Texas District Annual Gathering


What do you call it when Lutherans

from across Texas get together to eat great food,

fellowship with like-minded believers,

share ministry opportunities,

be challenged by incredible teaching,

and worship the Most Awesome God?


We call it the LCMC Texas District Annual Gathering!


“SHINE” Gathering Postponed


Rescheduled for July 23-24, 2021 – Victoria, TX

Due to the continued spread of COVID-19, the Texas District Council has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Annual Gathering, rescheduling the event to July 23-24, 2021. The 2021 Gathering and Youth Gathering will feature the same “Shine” theme that we had planned for this summer. We hope to secure the same scheduled speakers and events to the fullest extent possible. It is also our intention to hold next year’s Gathering at Our Saviour’s, Victoria, TX. So mark your calendars for the 2021 Gathering!

Our Plans for 2021:



Early Bird Rates (by July 2): Adults – $TBD / Youth – $TBD

Late Registration (after July 2): Adults – $TBD / Youth – $TBD


Register and Pay Online!


Check-in begins at 5:00 pm on Friday


The event will conclude at 4:15 pm on Saturday


This Gathering is for ALL PEOPLE! All are welcome!


Youth Gathering (grades 6-12) happening simultaneously


Pre-Gathering Leadership Seminar featuring Dave Drum and Rick & Robyn Bezanson


Pre-Gathering Women’s Seminar featuring Linda Klaassen and Robyn Bezanson


Optional BBQ Chicken Dinner Friday Night to Benefit Liberty School in Kenya


Keynote Presentations by Dave Drum, Ted Doering, and Rick & Robyn Bezanson


3 Breakout Sessions with 15 different breakouts to choose from


Hosted by Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, 4102 North Ben Jordan St, Victoria, TX

Keynote Presenters:


Dave Drum

Tucson, Arizona
Pastor Dave Drum has dedicated his adult life to pursuing the cause of Christ in his hometown of Tucson, Arizona. He served as pastor of Community of Hope Lutheran Church in Tucson from 1990-2011 and as the Church Domain Director of 4Tucson from 2011-2018. Dave currently serves as the Director of J17 Ministries which he founded in 2018. The mission of J17 is to unite the body of Christ for a divided world. Jesus demonstrated the primary importance of this in his prayer in John 17. Dave believes that our key to discovering who Jesus really was and how much God loves us is our humble, visible, border-less love for one another.
In his keynote “Shining Like Jesus Prayed We Would,” Dave will help us to understand that Jesus didn’t just say that his followers ought to be salt and light for the world, he said that we are. But how do we flavor the world toward greater unity and maturity? Dave will unpack our biblical mandate as well as share practical examples of how we can faithfully respond as individuals and congregations.
Dave holds a Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio and a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Arizona in Tucson. He has served as the president for the Tucson Association of Evangelicals and the Tucson Ministry Fellowship; a member of the Board of Trustees and Ministry Board for Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ; and the founder of the Evangelical Renewal District of LCMC. He is the author of Jesus’ Surprising Strategy: A Mandate and a Means for City Transformation and If It Was Easy, Jesus Wouldn’t Have Prayed For It: How Jesus’ Strategic Prayer for Unity Can Revolutionize Your City, Congregation, and Home. His latest book is entitled Peace Talks: The Good News of Jesus in a Donkey-Elephant War. Dave and his wife Valerie continue to make their home in Tucson and are the proud parents of 4 adult children and grandparents to one granddaughter.


Ted Doering

Round Rock, Texas
Pastor Ted Doering is a native of Kingwood, Texas and a graduate of Concordia University Texas in Austin and Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. While in college, Ted met his bride-to-be, Chelsey, who he married in June 2010. Upon graduating seminary, Ted was called by Faith Lutheran in Georgetown, Texas to plant a new congregation in Williamson County. In 2015 the Doerings launched Narrative Church which meets in Hopewell Mddle School’s cafeteria in Round Rock. Narrative has experienced consistent growth in its first four and a half years and has been particularly successful at reaching unchurched and dechurched millennials.
In his keynote entitled “Shine Where You Are,” Ted will expose our societal obsession with fame and fortune and how it has even infected our understanding of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. All too often we fool ourselves into thinking that we don’t shine bright enough or in the right hue. But, the calling of the Christian life is not about our light but about Jesus’ – the light of the world! God has us right where he wants us… to shine the light of Jesus in our daily life to those around us.
Ted and Chelsey have co-authored one book, Myth of the Millennial: Connecting Generations in the Church. In their spare time the Doerings enjoy hiking with their dog Gus, cooking up a storm in the kitchen or on the grill, learning the ways of woodworking, and enjoying time with friends and family.


