Grow Leadership Conference

Grow Leadership Conference

Developing Thriving Rural Churches

Heritage Church, Baxter, MN

March 9, 2019

9:00AM – 4:00PM



Grow Leadership Conference equips rural and small town church leaders and pastors in developing thriving rural churches. God has strategically placed churches in rural areas and small towns to impact our culture for all of eternity.

The Grow Leadership Conference will encourage pastors and lay leaders in the unique role they play in the Kingdom of God, and will provide insight on ministering effectively to impact their communities.

Grow Leadership Conference is led by a diverse array of denominations and church leaders.



God has given you and entrusted you with this incredible message of the Gospel, and He’s called you to a very unique place. And lest you think, because the place He’s called is not big, that it doesn’t matter. Bigger is not better, deeper is better, transformed is better.

-Rev. Kevin Kompelien, President of the Evangelical Free Church of America





Martin Giese  |  President of Oak Hills Christian College

Dr. Martin Giese is the President of Oak Hills Christian College in Bemidji, MN. He has served with Oak Hills’ Church Ministries by founding and directing the “Country Shepherds’ Workshop,” an interdenominational training seminar for pastors of Town and Country Churches.

Giese served as the lead pastor of Faithbridge (previously Faith Baptist Church) in Park Rapids for 23 years. Prior to that Giese served at First Baptist Church in Parkers Prairie for nearly two decade, and as an adjunct faculty member for the Billy Graham School of Evangelism for ten years. Giese has a master’s degree from Moody Bible Institute, and his Doctorate in Ministry and Leadership from Bethel University.



Mitch Haaby  |  Associate Pastor at Cedarbrook Church

Mitch Haaby is the Associate Pastor at Cedarbrook Church in Menomonie, WI. He and his wife, Jena, have two beautiful young girls (Nadia & Emmi), ages 10 & 8. Mitch graduated from North Park Theological Seminary in May of 2017 with his Master of Divinity. He and Jena hail from the true north country. Mitch is from Roseau, MN and Jena is from 20 miles down the road in Warroad, MN.

Mitch is an avid outdoorsman and believes God hand-picked the Chippewa Valley area for him. He loves to bow hunt (deer, bear, and probably turkey soon), fish for walleye (in the boat or through the ice), and just simply connect with our Creator through nature – especially here in Dunn County! Mitch works with the youth at Cedarbrook primarily, but is excited to explore other areas of ministry there as well!


Jim Hodgson  |  Director of Church & Community Relations at Oak Hills Christian College

Jim Hodgson, Director of Church & Community Relations at Oak Hills Christian College, grew up on a family farm near Cavalier, ND. He came to Jesus as young person in the Pembina (ND) EFC, graduated from Oak Hills in the 80’s, and then served as a suburban youth pastor in Chicago for a decade. He has been on staff at Oak Hills now for 17 years and is passionate about the church being an asset in their community, whether in a rural/small town, regional center, or suburban/urban setting. He and his wife Jenny have 4 young adult children & 3 grandchildren, all who live in MN. Their son serves as Youth Pastor at the Covenant Church in Upsala. Jim loves serving the Lord at Oak Hills along with Dr. Martin Giese and Rick Weinert.


Keith Johnson |  Director of Youth Ministry
Zion Covenant Church

Keith Johnson has severed Zion Covenant and Bethel Covenant Churches as the Director of Student Ministries in Ellsworth, Wisconsin for almost two years now. He has been involved in Student Ministries for almost 10 years now in some capacity whether it has been a volunteer at Arvada Covenant Church, or the Youth Intern at Faith Community Lutheran Church or Crossroads Church, to Interim Youth Pastor at First Covenant Church in Red Wing, MN.

He also works close with the High School in Ellsworth, WI as the Lunchroom Monitor and Study Hall Supervisor.

He has a passion for working with students and their families and seeing them grow in their faith while learning to make it their own. Keith is a graduate of North Park University  with a degree in Biblical Studies and received his Master of Arts in Youth & Family Ministries with an emphasis in Counseling Ministries from Denver Theological Seminary. Keith is married to his wife Alicia and they have one son. Keith loves the Denver Broncos, the Colorado Rockies and pretty much all things Colorado.


Paul Jorgensen |  Lead Teaching Pastor, Cornerstone Church

Paul Jorgensen, together with his wife, Sharon, spent 20 years starting churches and training leaders in the country of Austria in south-central Europe. During that time they were able to start and train leadership in three churches in small towns in addition to serving as consultants for churches across the country. Paul currently serves as lead teaching pastor at Cornerstone Church in Litchfield, MN.




Jason Karlsson |  Youth Pastor, Rush City Baptist Church

Jason Karlsson has been serving as the Youth Pastor at Rush City Baptist Church for the past 12 years and was a volunteer in the ministry for the 6 years prior.  Over the past 18 years he has seen many changes that helped him to develop his church’s youth ministry program.   Jason believes that the most effective ministers in any church are the people who attend it.  His primary ministry goal is to give the appearance that he is unnecessary.

Jason and his wife, Emily, were both raised in Rush City.  They have been married for 13 years and have four kids (Aaron 10, Simon 8, Lilly 6, and Micah 2).  As a bi-vocational pastor, Jason also works as an industrial designer for a local manufacturer.  In the past he earned his additional income as a live bait salesman and deliveryman.  These outside jobs give him a perspective of ministry that helps him relate to the struggles that youth face as they live in a world that is often antagonistic to their faith.  Jason enjoys woodworking and good nap.


