I’m Karen Kogler, administrator of this site. My passion is enjoying God’s gifts and using them for his purposes. I’m convinced God’s kingdom will thrive as we, the church, help each other use our God-given gifts as we follow his call. That’s healthy church volunteerism. That’s equipping saints to serve.
I created this website to encourage and equip all gatherings of people who follow Jesus to be better stewards of their people’s time and talent. We can all equip each other to better serve Jesus.
This site contains my thoughts, tools I’ve created or found, and stories of what equipping looks like at various churches, including my own. The boxes to the right (topics, categories, search box, recent posts and archive) will help you explore the site. Use comments to share your thoughts, knowledge and experience.
I have served St. Peter Lutheran Church, Arlington Heights, Illinois, as Director of Equipping since 2007. A lifelong member of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS), I’ve enjoyed participating in many congregations as a volunteer and as professional staff and support staff. I’m also a volunteerism speaker, writer and coach (See Services).
Out and About
- Spoke on “When the Church Serves the Community” to the Volunteer Administrator’s network meeting of the Michigan District LCMS, Ann Arbor, MI, fall 2016.
- Online webinar, “Three Keys to Finding and Keeping Fantastic Volunteers” for Wheat Ridge Ministries, Feb. 2016.
- Spoke on recruiting and retaining volunteers to The Church Network, Lombard, Illinois, January 2015
- Spoke on “Identifying Word for Volunteers” and “How to Fire a Volunteer” for three Lutheran Church Charities’ Church Secretary’s Conferences, fall 2012
- Plenary speaker and leader of two workshops, Southeast District conference, August 2012.
- Workshop, “Equipped to Lead,” Women’s Leadership Institute conference, March 2012, St. Louis, Missouri.
- Webinar, “Recruiting and Retaining Volunteers,” sponsored by the Southeast District LCMS, January 2012.
- Webinar, “Effective Volunteer Recruiting,” sponsored by Wheat Ridge Ministries, Feb. 10, 2011.
- Workshop, “Multiplying the Number of Volunteers at Your Church,” Passionate Leaders Conference, South Wisconsin District, LCMS, February 2011.
- “Volunteers are not Free” published in January 2010 issue of Lutheran Witness magazine
- Workshop, “Are You a Good Steward of Your People’s Time and Talent?” at five Stewardship Learning Events, Northern Illinois District LCMS, August and September 2009
- Workshop “Recruiting for the Mission,” May 2009, South Wisconsin District conference LCMS
- Volunteerism training for the LCMS Foundation in April 2009 and February 2011 in St. Louis, MO.
- Quoted in “When Gifts Get in the Way” in the Sept/Oct 2008 issue of Children’s Ministry Magazine.
- September 2008, spoke on “Healthy Helping: When Helping Others Helps You” at the Older Adult Gathering, Starved Rock Lodge, Ottawa, Illinois, sponsored by Lutheran Life Communities, Arlington Heights, Illinois.
- Wrote “The Wall between Faith-Based and Secular Volunteerism: Is it Time to Chip Away at the Barrier?” for e-Volunteerism, an electronic journal. This article is also posted on this site.
- Workshop, “Recruiting and Retaining Volunteers” in April 2008 for Leadership Conference of the Women’s Leadership Institute, Milwaukee, Wisconsin..
- Wrote daily devotions for March 2003 and August 2000 in Portals of Prayer devotional magazine.
- “How to Discourage Your Church’s Volunteers” published in The Lutheran Witness in March 1998.
- Serving as Director of Equipping at St. Peter Lutheran Church, Arlington Heights, Illinois
- Earned a CVA, December 2010. The CVA (Certified in Volunteer Administration) credential is the only international professional certification in the field of volunteer resources management.
- M.A. in Theology, Concordia University, Irvine, CA; B.A. in Education, Concordia University, River Forest, IL.
- Nine years, Director of Volunteer Ministries, Christ the King Lutheran Church, Southgate, Michigan
- All three levels of training at Marlene Wilson’s Volunteer Management program at the Univ. of Colorado, Boulder
- Began leading workshops and writing professionally while in Southgate.
- Between the Southgate and Arlington Heights positions, I led (as a volunteer) an Equipping Volunteers for Ministry team in my home congregation, Christ Lutheran, Costa Mesa, while employed by the Center for U.S. Missions in Irvine.
- Before beginning in church volunteerism in 1993, I served as parochial school teacher and church office administrative assistant
- Husband Henry, a full-time church musician, has served churches in Missouri, Michigan, California, and Illinois. We have two adult sons.