Three experts in the field of substance abuse, Rev. Dr. Dennis Goff— Director of Ministry Programs of The Lutheran Foundation in Fort Wayne, Indiana, along with Tom Allman— Vice President of Addiction Services with Park Center (An Affiliate of Parkview Health) in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Rachel Blakeman— Community Research Institute Director for Purdue University in Fort Wayne, Indiana, join hosts Rev. Dr. Steve Schave, Director of LCMS Church Planting, and Rev. Dr. Mark Larson, Manager of Church Planting in the Mission Field: USA initiative, to explore resources and insights on the often lethal epidemic of substance abuse in our country, and how the church can bring hope and life.
About Rev. Dr. Dennis Goff: Since 2016, Goff has been the Director of Ministry Programs for The Lutheran Foundation in Fort Wayne, IN. He comes to the position after nearly 30 years as a parish pastor in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) serving congregations in Louisiana, Florida and Minnesota. He also worked for Capital Funding Services of the Lutheran Church Extension Fund.
A graduate of Concordia College, Ann Arbor MI and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis MO., Goff also holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis MO in homiletics with an emphasis on Biblical Storytelling. He has been a regular instructor with Concordia Seminary, St. Louis’s Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) program. Currently, Goff is also called as Assistant Pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne.
The work of The Lutheran Foundation in Fort Wayne is focused on grant funding for the Lutheran community and being a community advocate for mental and behavioral health and wellness. Part of that work is being carried out by the creation of a website by The Lutheran Foundation called Look Up Indiana. This website is a “one stop shop” for all things related to mental and behavioral health throughout the state of Indiana.
Additionally, The Lutheran Foundation is bringing the message of mental health education to the faith community through a series of conferences, workshops and training events. Goff initiated the first area wide church and mental health conference called Speak Up in the fall of 2017. The second Speak Up Conference is scheduled again in Fort Wayne on October 7, 2019.
Goff believes that if national statistics indicate that one in four in the population (25%) of people are living with a mental health concern, that also means one in four in our churches. It’s time for the church to “speak up” about mental wellness and reduce the stigma around mental illness.
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The “Mission Field: USA – Church Planting” podcast series, provided by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s Office of National Mission, offers a theological background and best practices for launching new congregations and ministries within a Lutheran framework.