Rick & Robyn Bezanson

Glendale, Arizona
Pastors Rick & Robyn Bezanson hail from Amazing Grace Christian Church in Glendale, Arizona where Rick has served as Senior Pastor since 2003 and Robyn has served as Associate Pastor since 2012. The Bezansons share a passion to reach the outcast and disenfranchised in their community. During Rick’s tenure, church worship attendance in their building has grown from just 6 to over 150 today in three services in two languages. In addition, the Bezansons have been instrumental in planting 17 jail churches in the Maricopa County jail system. In 2014, God gave Robyn a vision for a Christian-based halfway house for women leaving incarceration. This came to fruition in January of 2020 with the opening of House of Grace. This house provides a year-long program for five women who participate in bible studies, recovery meetings, and life skills training.
In their keynote entitled “Hide it Under a Bushel? No!” Rick and Robyn will share their ever-changing adventure of following Jesus by reaching out with the Gospel in an urban, multicultural, multi-class context. They will share the heartaches and tremendous joy they have experienced in reaching out rather than focusing inward at Amazing Grace. Their hope is that you will begin to see the untold blessing and treasure to be discovered in ministry outside the walls of the church building.
Rick holds Doctoral and Masters degrees from Fuller Theological Seminary, a Bachelors degree in History from the University of San Diego, and completed his Lutheran studies at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. He has authored two books: Go to Jail: A Call to Christians – How to Plant Jail Churches and An Audience with the King. Robyn is a second career pastor with a background in finance. She completed ministry training through Beyond the River Academy. Rick and Robyn are proud parents of two adult sons and grandparents of 4 treasured grandchildren.




Bryce Formwalt

Georgetown, Texas
Pastor Bryce Formwalt is the Director of Mission Growth for LCMC Texas District and Program Director of Harvest Workers, an online ministry training program. A Native of northeast Iowa, Bryce is a graduate of Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa and the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Since graduating seminary, he has served congregations in Ohio, Illinois, and North Dakota. His diverse experiences include ministry in urban, suburban, small town, and rural settings. He has also served in a variety of different roles: associate pastor on a large staff, lead pastor of a medium-size congregation, solo pastor, and church planter. Since 2015, Bryce has served the Texas District and is available to assist and coach pastors and congregations in mission and revitalization. He resides in Georgetown with Lisa, his wife of 22 years, and teenage sons, Cole and Simeon.


Enrique Estrada

Monterrey, Mexico
Pastor Enrique Estrada was born and raised in Mexico, the son of a Lutheran pastor. He has taken an active role in church leadership since he was just fifteen years old. Enrique attended Wartburg Seminary through their extension program in Austin, Texas. He was ordained in 1985 and has committed his life to Christ and his church his whole life. In 1991, he founded Mission Mexico International with a vision to reach the people of Mexico with the Gospel of Jesus Christ from a Lutheran theological perspective. Enrique’s work has centered around Monterrey where he currently serves as the pastor of two congregations: Spirit of Joy and Spirit of Faith.



Make plans for your Middle and High School students

to attend this year’s Youth Gathering July 23-24, 2021 in Victoria!

