Kay L. Meyer, Founder, President and Host
Kay Meyer is the founder and president of Family Shield Ministries and host of the Family Shield radio program and podcast. She is a popular author and speaker on prayer, family life, spiritual growth, and evangelism, and has authored articles, books, and other Christian publications including: Witnessing--A Lifestyle (FSM 2008), Balance-Christ Filled Living (LWML, 2017), Mission Field on Our Doorstep: Jehovah's Witnesses (FSM 2019), Portals of Prayer, Teacher's Interaction, My Devotions, Life in the Sandwich Generation (CPH, 1994), Teaching Your Children Christian Values (CPH, 1995), Concordia Pulpit Children's Devotions, and The Adventures of Billie and Annie: Baby Bison (TLM Publishing, 2003). Meyer has an undergraduate degree in early childhood and elementary education and a Masters of Arts in Media Communications from Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri. She has been married to Tjaden Meyer for over 45 years. They have three grown children and three grandchildren. Their two sons are now with the Lord. The Meyer's are members of Concordia Lutheran Church in Kirkwood, Missouri. Meyer was featured in Cambridge Who's Who. To reach Meyer, go to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rev. Mark Frith, Chairman
Rev. Mark Frith is the “Champions For Liberty” Network Director for the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty (LCRL), a ministry of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Frith served for five years with Lutheran Church Extension Fund as Vice President for Ministry Support, with Lutheran Hour Ministries, in the Kansas District as facilitator for missions and stewardship and was a parish pastor for 17 years. Mark is married to Leigh, and they have two grown children and live in St. Louis.
Mark was elected as chairman of Family Shield Ministries Board of Directors in 2020.
Curtiss A. Wittbracht, Treasurer
Curtiss is retired from Lutheran Hour Ministries where he was the chief financial officer, a position he has held since December 2007. He also served as treasurer of The Lutheran Hour Ministries Foundation. Prior to joining Lutheran Hour Ministries in March 1990, Wittbracht was a manager of securities and real estate accounting at General American Life Insurance Company in St. Louis, Missouri. He was also an internal control administrator at General American Life and a senior financial analyst at Horace Mann Educators Corporation in Springfield, Illinois. Wittbracht earned a C.P.A. certificate from the state of Illinois in 1975 and a bachelor's degree in Accounting from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois. He was presented a Master FLMI Certificate from Life Office Management Association and has served as president of the St. Louis chapter of the Insurance Accounting & Systems Association. His area of expertise is nonprofit financial management and taxation. He has also served as president of the St. Louis Civil War Roundtable. Wittbracht and his wife, Linda, reside in Waterloo, Illinois, and they attend Immanual Lutheran Church in Waterloo. They have five grandchildren.
Rev. Alex Schrader
Rev. Alex Schrader serves as Associate Pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Olivette, Missouri, where his areas of emphasis are in family, youth, and outreach ministry. He completed his pastoral degree (Master of Divinity) in May of 2019. He also has a Master of Sacred Theology (STM) with a major in Exegetical Theology from Concordia Seminary St. Louis (2021). Schrader has a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Concordia University Ann Arbor (2000) and has served as Director of Music in a variety of settings, most recently at Epiphany Lutheran Church in St. Louis, MO. Schrader established a recording studio and has served as sound technician and producer in Michigan, Ohio, and Missouri, and composer of two albums of his own.
Before beginning his graduate studies toward a Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree, he spent over 18 years in the Internet technology field, as a small business owner where he produced over 250 audio recording projects, designed and hosted over 150 web sites and web applications. He also served as Webmaster for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and as technology consultant and software developer for a variety of companies, including Ford Motor Company, American Express Incentive Services, AT&T, Ralston Purina, MasterCard, Centene, and New Balance, among others.
Schrader was involved with the starting of Christ in the City (Crave Coffeehouse), an LCMS plant church on the campus of St. Louis University. He participates in various music ensembles in the St. Louis area, providing support on lead guitar, bass guitar, euphonium, trombone, and vocals. Schrader currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri with his wife, Vicki, who is a nonprofit fundraising specialist. They have three children, Sophia, Erik, and Leo.
Rev. Mark Femmel
Mark has been a pastor since 2006 and currently serves as the pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Maryland Heights, the northwest area of St. Louis, Missouri. He is from a family of teachers, earned a math teaching degree, and then earned a Master’s Degree of Divinity through Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. Because Mark is passionate about sharing the great news that God is on mission to reach the world, he also earned a Master’s Degree of Sacred Theology, specializing in the Historical Jesus, essentially helping people discover that the Gospels are accurate biographies of Jesus who has come to set us free and to lead us home.
