THE MASTERMINDS BEHIND TOOLBOX FOR FAITH DISCIPLES:
Pastor Ariel Williams is the creator, facilitator, and administrator of ToolBoxForFaith. She stumbled upon the idea of online confirmation and thought… “I could do that.” Early in the experimental phase, she threw out a tweet stating she was working on online-confirmation. Two weeks later after lots of social media connecting and a couple of phone calls to friends, a team was assembled and ToolBoxForFaith was born. When the Holy Spirit moves, SHE MOVES!
Pastor Ariel graduated from United Lutheran Seminary in 2018 and currently serves as the Associate Pastor for Discipleship at Living Word Lutheran Church in Katy, TX.
Pastor Ariel also produces seasonal family faith resources and blogs VERY inconsistently. To follow her sporadic ramblings check out: www.javaluia.com.
Her family consists of her fiancé, their 3 children, & 2 cats!
Pastor John Wertz is a curriculum contributor and the Director for Evangelical Mission for the Virginia Synod, ELCA. Pastor John graduated from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in 1997 and he served as pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Walterboro, SC until 2004. From 2004 to 2018, he served as the pastor of St. Michael Lutheran Church in Blacksburg, VA.
Pastor John writes occasionally for the ELCA’s Faith Lens and is one of the founders of Micah’s Backpack, which provides weekend meals to hungry children.
Pastor John met his wife Kris while working at a Lutheran summer camp, Lutheridge in Arden, NC. They have two sons in high school.
Pastor Jerry Wirtley is a curriculum contributor, technical guru for GenNow and his former congregation, St. John’s Lutheran in Little Suamico, WI was one of the pilot congregations participating in GenNow Disciples. Jerry now serves as the campus pastor at Treehouse Ministries, the ELCA campus ministry for Texas A&M and Blinn College. Jerry was very involved in music growing up which led him to pursue a degree in music. It was then that he first felt called to ministry during his undergraduate work in music performance, but he did not follow the call at that time.
He went on to finish his Bachelor of Music degree in music performance on electric bass in Jazz studies at Morehead State University in Morehead, KY in 1994. He continued on at Morehead in Jazz performance studies and received his Master’s of Music Performance in Jazz in December of 1995.
It was in college at Morehead that he met the love of his life, Krista. Krista and Jerry were married in 1996, and shortly after this moved to North Carolina. While in North Carolina the family grew with the birth of their first daughter Charis.
It was in North Carolina where he felt the call to ministry again, and after attending a Via de Cristo weekend September 13 – 16, 2001 he gave in to the call and prepared for seminary. He moved his family to Pennsylvania and attended The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. During their time in Gettysburg, they had two more daughters, Carina and Calea. He graduated with a Master’s of Divinity in May of 2006. Since his ordination he has served congregations in Northwestern Ohio Synod, the Southwestern Texas Synod, the East Central Synod of Wisconsin, and the Texas Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod.
Pastor Andrew Tucker is a curriculum contributor. Drew came later into the process as a pinch hitter and has loved the opportunity to create unique confirmation material to help redevelopment congregations, like his former congregation, Christ Lutheran in Radford, Virginia, provide robust and engaging confirmation education experiences. Drew’s a nerd at heart, with a Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Religion from Ashland University, a Master of Divinity from Duke University Divinity School, and a Master of Sacred Theology from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary of Lenoir-Rhyne University. Fortunately for him, his wife Michelle, who he met at Ashland, is a great editor and much smarter than he could ever imagine.
Drew’s passion in ministry is the formation of young adults into the image of God, which seems to him as the heart of discipleship and a core facet of confirmation. He works at this through campus ministry at Radford University, as adjunct faculty at New River Community College and Lenoir-Rhyne University, and by writing for publications like Sundays and Seasons: Preaching and Currents in Theology and Mission. Originally from Northeast Ohio, Drew now lives in Radford with Michelle and their two dogs, Stanley and Jack. If you’re looking for him, check the golf course, the nearest body of water, anywhere where there’s good music, or anywhere where the Buckeyes are playing.