New Staff Spotlight

Dear Friends and Partners,

I’m proud to introduce to you some of the most amazing people in the world. The Lord has led these folks (along with David and Connie Soper) to join Leadership Resources since the beginning of last year.

I’ve told others: “I’m glad that I joined Leadership Resources 25 years ago…I’m not sure that I would make the grade today!”

These are high-caliber team members: talented, experienced, godly, and gifted.

I want to you meet them so you might…

• Praise God with us over the growth that we are experiencing.
• Pray for these new team members…each one mentions a specific prayer request.
• Consider supporting one or more of them.

Melanie Ingland (Assistant to the President)                                                  

Melanie & DanielMy name is Melanie Ingland I am a Michigan native. Growing up outside of Ann Arbor the only significant time I spent away from home was the 4 years I spent at college in South Carolina earning my degree in Criminal Justice.  That may seem like a mismatch when you see where God has led me!  After graduation, the Lord increased my burden to use my life and skills to further his kingdom on a full time basis.  After seeking the Lord for direction, the Lord led me to Todd Kelly at LRI. He introduced me to the position that I now have which is Assistant to our President, Craig Parro.  I love experiencing life, traveling and acquiring new skills so I spend a lot of my free time trying new things all of which I do alongside my boyfriend Daniel.  I love combining my artistic side with other things that intrigue me like “geek culture” and baking so you can frequently find me creating some comic related art piece or creating cakes to teach me new techniques.  Being a part of the LRI team excites me because it allows me to be a part of the greater kingdom work that God is doing in his church around the world.   Please be in prayer for me as I make long term decisions about what community to settle in permanently. You can read about Melanie’s Ministry Journey on her blog.

To support Melanie, click on her name on the “Designation” area of our donation page.

Kevin Halloran (Content Strategist/Latin America Trainer)

Kevin Halloran_Nov 2013Around Christmastime of 2012, five months before I graduated seminary, I anxiously thought about my future and prayed to God that He would lead me to a ministry position that combines my three passions: teaching the Word, speaking Spanish, and blogging/social media. Shortly after graduation, the Lord led me to LRI—who had been praying that God would give them someone like me for months! It is truly amazing how God works. I’m excited to fulfill the calling He has given me on the Communications team broadcasting stories of God’s work around the world and serving as part of the training team in Latin America. (I am also excited to bring down the average age of LRI staffers a few years.) Pray that God would use my online work to share His glory all over the world and connect with many people who can partner with us in our work. You can visit Kevin’s personal blog where he shares Christian thoughts, resources, and book reviews at

To support Kevin, click on his name on the “Designation” area of our donation page.

Tim Henry (H.R. Coordinator)

Tim Henry CropedFor as long as I can remember, I have had an awareness that God is efficiently orchestrating my life opportunities and experiences in the present time with an eye to also prepare me for the “next chapter” of His plan for my life. In the first phase of my adult life, there was an overall theme of ministry to children and youth. God brought opportunities to minister in churches, at summer camps, through regional retreats, in prisons, in urban public schools and in a residential institution. Next, God smoothly introduced a new major phase with a focus on developing my administrative and management skills. For about fifteen years, I saw opportunities to practice program management, not-for-profit administration, management of volunteers, team leadership, staff development, quality improvement and organizational development in a well established Chicago area home for youth.  Now, God has led me to Leadership Resources. I’m excited to be at LRI because I see God working mightily through this ministry, expanding its reputation, reach and resources and I cannot wait to see how He will use the unique mix of gifting and experiences he has blessed me with so I can support and serve in this season of Leadership Resources’ growth. When God prompts you to pray for me, please ask Him to increase my trust in what He is doing even when I cannot see very far into the future. After all these years of seeing God’s faithfulness to me and my family, impatience and worry still overtake me more often than I care to admit.

To support Tim, click on his name on the “Designation” area of our donation page.