Andrea Olson  |  Worship Leader at The Harbor Foursquare Church

Andrea Olson has had a life-long passion for music, ministry and drawing people closer to Jesus. She has been a worship leader for the past 13 years at The Harbor Foursquare Church in West Central Minnesota as well as leading worship and hosting workshops for the past several years around the Midwest.

In 2014, God laid it on Andrea’s heart to start a worship ministry for worship leaders and their teams. This ministry would host conferences for people to gather together from all over. So, Overflow Worship was born. The purpose of these conferences is to equip and resource the local church, encouraging them to thrive in their ministry. Often at conferences, we are given a new passion and vision for life and ministry. And the next step is to put that vision into motion. God has called Andrea to help leaders and churches with that. Serving the church and its leaders is the very heartbeat of this ministry.

Andrea is married to her wonderful husband, Gabe, and they have three beautiful daughters.


More Speakers coming soon!





Church Leadership

Session title and description coming soon!

          Erik Carlson | Lead Pastor, Dawson Covenant Church


Session title and description coming soon!

          Rick Weinert | Facilitator of Church & ministry Resources, Oak Hills Church Ministries


Session title and description coming soon!

          Martin Giese | President of Oak Hills Christian College


Developing and Strengthening Your Church Board

          Paul Jorgensen  |  Lead Teaching Pastor, Cornerstone Church

The church board is key in developing a healthy ministry. What are ways to develop leaders within the church? How can we, as board members, continue to grow? What are some best practices in equipping and utilizing the gifting of those who serve on our boards?

Children Ministry

Session title and description coming soon!

          Kari Larson  | Children’s Ministries Coordinator, Oxlip Church



Session title and description coming soon!

          Eric Weaver |  Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church in Forest City, Iowa



Community Outreach

Bless Your Community

          Jim Hodgson  |  Director of Church & Community Relations at Oak Hills Christian College

Many times in our community outreach we focus only on those with desperate needs (hungry, homeless, & hurting) instead of also remembering to encourage and serve the community leaders who are having to carry the weight of the big decisions.


Session title and description coming soon!

          Ryan O’Leary | Converge Missionary



Youth Ministry 

Session title and description coming soon!

          Mitch Haaby  |  Youth Pastor, Cedarbrook Church


Session title and description coming soon!

          Keith Johnson |  Director of Youth Ministry Zion Covenant Church


Youth? That’s what we hired you for!

          Jason Karlsson  |  Pastor of Youth Ministries, Rush City Church

Youth ministry is not my job.  It’s yours.  The most successful youth ministries do not rely on a paid person, they rely on the commitment of a team of volunteers.  The best youth ministers will appear to be unnecessary.

In this workshop we will cover some of the hard lessons that I have learned in 12 years of paid youth ministry.  There are three keys issues surrounding youth ministry that we will cover.  First, we will cover volunteers and how to select, recruit, develop, and support them.  Second, we will cover the scope and purpose of youth ministry and how defining this will better prepare your church to minister well.  Finally, we will conclude with some practical ways to best support your youth minster as they as they serve you and the youth of your community.


Worship Ministry

Worship Leaders… You Can Be Excellent With What You Have!

          Andrea Olson  |  Worship Leader at The Harbor Foursquare Church

“But, what is I don’t have much?” If you are asking this question, join Andrea Olson for this session all about useful, affordable, and practical worship resources for the Church. Bring your questions for a Q and A at the end!




Registration will include full access to the conference and a meal that will be served on site.



Individual Tickets for up to 4 persons will be $60.00 per person.

The ticket price for each individual after the 4th ticket (up to 10) will be $20 per person.

The group discount will be applied on the last page on the registration link. 


Questions about registration?

Call Transform Minnesota at 612.746.5648





13242 Berrywood Dr.
Baxter, MN 56425

Parking will be available at the church.

Need directions?





Who are the speakers?

Dr. Martin Giese will be the keynote speaker. View our “Speaker” tab to view additional speakers!

What should I bring?

We encourage you to bring a Bible, a notebook, your staff and lay leaders.

Do I have to register now or can I do it at the door?

This event may sell out! We encourage you to purchase your tickets when they become available on January 9th at 10:00AM.

Where is the evening event located?

The Grow Leadership Conference will be held at Heritage Church at 13242 Berrywood Dr, Baxter, MN 56425

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What past attendees are saying:

“Ministry in a rural area is very unique and difficult, yet it’s a well worthwhile ministry. It’s helpful that I’m not the only one telling that to our church staff, I’m glad my staff really resonated with that, and feels encouraging that we’re not alone.”

-Pastor Paul, Birch Hills Church, Melrose, MN

“Ministry in an urban or suburban setting is so different from doing ministry in a rural town where scheduling is different, and so is how people live their lives; to have this space (at Grow Leadership Conference) for learning in the rural context is very helpful.”

-Bracston of Buffalo Free Church in Buffalo, MN.




Listen to Rev. Kevin Kompelien’s keynote address from the 2018 Grow Leadership Conference

Read a summary of the 2018 Grow Leadership Conference in Willmar, MN




About Transform Minnesota

Transform Minnesota is a network of churches where leaders engage complex issues from a biblical perspective.


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