Mark became interested in Family Shield Ministries because it is a mission which is focused on leading God’s people into God’s Word to help them overcome their struggles and to help them help others overcome their struggles. To empower people to live in God’s Word wherever we are—through devotions, blogs, podcasts, and other digital ministry—is to empower people to walk with God, to hear truth, and to be set free. (John 8:31–32)
Mark currently also serves as a volunteer police chaplain for the St. Louis County Police Department, as a volunteer police chaplain for the Maryland Heights Police Department, and as a living witness to the good news of Jesus at his gym where he and his family enjoy working out and connecting with people.
Emily graduated with honors from Concordia University, Nebraska in 2009, earning an undergraduate degree in History and double minors in Theology and Literature. She then went on to complete her Juris Doctor degree at Valparaiso University School of Law in 2013.
Following law school, she accepted a position with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics as a Manager of Legislative Services. In 2018, she had the opportunity to focus her practice on the areas of estate planning and elder law, and currently serves as a Senior Trust Officer within the Trust Administration department of a large bank.
Emily has held board member positions with various charities and organizations across the Midwest, including a pediatric therapy facility in Springfield, Missouri, and a current appointment on the leadership committee of the Omaha Bar Association.
Originally a native of Weston, Missouri, she now resides with her husband, Craig, in Omaha, Nebraska. They are members of St. Mark Lutheran Church and look forward to welcoming their first child in July.
Laura Langhoff Arndt
Laura graduated with an undergraduate degree in secondary education from Concordia University, St. Paul, Minnesota and earned a Director of Christian Education (DCE) degree. Her Master’s Degree is also from Concordia, St. Paul. She was a teacher in middle school and high school math for 15 years before she founded The Carpenter’s Ministry Toolbox. It is a blog devoted to Christian Education Resources. She has also written numerous books available through SOLA Publishing. Some include: The Art of Teaching Confirmation, Leading Meaningful Adult Bible Classes, and God’s Gift at Baptism.
She is married to Kevin, who is a Lutheran pastor. Laura enjoys her eight, grown stepchildren she inherited when marrying Kevin.
Lauren has worked in Ministry Solutions at Lutheran Church Extension Fund since 2018, supporting congregations throughout capital campaign processes. She has been a freelance copy editor since 2014, having worked for The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Pathfinder Church, and Eckhartz Press, among others. Lauren graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in English from Texas Christian University.
Lauren lives in St. Louis, MO, where she enjoys serving at her lifelong church, Pathfinder Church in Ellisville, MO. She also loves to read and travel whenever possible.
FORMER BOARD MEMBERS AND/OR ADVISERS
Rev. Dr. Donald Johnson
Rev. Dr. Donald Johnson is retired. Prior to his retirement he was the Executive Director of Lutheran Indian Ministries. He is also the author of Broken Lives, Broken Pieces and is currently writing a new book.
Wayne Hamit, Pastoral Advisor
Wayne Hamit is currently responsible for all aviation and security services provided by Government Critical Services (GCS,LLC). GCS brings expertise from all over the world to form Public Private Partnerships with governments. Optimizing the government agencies to function at a higher capacity. Prior to this assignment Wayne Hamit served on a Hostage Recovery Team since 2005. Wayne is a graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana. He is the founder of Mountain Movers International, a faith-based charity that rescues those that need to be rescued. He is a decorated US Naval Officer that served worldwide with the Navy and Marine Corps. Hamit worked for Foxconn Technologies abroad as Director of Business Development. In the past he has served as a reserve police officer. Hamit is a credentialed consultant to the United Nations Economic and Social Development Council. He has developed a vast network of NGOs and business connections worldwide, with special emphasis on under-developed and unstable nations. He is married, a grandpa, and lives in Texas.
Mrs. Jander is a Licensed Professional Counselor, specializing in Marriage and Relationship Therapy. Her Master of Arts in Professional Counseling degree is from Concordia University, Chicago. She has provided individual and group therapy in Chicago, IL, Houston, TX, and Austin, TX. She has served as a Director of Christian Education (DCE) in Oklahoma, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. She continues to write and facilitate Bible studies and workshops on issues relevant to the integration of Scripture and psychology. She home schooled her children through May of 2019. She and her husband, Rev. David Jander, live in Chaska, MN where David serves as the pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Carver, MN. They have three children, Seth, Elizabeth, and Luke.
