Biographies: Essayists & Leaders

LCMS National Convention   •   July 20-25, 2019   •   Tampa, Fla.


Biographies are available of the essayists, preachers and chaplains serving at The 67th Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, which is scheduled for July 20-25, 2019, in Tampa, Fla.


Essayists

Rev. Dr. Herbert C. Mueller Jr.

Rev. Dr. Herbert C. Mueller Jr.The Rev. Dr. Herbert C. Mueller Jr., prepared for the pastoral ministry in the schools of the Missouri Synod, graduating from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, with a Master of Divinity in 1979. He was also honored with a Doctor of Divinity degree (honoris causa) from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., in 2012.

The Lord has blessed Pastor Mueller and his wife, Faith, with three children: Bert is pastor of St. Peter and Grace Lutheran Churches, Westgate and Fayette, Iowa, married to Kristen, with three children; Nathan, an Army combat veteran, is married to Aimee and lives and works in Archer, Iowa; Carol, a teacher in LaPorte, Ind., is married to Michael Scheck, with one child. Presently, Herb and Faith live in Waterloo, Ill.

Mueller has served the Lord as pastor of three Lutheran parishes: pastor, Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, Chicago, Ill. (1979–1983); associate pastor, Zion Lutheran Church, Bethalto, Ill. (1983–1990); and pastor, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Waterloo, Ill. (1990–1994). He served six terms as the Southern Illinois district president (1994–2010). He had previously served the Southern Illinois District as secretary, and district vice-president. Presently, Rev. Mueller serves as the Synod’s first vice-president, having been elected to that office in July 2010, and reelected in 2013 and 2016. He simply counts it a privilege to serve the Lord and His Church with President Matthew Harrison.

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Rev. Dr. Thomas Egger

Rev. Dr. Thomas EggerThe Rev. Dr. Thomas Egger has served as a professor of Old Testament at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, since 2005. His areas of expertise include biblical Hebrew, the book of Exodus, Old Testament Christ-typology, and narrative and rhetorical analysis. 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 is interested in the theology of Luther’s catechisms and the intersection of the catechism and the Bible in Lutheran teaching and piety.

Egger has served on the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations from 2010–2019, on the Small Catechism Explanation Revision Committee from 2015–2017, and on the Board of Directors for Providence Classical Christian Academy in St. Louis from 2008 to present. A native of Muscatine, Iowa, Tom served as pastor at Zion Lutheran Church in rural Storm Lake, Iowa, from 2000–2005. He and his wife, Tori, have six children: Andrew (wife Grace), Stacey, Abram, Bonnie, Ellen and Mary — and they all cheer for the St. Louis Cardinals.

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Rev. Josemon Hoem

Rev. Josemon HoemThe Rev. Josemon Hoem was called in July 2012 to be the pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Murphysboro, Ill. In August 2018, Hoem was appointed to fill a vacancy on the LCMS Board of Directors.

Prior to being called to the flock at Immanuel, Hoem attended the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh and Concordia University Texas, Austin, Texas, where he received a degree in communications and broadcasting. He began working at Dell Computers, and later ran a large car dealership in Sheboygan, Wis. Hoem left the business world and received a Master of Divinity from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., in May of 2012.

Hoem is involved in a local youth soccer program and helps with a high school football team. He also volunteers as a police chaplain for the local police department.

He was born in Southern India, where he lived until he was 5 years old. He is the oldest of nine adopted children. He enjoys spending time with family and friends, and goes fishing when he has the opportunity.

Hoem and his wife, Kristin, have been married for over 20 years. They are blessed with four children: Maxwell, Nigel, Sophie and Charlie.

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Rev. Dr. Gottfried Martens

Rev. Dr. Gottfried MartensThe Rev. Dr. Gottfried Martens is the founding pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Berlin-Steglitz, Germany, a mission plant of the Independent Evangelical-Lutheran Church (SELK, Selbständige Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche), an LCMS partner church body. Some 1,500 of the 1,700 members of this bilingual (German/Farsi) congregation are former Muslims from Iran and Afghanistan.

Prior to his work at Trinity, Martens served as pastor of St. Mary’s Lutheran Church in Berlin-Zehlendorf, Germany, where his work included outreach to Russian immigrants.

A native of Hannover, Germany, Martens studied at Lutheran Theological Seminary, Oberursel, Germany, before earning his Doctor of Theology from Erlangen University, Erlangen, Germany, in 1990. He was ordained into the Office of the Holy Ministry in 1991.

