Three Awards for Extraordinary Service3 min read

During the banquet at the Professional Church Workers’ Conference in Dearborn, two pastors and one congregation received awards for their extraordinary service to the church.

The awards were instituted in 2014 by the executive staff of the Michigan District – LCMS as a way to honor individuals and congregations that have been outstanding in their service. The Paul Award honors those with a missionary heart who serve a wide geographical area. The Philip Award honors those who serve by bringing hope through community transformation and acts of service. The Barnabas Award honors those who raise up the next generations of church workers. “Our prayer is that in lifting up and honoring the work of the recipients by these awards, it will serve as a catalyst for others in the Michigan District with the bottom line of adding souls to the Lord’s Kingdom,” says Rev. Dr. Rick Wolfram, Assistant to the President – Congregation Ministries / Stewardship Ministries.

The Paul Award

Rev. Art Bode of Engadine/Germfask received the Paul Award for his tireless work in the expansion of the Kingdom in the Upper Peninsula. A graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, Rev. Bode was ordained in 1988. Soon after he and his wife arrived in Engadine/Germfask, they purchased their retirement home, signaling they would be staying for a while. So Bethlehem, Engadine built a new friendship center, while Grace, Germfask erected a new lighted highway sign, and Rev. Bode started a joint summer Bible study between both congregations. Later he took on worship in Trout Lake, began vacancy work in Newberry, and is currently working on a mission start in Manistique. He travels many miles every week to bring the message of HOPE to several congregations.

The Philip Award


Rev. Dietrick Gladden of Pontiac received the Philip Award for his acts of service and community transformation in the name of Jesus. A graduate of St. Louis Seminary’s EIIT program, Rev. Gladden was ordained in 2013 and called to serve St. Paul, Pontiac, where he had already been working since 2006. The congregation’s vision has been foundational in developing a number of outreach ministry avenues, including The Overcomers (a ministry to people dealing with addictions, grieving, depression/anxiety, and life’s trials) and The Road (a ministry to incarcerated people that are about to be released back into society). As an inner-city mission, St. Paul seeks to minister to the spiritual needs of these individuals and also provides them with food, clothing, blankets, Bibles, and weekly meals. Because of their care, the message of HOPE in Jesus has free course among the people.

The Barnabas Award


St. Peter, Macomb, received the Barnabas Award for encouraging their congregation’s sons and daughters to go into full-time church work. In 1997, the church’s Strategic Planning established the goal to raise up and employ 25 church workers within 10 years. Their Action Plan to make this happen included: 1) honoring those who presently serve in church work; 2) interviewing every confirmand; 3) providing financial support for students in the Concordia System; 4) providing a dynamic youth ministry… for the youth… by the youth. The congregation also enjoys a great partnership with Lutheran High School North and the Lutheran High School Association. In 2007, as they considered the results of their efforts, they had missed their goal of 25 church workers. They had 41 instead – all of which active in full-time church work or currently in the “pipeline” for full-time church work. By 2012, the number had grown to 51 full-time church workers — people of HOPE.

The pastors and congregation receiving the honors did not know anything about the awards. St. Peter, Macomb was represented by their interim Principal, Kathy Krauss. Rev. Gladden received the award in person, and Rev. Bode was not present but received his award at a later date.

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About the Author

Elisa is a staff writer, copy editor, and photographer for the Michigan District, LCMS.

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