Doug Johnson (Director of Church Partnerships)

Doug JohnsonIn 1999, while serving as Associate Director of Missions for the Church of the United Brethren, the Lord used pastors and lay women and men to confirm a calling on my life to preach and teach the Word of God.  Because of my passion for biblical preaching, in 2013 it brought me great joy to be called to serve with Leadership Resources, a ministry dedicated to training pastors to preach and teach the Word of God with God’s heart. One of my responsibilities as Director of Church Partnerships is to meet with church mission commissions and boards, inviting them to partner with Leadership Resources in launching indigenous-led pastoral training movements worldwide.  We always need partners to pray for our Church Partnership Team, that we would effectively communicate the mission of Leadership Resources to the glory of our Savior and King, the Lord Jesus Christ.

To support Doug, click on his name on the “Designation” area of our donation page.

Sean Martin (Program Coordinator)

Sean 2In our little family of five, there are three dual citizens and three nationalities represented.

Between us we have lived in eight cities and five countries. So we feel very much a part of the international focus of LRI! We arrived in Chicago in April and have really enjoyed settling into our new life and ministry. We sense that God has been preparing us for working with LRI for many years and are delighted to be part of a ministry that is training others to spread the gospel to nations and generations. Our focus will be on training preachers in North America as well as developing a partnership with Matthias Media which will help LRI train pastors to train their congregations in reading and sharing the Word of God. We are excited to see how this will work out over the coming years. We would be grateful if you would pray that The Lord would equip and strengthen us for the work that He has given us to do and that our family would keep our eyes firmly fixed on Him.

To support Sean, click on his name on the “Designation” area of our donation page.

Scott Polender (Curriculum Writer/Trainer)

Apr 2013 Polender Fam 2I came to know the Lord Jesus my junior year at Wheaton College.  The next year God’s Spirit broke out on campus in what is known as the 1995 Wheaton Revival.  Christ had already completely changed my life, but there my love for the church grew and I felt compelled to give the time I’m given to build his church.  I would be called to Kathmandu, Nepal for two years before working in local pastoral ministry in Sydney, Australia, Wisconsin and the Chicago area. I’ve been involved in training pastors in the States, but I’m overjoyed to be called to LRI because of the extraordinary fruit we see, immeasurably more than I would have asked or imagined (Eph. 3:20).  Please pray for my wife Jodi and me in the midst of several transitions including joining LRI and the arrival of our third daughter, Tabitha, in February!

To support Scott, click on his name on the “Designation” area of our donation page.

Phil Smith (Field Director)

Phil SmithWe’ve moved from one extreme to another: From pastoring a church on an isolated island in S.E. Alaska, to life and ministry surrounded by millions of people in the Chicago area; from moderate temperatures near the Pacific to the extremes of a polar vortex last winter and hot and humid days this summer here in the Midwest; from focusing on a ministry in a small town to a ministry that impacts congregations around the globe.  We’re very thankful to join the team at LRI as it seeks to launch movements of the Word in churches around the world.  Please pray for our whole family as we develop new friendships and settle into life and ministry here (and for strength as we welcome a new baby girl to our family mid-summer!).

To support Phil, click on his name on the “Designation” area of our donation page.

I told you that they were pretty special people! Each one is in the process of raising their personal support. They are trusting the Lord and the Lord’s people to provide for their monthly financial needs. LRI does not guarantee their salary. We wish we had a big pot of money from which to pay their salaries, but we don’t.

Would you please consider a special gift or a monthly or quarterly commitment to support one or more so that they might continue to work with us for years to come, to the glory of God.

Craig Parro

With gratitude in Christ,

Craig Parro


PS: Please also pray for them as they continue their personal fund-raising process. It’s hard asking people for financial support. It’s sometimes discouraging, but always faith-stretching to trust God for their daily needs.

Leverage Your Kingdom Impact by Having Your Gift Doubled!

Double Investment2Dear Friends and Partners,

Would you please send us a donation today? I know I’m being blunt, but here’s why it’s so urgent…

  1. A Christian foundation has sent us $25,000 to expand our work in an Asian country that is hostile to Christ and his Church. Great news, right? Well yes, but… there’s a catch.

  2. We can’t spend it.They’ve designated it a matching gift. That means we have to raise an additional $25,000 from friends like you in order to be able to use their $25,000.