Martens’ ministry and advocacy on behalf of refugees in Germany has earned international attention. In 2017, he was awarded an honorary doctorate (Doctor of Divinity—honoris causa) by Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., in recognition of “his faithful service as a pastor and missionary.”

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Preachers

Rev. Christopher S. Esget

Rev. Christopher S. EsgetThe Rev. Christopher S. Esget is the sixth vice-president and a member of Synod’s Praesidium. He represents the church’s East-Southeast Region. Esget is also the senior pastor of Immanuel Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Alexandria, Va., and superintendent of Immanuel Lutheran School, where he has served since 2001.

Prior to being called to Immanuel, Esget served as the pastor of Bethel Lutheran Church, DuQuoin, Ill., where he was ordained in 1998. He attended Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., where he earned a Master of Divinity in 1997 and a Master of Sacred Theology in 2005. He is a member of the Concordia College New York Board of Regents, and a former vicarage and fieldwork supervisor for seminary students.

Esget is the author of “Saints and Faithful Brothers” and “The Gates of Hell and the Table of the Lord” in The Gates of Hell: Confessing Christ in a Hostile World (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2018). His writings have also been published in The Lutheran Witness, Concordia Pulpit Resources, The Good Shepherd Institute, For the Life of the World, Higher Things, and Gottesdienst. He is a 2015 Washington Fellow of the National Review Institute.

Born and raised near Minneapolis, Esget pursued his love of music with classical piano and trombone studies at the University of Minnesota before graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in music from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass., in 1993.

Esget and his wife, Kassie, live in Alexandria, Va. They have one son, James.

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Rev. Robert Zagore

Rev. Robert ZagoreThe Rev. Robert Zagore serves as executive director of the Office of National Mission, where he oversees the implementation of policies that direct the domestic ministries serving the congregations, schools and districts of the Synod. He began serving in this position in May 2018.

Zagore brings 27 years of experience to this role, as a former parish pastor in both urban and rural congregations. He spent 17 of those years as senior administrative pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church and School in Traverse City, Mich. Prior to that, he was pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Niles, Mich. (1997–2001), and Hope Lutheran Church in Stanton, Mich. (1991–97). He also has served as a pastoral delegate at three Synod conventions, as a circuit counselor in the Michigan District, and as a vicarage and seminary field work supervisor.

Zagore received his Master of Divinity degree from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind. (1990), and he later completed additional coursework toward a Master of Sacred Theology degree. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Ind. (1983).

Before becoming a pastor, Zagore worked as an accounting consultant for Cleveland Business Consulting Services.

Zagore and his wife, Gwen, have four adult children: Christopher (married to Leah), Katie, Elise and Faith.

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Rev. Dr. Daniel Preus

MuellerThe Rev. Dr. Daniel Preus is fifth vice-president and a member of Synod’s Praesidium. He was elected fourth vice-president in 2010, and he was re-elected and ranked as third vice-president in 2013. He was re-elected in 2016 and ranked as fifth vice-president. He represents the church’s Central Region.

Preus, who previously served as the Synod’s first vice-president (2001–2004), also has served congregations in Hobart, Ind., Truman, Minn., Oak Park, Ill., Colorado Springs, Colo. (1975–1995), and in St. Louis (2005–2015). From 1995–2001, he served as director of Concordia Historical Institute, St. Louis, and from 2005–2012, as director of the Luther Academy, also in St. Louis, an organization devoted to promoting confessional Lutheran theology.

Preus was a leader in discussions resulting in the declaration of church fellowship between the LCMS and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya in 2004. In addition, Preus is the author of numerous articles for theological journals as well as a book titled Why I Am a Lutheran (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2004), which has been translated into six other languages.

Born in Mayville, N.D., Preus graduated from the former Concordia Senior College, Fort Wayne, Ind., in 1971 and from Concordia Theological Seminary in 1975, when it was located in Springfield, Ill. In 1989 he received a Master of Sacred Theology from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne. In 2015 he received an honorary Doctor of Divinity from this same institution.

Preus and his wife, Linda, live in St. Louis. They have three sons, two daughters and 10 grandchildren.

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Rev. Dr. Gregory P. Seltz

Rev. Dr. Gregory P. SeltzThe Rev. Dr. Gregory P. Seltz is the executive director of the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty (LCRL), a Lutheran entity that is located in Washington, D.C. The LCRL is an active voice in teaching the biblical perspective on government and citizenship, while also educating, equipping and encouraging the Church,; supporting government leaders,; and working alongside like-minded groups who support the sanctity of life, biblical marriage and religious freedom for all.