We are excited to announce our third annual YOUTH GATHERING for ALL STUDENTS grades 6-12! Students will grow in their faith through learning from inspiring presenters and doing ministry with others their own age from across the state! Along the way, they’ll meet lots of new friends, have fun, eat some great food, and be encouraged to live faithfully in their everyday lives.
Coinciding with the Annual Gathering, the Youth Gathering has its own schedule. Cost is just $TBD if registered by July 2 and includes snacks, dinner on Saturday evening, lunch on Saturday, and a t-shirt. Transportation and lodging will be the responsibility of each church and/or family. Please spread the word about this awesome opportunity for your students!
Questions? Contact Bryce Formwalt: 512-942-7776 or


Our Pre-Gathering Leadership Seminar will take place from 1:00 to 4:30 pm on Friday. Join us as keynote speakers Rick Bezanson and Dave Drum share practical leadership insight to help you take steps to lead your ministry to more faithfully shine the light of Jesus in your community, especially in the dark places.
In the opening sessions, Rick will share from his experience the ministry lessons learned in years of urban, multicultural, multi-class ministry. How does an Anglo congregation start a Latino ministry? How do you learn to minister in another language and to a very different culture? Rick will speak honestly about the many challenges and tremendous blessings of these ministries.
In the second part of the Leadership Seminar, Dave will present on how to transition our thinking from being “The Pastor of a church” to being “a pastor of The Church.” Most seminaries have not traditionally prepared pastors to lead congregations as one part of the community-wide body of Christ. Dave will share a grander vision for ministry to shine Jesus’ light far beyond the walls of our church building and will offer practical guidance to lead your ministry to experience the tremendous freedom and blessing of being a bigger part of God’s kingdom-building activity in your community.
All pastors, seminarians, and congregational leaders are encouraged to attend. Please make sure you add the “Pre-Gathering Leadership Seminar” option onto your ticket when you register. Cost is $TBD!


All women are invited to attend the Pre-Gathering Women’s Seminar on Friday from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. Ada Smerek from Trinity Lutheran Church in Stonewall, Texas will serve as emcee and hostess for the afternoon sessions which will feature presentations from Linda Klaassen of Medina, Texas and Robyn Bezanson from Glendale, Arizona.
In the opening session, Ada will lead the group in a conversation regarding the various ministries women are engaging in through their local congregations. Linda will present a bible study of Hebrews entitled “Surviving to Thriving through Crisis.”
In the second part of the Women’s Seminar, keynote speaker Robyn Bezanson will share her experience of cross-cultural ministry to women over the past two decades. She will tell her story of how the Lord led her first into jail ministry, then ordained ministry, and eventually the establishment of House of Grace, a halfway house for women coming out of incarceration. She will share her joys and heartaches in this ministry and inspire and encourage all who attend to boldly minister as the Lord leads.
All women are encouraged to attend. Please make sure you add the “Pre-Gathering Women’s Seminar” option onto your ticket when you register. Cost is $TBD!


The BBQ Crew from Our Saviour’s, Victoria will be preparing a BBQ Chicken Dinner as an option on Friday night. Dinner will be served from 5:30 – 6:30 pm. Advance tickets may be purchased with registration for just $TBD. Price at the door will be $TBD. Proceeds from the BBQ Chicken Dinner will go to benefit the Liberty School in Kitale, Kenya.








Shining Through Political Darkness
Dave Drum
Tucson, AZ
Do you ever dread a family gathering because you just know Uncle so and so is going to say something political and put everyone on edge? How did our world get so politically divided? And how we can represent Jesus well in the midst of the polarizing partisanship? Join Dave Drum, author of Peace Talks: The Good News of Jesus in a Donkey – Elephant War to discover how to best represent Jesus in the midst of the discord. Offered Sessions 1 & 2.


Preparing for the Harvest
Bryce Formwalt
Georgetown, TX
In Matthew 9 and Luke 10, Jesus promises an abundant harvest, but he also reminds us that the workers are few. In this talk, we will discover some ways congregations and leaders can be preparing for the harvest that God desires in our communities and beyond. We will also learn about Harvest Workers, a new online ministry training program to equip future ministry leaders to evangelize the lost, disciple the found, and to raise up new leaders to make and multiply disciples. Offered Sessions 1 & 2.


Organizing for God’s Glory:
Church Constitutions and Bylaws
Joe Leavengood
Dime Box, TX
Join Retired Air Force Judge Advocate and private practice attorney Pastor Joe Leavengood as he shares principles and structures for legally organizing or reorganizing a church to endure, thrive and be more effective in its mission. In the holy tradition of the Ten Commandments, Joe is a firm believer in preventive law. Come learn how to structurally prepare your church to handle conflicts as it grows and adapts to the world around it. You don’t need to bring a copy of your church’s constitution and bylaws; We will talk about the reasonable expectations of the law and of your siblings in Christ for how you will run your kitchen, instead of comparing recipes! Offered Sessions 1 & 2.


