7226


Guide Star Logo BBB Logo


Auxiliaries and Seminaries




The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Inc., including Mission Central (in Mapleton, Iowa), is an IRS registered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity.

A contribution designated (restricted) for a specific purpose, when accepted, will be used only to fund expenses related to that purpose. Occasionally, we may receive more in contributions for a particular purpose than can be wisely applied to it in the foreseeable future or the purpose may cease to be feasible. In these situations, the LCMS will make reasonable attempts to contact contributors to apply their contribution toward another aspect of ministry that aligns closely the contributor’s goals and values. If a contributor cannot be contacted, the LCMS will use the gift to meet a similar pressing need that most closely matches the contributor's original intent.

Consistent with Synod Board policy and in recognition of a more challenging economic and philanthropic/fundraising environment due to inflationary pressure, not more than 13.5 percent of any charitable contribution will be allocated to administering gifts and communicating with contributors. Contributions received and accepted by the LCMS are deemed to be in agreement with this statement.

Donor Transparency Resources

Employment   |   For the Media   |   Site Map   |   Privacy   |   Social Media Guidelines    |   Social Media Directory


© 2003 – 2010   The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. All Rights Reserved.