From 2011–2017, Seltz served as speaker of “The Lutheran Hour.” This radio program from Lutheran Hour Ministries has more than 1 million listeners and airs on 1,600-plus stations across North America as well as on the American Forces Network.

Before joining Lutheran Hour Ministries, Seltz served as director of the Cross-Cultural Ministry Center at Concordia University, Irvine, Calif., where he also served as professor of Theology and oversaw the master’s program in Theology and Culture.

Prior to coming to Concordia, Seltz was executive director of Life’s Journey Ministries in Manhattan, N.Y., and pastor of Church for All Nations, the first Lutheran mission start in more than 40 years in New York City. He also has served congregations in both Dallas and Tampa.

Seltz recently completed his doctorate, and his dissertation was “Two Kingdoms — One Mission: An LCMS Missiology for 21st-Century Urban Mission.” Dr. Seltz lives in Washington, D.C. He and his wife, Yvette, enjoy this wonderful challenge and ministry in our nation’s capitol.

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Rev. Nabil S. Nour

Rev. Nabil S. NourThe Rev. Nabil S. Nour is third vice-president and a member of Synod’s Praesidium. Nour was elected fifth vice-president in 2013, and he was re-elected in 2016 and ranked as third vice-president, representing the church’s Great Plains Region.

Nour has also served as pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Hartford, S.D., since August 2016, when he served as their vacancy pastor for a year.

Previously, Nour served Redeemer Lutheran Church, Armour, S.D., from 1994–2015, when he retired. He has also served the church by holding several positions in the South Dakota District: serving as a circuit counselor (1998–2006), second vice-president (2006–12), and first vice-president (2012–13).

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.

Nour graduated in 1978 from Huron College, Huron, S.D., with a Bachelor of Science in criminology and sociology and minors in psychology and gerontology. He entered Concordia Seminary, St. Louis in 1989 and graduated in 1994 with a Master of Divinity.

Today Nour is completing studies for a doctorate in homiletics at the seminary and writing two books and a Bible study on the book of Ruth. He is a trained reconciler, and he travels widely to preach and teach, as well as to lead tours to the Holy Land.

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

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Reverend Professor Laokouxang (Kou) Seying
(Kxf. Nyaj Kub Thoj)

Reverend Professor Laokouxang (Kou) SeyingThe Rev. Prof. Kou Seying is the first ordained Hmong pastor in the Synod. Born in Laos into a Christian family, his parents and grandparents were among the very first Christian converts in Laos. As the result of the Vietnam War, the family took refuge in Thailand for 16 months before resettling in Indianapolis, Ind., through the co-sponsorship of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services and St. Peter Lutheran Church. All of his education since coming to the U.S. at the age of 12 has been in Lutheran schools. He completed his pastoral studies in 1991 with the Master of Divinity degree from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind. (CTSFW). His advanced studies include systematic theology at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., and missiology at CTSFW.

For nearly 30 years of ministry, Rev. Prof. Seying has served as parish pastor, missionary-at-large, mission developer, and professor. Currently, Rev. Prof. Seying occupies the endowed chair, Lutheran Foundation Professor of Urban and Cross-Cultural Ministry, and is the associate dean for Urban and Cross-Cultural Ministry at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. Besides overseeing several theological institutes and initiatives, he teaches courses in the practical theology department as an associate professor. He is the editor-in-chief for several major theological projects in the Hmong language. He also holds a commercial pilot license and a flight instructor certificate.

He and his wife, Maykou, are blessed with two daughters and two sons.

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Rev. Dr. John C. Wohlrabe Jr.

Rev. Dr. John C. Wohlrabe Jr.The Rev. Dr. John C. Wohlrabe Jr. is fourth vice-president and a member of Synod’s Praesidium, to which he was elected in 2016. He represents the church’s Great Lakes Region. He also serves as assistant pastor at Our Savior Evangelical Lutheran Church, Whitefish Bay, Wis.; as editor-in-chief for the Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly; as president of the Concordia Historical Institute Board of Governors; and as an adjunct instructor at Concordia University Wisconsin in Mequon, Wis.

Previously, Wohlrabe served as Synod’s third vice-president (2007–2010) and second vice-president (2010–2016). He also was regional chaplain for Naval District Washington (2007–2009), retiring with the rank of captain in 2009, having served as an active duty U.S. Navy chaplain for 22 years. Prior to that, he was in the Naval Reserves and served as an enlisted sailor on active duty.