Six Critical Insurance Risks
Every Ministry Faces
Colton Johnson
Hutto, TX
Churches, Christian schools, and ministries are faced with an ever-changing and increasingly complicated legal environment and social landscape. The Coronavirus Pandemic has presented churches and ministries with the challenging obstacle of adapting and evolving their ministry to their communities and has caused many to wonder about how they can navigate this ever-changing landscape. With this workshop, we will navigate through and unpack the most critical risks every ministry faces and how every ministry leader can properly respond. Offered Sessions 1 & 2.


Construction at Your Church
Caleb Williams
McDade, TX
New Hope is currently building a new sanctuary and fellowship hall to support their growing ministries. Join Pastor Caleb Williams as he shares the “dos and don’ts” of construction that they have learned through this building process as a nonprofit. Topics will include how to raise money and to leverage your non-profit status to lower construction costs. Offered Sessions 1 & 2.


Shining Across Generations
Ted Doering
Round Rock, TX
How often do we blame things on other generations? It runs around non-stop in our news, on social media, and in conversations. But, doesn’t God call us to commend his works to all generations (hint it is in a Psalm)? Join Ted Doering, co-author of Myth of the Millennial: Connecting Generations in the Church, as he breaks down generational differences (spoiler alert: the millennials probably aren’t who you think they are), encourages you with hope in the midst of generational strife, and gives you some everyday steps to connect across generational divides. Offered Sessions 1 & 3.


Leaders Leading Themselves
David Mayer
Stonewall, TX
Before a leader can lead well, he or she must know how to follow good leaders. That means they are in a continual process of leading themselves, putting themselves in a position of learning and growing. This breakout explores areas of self-leadership. Offered Sessions 1 & 3.


Reaching Spanish Speakers for Christ
Yael Mendez
Laredo, TX
Spanish is widely spoken by almost half a billion souls. Intentional mission to share the Gospel is not only possible, it’s our mandate! Jesus commands his followers to make disciples of all nations which includes serving the nations within our local communities. Come and learn how you and your congregation can reach Spanish speakers for Christ. Offered Sessions 1 & 3.


A Bright Future:
LifeBridge Young Adult Ministry
Andrew Cave
Seguin, TX
Faith Lutheran has seen many young families get connected in new ways since starting a young adult ministry. Though it started small, LifeBridge has become one of the most impactful ministries in the congregation. In this session, Andrew Cave will share the importance of young adult ministries, show you how to creatively launch new ideas, and pass along some of the amazing God stories that have come from this new ministry at Faith. Offered Sessions 1 & 3.


Letting Your Light Shine Through Thrivent Action Teams
Kurt Niebuhr
Jarrell, TX
Thrivent Action Teams make it easy to live generously. Action Team projects start with a simple question: “Who can I help and how?” Join Thrivent Representative Kurt Niebuhr as he shares how to apply for $250 grants to help you and your church be a light for your community. Offered Sessions 1 & 3.


A Journey in the Spirit
Rick & Robyn Bezanson
Glendale, AZ
The Holy Spirit is available to all believers to direct our days and deeds according to God’s will. Join Pastors Rick and Robyn Bezanson as they share how the Holy Spirit has guided their journey in their 17 years of ministry at Amazing Grace in Glendale, Arizona. The Spirit has used them to begin new ministries to reach lost, hurting, and helpless people of their community and led them to build Christ’s church in the city. Offered Sessions 2 & 3.


Dave Ficken
Nashville, TN
Evangelism can be a scary word which can cause many Christians to stay away from sharing the Gospel. But sharing your faith doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, God has written His Good News into your story so as you share your life, you also SHINE His light! Join PLI North American Director, Pastor Dave Ficken, as he equips you with tools to use for training in your congregations right away! Offered Sessions 2 & 3.