Rev. Roger Sonnenberg, Board Adviser
Rev. Sonnenberg holds a Master of Divinity degree from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, as well as a masters degree in psychotherapy from the American Institute of Family Relations in Los Angeles, California. He retired as pastor of Our Savior Lutheran in Arcadia, California in 2015, served as a part time professor in the graduate marriage and family program at Concordia University at Seward, Nebraska, and lectured and did seminars throughout the United States on sexuality, marriage and family relations. He served as 1st Vice President of the Pacific Northwest District, as well as chairman of the Board of Directors. He serves as chairman of Family Shield in St. Louis, Missouri. He has authored many articles, studies, and books, including Parenting with Purpose, and Parenting with Values, (two video-based parenting programs), 501 Ways to Love Your Wife and Children, 501 ways to Love Your Grandkids and Their Parents, Human Sexuality, A Christian Perspective (CPH, St. Louis, MO.), and Advent and Lenten Worship Services (2008, 2009 Creative Communications, St. Louis, MO). He writes regularly for magazines and publications throughout the United States. He and his wife Robin have been married for 30 years and have one son, Jacob.
The Rev. Dr. Ronald W. Jones
Dr. Jones has served as pastor of St. Paul Ev. Lutheran Church in Raritan, NJ for the past 11 years. He had previously served for 32 years in academic, social and campus ministries, having met Kay Meyer when both were involved with Voelkerding Village. He also served as an Army Reserve chaplain, retiring in 2005 with the rank of Colonel. He is a hearing facilitator for the LCMS Dispute Resolution Process and also serves as Circuit Counselor for the Eastern Circuit of the SELC District. He writes quarterly opinion pieces for his local newspaper and continues to offer an editorial eye when requested. He holds a B.A. from Concordia Sr. College, an M.Div. and S.T.M. (New Testament) from Concordia, St. Louis, an M.A. (Classics) from Washington University, and an Ed.D. (Higher Education) from Texas Tech. He and wife Katherine have two adult sons.
Rev. Mark J. Cares
Rev. Cares graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 1977. Since graduation he has served congregations in Colorado and Idaho. He authored the book, Speaking the Truth in Love to Mormons, and presently serves as founder and president of Truth in Love Ministry, an outreach ministry to Mormons.
Rev. Timothy Knapp
Rev. Knapp has served Christ as a pastor in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod for 18 years. He has pastored congregations in Connecticut, St. Louis, and currently serves as pastor at First Lutheran Church and school in Holyoke, Massachusetts. He has been there for 13 years. In addition to parish ministry, Pastor Knapp has served the New England District as a vice-president for the last four years. Prior to that he was a member of the Board of Regents at Concordia, Bronxville, NY. He has been a member of the Holyoke Hospital ethics committee for five years and has served as an adjunct professor at Springfield college in the area of marriage and family therapy. Pastor Knapp has received training as an LCMS Reconciler using the Peacemaker model of Biblical resolution. He has served as a consultant to both LCMS and ELCA congregations struggling with conflict and has taught Biblical conflict resolution skills at confirmation retreats, pastoral gatherings, LWML zone rallies, congregational meetings and in counseling settings. Pastor Knapp and his wife Gayle have two grown children, Hannah and Aaron.
Rev. Dr. John Oberdeck
Rev. Dr. John Oberdeck, M.S., M.Div., Ph. D., is the Assistant Director of Lay Ministry for Concordia University, Mequon, Wisconsin. Prior to taking this position he was the Director of Continuing Education and Parish Services, and Associate Professor of Practical Theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO. He received a Masters of Science in Education from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, in 1976. In 1979 he graduated from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. In 1989 Oberdeck accepted a call to Concordia Seminary as Director of Residential Field Education, a position he held until 1995, when he became Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program and Director of Continuing Education and Parish Services. In 1997 he left the Doctor of Ministry Program in order to devote time toward the completion of a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of MissouriColumbia. Professor Oberdeck is married to Virginia, a Lutheran teacher. They have: Andrew, Debbie, and Christy.
Dan Leeman’s career has spanned 30 years dedicated to estate planning as a lawyer and charitable estate advisor. He currently works for the American Bible Society as the Philanthropic Advisor and is a licensed attorney in Texas and Arkansas. Previous positions include being the President of Concordia Benefits Plan and working as the National Endowment Director for the Boys Scouts of American. Dan has three grown children and attends Concordia Lutheran Church in Kirkwood, Missouri.
Faith is an alumna of Concordia University in Irvine, California and a Fellow of the Academy of Christian Apologetics, Evangelism and Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. She has a master’s degree in Theology and wrote her thesis on sharing Christ online with Millennials.
Faith, her husband, Chris, and their four children live in Belleville, Illinois where he is pastor of Zion Lutheran Church. In addition to running a home business, Faith serves as the Executive Director of the Association of Lutheran Mission Agencies (ALMA). ALMA is professional development organization which provides networking support and continued learning opportunities for mission workers and missionaries.
From 2007-20016, Faith worked at Lutheran Hour Ministries in many roles including managing the Ambassador program, Regional Outreach Conferences, and Digital Outreach. Prior to working for LHM, she served as the DCE of University Lutheran Chapel serving the UCLA campus for seven years.