Additionally, Wohlrabe served as pastor of Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, Fort Lupton, Colo. (1982–1984); guest instructor at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis (1984–1986); assistant director of Concordia Historical Institute in St. Louis (1986–1987); and pastor of Concordia Lutheran Church, Geneseo, Ill. (2009–2012).

A native of Mankato, Minn., Wohlrabe earned a bachelor’s degree from Concordia College, Ann Arbor, Mich., in 1978. He also 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.

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

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Rev. Peter K. Lange

Rev. Peter K. LangeThe Rev. Peter K. Lange is serving his second term as president of the Kansas District. He also serves as secretary of the Council of Presidents and is a member of the Council’s Program Committee.

Previously, Lange served as senior pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Topeka, Kan., from 1999–2015. During the final three years of that pastorate he served as first vice-president of the Kansas District. Lange’s initial call was to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Concordia, Mo., where he served as associate pastor from 1990–1999.

Born into a parsonage in Houston, Texas, Lange attended LCMS parochial schools, high school and college, graduating from Concordia College, River Forest, Ill., in 1984, and Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, Ind., in 1988. He earned the Master of Sacred Theology degree from Concordia Theological Seminary in 1998.

Lange is serving as chairman of Floor Committee 2 (International Witness) for the 2019 Synod convention. He is also just completing an appointment to the 13-01A Task Force on Priesthood and Office, resulting from the 2016 Synod convention, where he also served as chairman of Floor Committee 15 (Reformation). In addition, Lange has attended three other Synod conventions as a voting delegate, serving on Floor Committee 7 (Structure and Ecclesiastical Matters) at the 2013 Synod convention.

Lange and his wife, Marcia, live in Topeka, Kan. They are blessed with four grown daughters, three recently married and one engaged to be married in fall 2019.

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Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray

Rev. Dr. Scott R. MurrayThe Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray is second vice-president and a member of Synod’s Praesidium. He has served as a vice-president of Synod since 2010.

He represents the church’s West-Southwest Region. He also currently serves as senior pastor of Memorial Lutheran Church, Houston, Texas, where he was called in 1996.

Previously, Murray served St. Paul Lutheran Church, Cobourg, Ontario, Canada (1983–1985), and Salem Lutheran Church, Gretna, La. (1985–1996). He served on the Commission on Theology and Church Relations — as a member from 1995–2001 and as a vice-chair from 1998–2001. He has served as chairman of the Board of Directors of Luther Academy, an organization that promotes confessional Lutheran theology, from 2012–2015.

Born in Kitchener, Ontario, Murray graduated with a Bachelor of Arts 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 of Arts from Loyola University and a Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Murray writes a devotion every weekday called “Memorial Moments,” which is based on the church fathers. He also is the author of Law, Life, and the Living God (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House [CPH], 2001) and A Year with the Church Fathers (CPH, 2011), has edited a number of books including The Gates of Hell (CPH, 2018), and has written numerous journal articles.

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

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Chaplains

Rev. William C. Weedon, chaplain

Rev. William C. WeedonThe Rev. William C. Weedon serves as chaplain and director of Worship at The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod International Center in Kirkwood, Mo.

As director of Worship, Weedon is responsible for proposing and creating programs that carry out the purposes and aims of the Synod in matters of worship.

As chaplain, he works with the Office of the President in planning and supervising all chapel services at the IC (1333 S. Kirkwood) and the nearby Lutheran Church Extension Fund building. He also offers informal chaplaincy and counseling services to employees upon request.

Weedon brings more than 25 years of ministry to this position. Most recently, he served as pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Hamel, Ill. from 1992 to 2012. From 1986 to 1992, he served as pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church, Burlington, N.C.

He is an author, contributor and reviser for Concordia Publishing House (CPH). His most recent works include writing Celebrating the Saints (CPH, 2016), being a contributor to The Apocrypha: Lutheran Study Edition with Notes (CPH, 2012), and authoring numerous sermons and studies in Concordia Pulpit Resources.

Weedon’s service to the Church also includes presenting at conferences on preaching and on the liturgy and hymnody. He hosts a daily radio show on KFUO called “Thy Strong Word” that explores a chapter of the Scripture each day with assistance from various pastors and professors around the Synod.

Weedon holds a bachelor’s degree from Concordia College–New York, Bronxville, N.Y., and Master of Divinity and Master of Sacred Theology degrees from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

Weedon and his wife, Cynthia, reside in Hamel, Ill. They have three grown children: Lauren (and husband, the Rev. Dean Herberts); David (and wife, Meaghan); and Rebekah. They are also blessed with five grandchildren.

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