Money. Gotta Have It? You Betcha!
Jerry Kieschnick
Austin, TX
Zig Ziglar said: “Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the ‘gotta have it’ scale.” That’s true of people. It’s also true of charitable organizations. How does your congregation or organization replace generous contributions lost when significant donors pass away? What level of generosity can come from retirees on a fixed income? How can millennials be motivated to support your mission? Join Dr. Kieschnick, former Synodical President of Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and current CEO of Legacy Deo, for an overview of special current and planned giving strategies that make giving more appealing for your donors and beneficial for your mission and ministry. Offered Sessions 2 & 3.


Addiction, Grace and the Church
Jim Craver
Seguin, TX
Addiction not only impacts the one addicted, but also affects everyone around him or her: family, friends, co-workers, and even church families. It is important to understand the impact of addiction, but it is even more important to discover how the grace of God and His power are essential to recovery. The church can and should have a significant Gospel ministry to those in recovery and their loved ones. Offered Sessions 2 & 3.


The Jesus Festival:
Gospel of Mark in Song
Percy and Ada Smerek
Stonewall, TX
Join Percy and Ada Smerek for a musical presentation of the Gospel of Mark. The Smereks personally composed this musical rendition as a unique method to share the Gospel in song. The performance is approximately 40 minutes, so be on time to experience the entire musical and bring your Bible to follow along. Offered Sessions 2 & 3.


Are you interested in having a display table for your ministry at the Annual Gathering? Do you know a business or organization that partners with churches that would like the opportunity to be represented with a display table in Victoria? Ministry Partners can register for a display table through our online registration form by clicking the button below. Questions? email or call 512-942-7776.


New this year, we are looking for businesses or organizations that are interested in sponsoring our Gathering and receiving  full color advertising space in our program booklet. Half page ads measure 5×3.5 inches can be purchased for $50. Full page ads measure 5×7.25 inches and can be purchased for $100. Sign-up for ad space when you register by clicking the button below.
Contact Bryce Formwalt at 512.942.7776.


Youth Gathering


Students from across Texas connecting on a fun, faith-filled weekend!







Let’s Come Together to SHINE July 23-24, 2021 in Victoria!

Contact Bryce Formwalt at 512.942.7776.


Regional Events



Pastors (active and retired), Youth Ministers, Ministry Staff, Spouses, and Congregational Leaders who want to learn and grow.
And spread the word: you don’t have to be LCMC to come. If you know a Christian leader who would benefit from participating with us, please pass along the invitation!


A Day conference for continuing education and mutual encouragement.

When & Where:



Early Bird Price = $12 
Late Registration = $15 
Contact Bryce Formwalt at 512.942.7776.

Winter Retreat


January 31 – February 2, 2021

Concan, Texas


Stay Tuned for Details!



Pastors, seminarians, ministry staff, congregational leaders and spouses.The retreat is an opportunity for ministry leaders and spouses to get away and be enriched through a time of fellowship, worship, prayer, education, and recreation.


Our Winter Retreat offers two parallel tracks.  Participants may choose the Leadership Track or the Devotional Track.  Everyone on both tracks will share together in common worship and fellowship times.


The Winter Retreat is held at the end of January each year, begining Sunday evening and concluding at Noon on Tuesday.  
Come when you can; leave when you must!


Our Winter Retreat is held in Concan, Texas, a beautiful resort community located along the Frio River.  The Dream Catcher and Rain Dancer cabins serve as our retreat home. Each is designed to host large family gatherings in various sleeping accommodations.  We do our best to accommodate married couples in private rooms with queen bedrooms, but we may not be able to do so depending on the total number of registrants.


Early Bird Price = Typically $60 + snacks & drinks to share
Late Registration = Typically $75 + snacks & drinks to share
Online registration available about 60 days prior to event.
Contact Bryce Formwalt at 512.942.7776.

Local Clergy Conferences

Texas is big. 

We live in the internet-age, where distance is no longer an obstacle to communication. Even so, our pastors frequently get together the old fashioned way: in person. With a bible in one hand and a mug of coffee in the other, they engage in deep theology and casual chit-chat, and everyone goes home better for the exchange.


Hill Country

Coastal Bend 

North Texas