Here’s the good news: your gift will have double the impact.

That’s a 100% increase on your Kingdom investment—where else can you get that type of financial return? Plus, you’ll be laying up treasures in heaven, where the reward will be far greater!!!!

What will we do with the money?

Rakhine Students in Small Group Study of Hermeneutics

Some of our students in Southeast Asia studying Scripture and hermeneutics

To help pastors like “Noah”, who lives in a country we work in. Upon first hearing the gospel, Noah and his fellow villagers tore down their idols and altars… even before they really understood the gospel. The village witch doctor (Noah’s father) searched a neighboring province to learn more about this Jesus. He found one Bible, one songbook and two cassette tapes. That’s all the resources he had to shepherd these babes in Christ.

The tribe tapped Noah to become their pastor and evangelist since he had been training to become their next witch doctor. He told us:

“A 15-minute daily shortwave broadcast from the Philippines was my only training to become the leader of 11 village churches.  I desperately need more training so I can be a better leader of my people.”

Doubling the impact of your gift is nice, but far more importantly, you will be helping Noah and many other oppressed and under-resourced pastors in his country. By extension, you’ll help nourish the souls of thousands of Christ-followers in their churches. That’s worth $25 or $50 or $100 or $500, isn’t it? To make your tax-exempt donation, please donate online at

and choose the Designation “Other” and type in “Asia/MG” to have your gift matched! The last day to have your gift matched is July 31, 2014. Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity to strengthen needy churches in the Word of God!

With gratitude in Christ,

1410dc9Craig Parro
President of Leadership Resources International

Double My Gift


The Assumption That Our Churches Can’t Afford


An article was published recently on The Gospel Coalition by Jen Wilkin called, “The Assumption We Cannot Afford.” The assumption she warned against was assuming that people in our congregations know how to read the Bible for themselves.

Wilkin’s first glimpse of the degree of this neglect was after leading a year-long women’s Bible study and being overwhelmed with comments saying, “I’ve been in church for years, but no one has taught me to study my Bible until now.”

We often hear the same types of comments from pastors we train. While these comments can be very encouraging on the one hand about the importance and effectiveness of our training, they are also profoundly discouraging when thinking about the lack of training many pastors have.

Wilkin continues,

Church leaders, I fear we have made a costly and erroneous assumption about those we lead. I fear that in our enthusiasm to teach about finances, gender roles, healthy relationships, purity, culture wars, and even theology we have neglected to build foundational understanding of the Scriptures among our people…When we offer topical help–even if the topic is doctrine–without first offering Bible literacy, we attempt to furnish a house we have neglected to construct.

All Christians should have a solid foundation of Scriptural truth and a working knowledge of how to read the Bible. The Bible can be confusing and hard to understandPastors must teach their people the Bible and how to study the Bible for themselves.

Doing this will help their congregation more faithfully feed themselves the Word of God during the week and not rely on the knowledge or abilities of others. The more people get into the Bible for themselves, the more God will use it to sanctify them and prepare them for their own ministry (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and the more people will understand why the Psalmist could say the Word is more to be desired than gold and sweeter than honey (Psalm 19:10).

The results of our training are much like how Jen Wilkin describes the women she equipped as excited, “well-watered plants after a drought…finally being given some tools to build Bible literacy.

And yet so many church goers are plants still in a drought, so many pastors and church leaders are not being equipped or nourished with God’s Word. We recently heard a confession of a Honduran pastor who said that for thirty-five years in ministry (before receiving our training) he had been preaching nothing.

Does that break your heart? Hearing that story broke our hearts but encouraged us that God would not give up on this man but equip him for his remaining years in ministry through receiving training in the Word through Leadership Resources.

Will you pray with us that God would equip and nourish His people with His Word all over the world and have it increase and prevail mightily (Acts 19:20)? Would you pray for pastors like Rolando in Oaxaca, Mexico, a man who desperately longed to be trained in God’s Word and had God answer his prayer by sending Leadership Resources?

The Word of God is sufficient to do the work of God. It is our job to make it and its’ life-giving message accessible and understandable to others. We thank God for His power displayed in His Word!

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