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WHO WE ARE

Photo of PLI Staff

Our calling is you, the leaders of Christ’s church.

PLI was called to train and develop the leaders of Christ’s church, to lead with grace, courage, strength, passion, and influence, resulting in thriving ministries, healthy families, and discipled communities. 

We are pastors, retired pastors, spouses of pastors, church planters, ministry leaders, educators, coaches, and business leaders. We have degrees and certificates. Our years of combined experience counts well into the 3-digits… BUT, most importantly, we all have a heart for Christ’s church, discipleship and the mission of God, and the health and well being of its leaders… You!

Meet Our Team

Rika Beckley

Director Of Donor Engagement

Rika Beckley

As Director of Donor Engagement, Rika Beckly connects with donors who share PLI’s mission of training and investing in multiplying missional leaders. With a masters in nonprofit management from the Lilly School of Philanthropy, Rika has spent most of her 30-year career in university advancement in Pennsylvania and Ohio. She is grateful that her development background now intersects with her passion for sharing Christ’s love in a rapidly changing world. Rika lives just outside of her hometown of St. Louis in rural Illinois. She enjoys international travel, bicycling, skiing, hiking, walking her Wheaten Terrier Maggie, and hosting her grown children and friends in her guest cabin.

Jenn Bourne

Executive Assistant

Jenn Bourne

Since joining the PLI team in 2022 as the Executive Assistant, Jenn has put her organizational skills to use in administration, meeting logistics, connections, and so much more.  Jenn and her husband live near the Quad Cities with their 2 children.  She enjoys homeschooling her kids, spending time with her family, and getting lost in a good book!

Sherrah Behrens

Content Coordinator

Sherrah Behrens

Sherrah has been on the PLI team since 2014, serving as editor and copywriter for the weekly eNews, and has been a post-seminary and D2MC coach. She lives in San Lorenzo, California, where her husband Matt is a pastor. They love hosting friends and encouraging ministry leaders and their families, and Sherrah especially enjoys connecting with other pastors’ wives. She also homeschools their two kids, volunteers as a small school librarian, takes on occasional freelance editing or writing projects, and can usually be found with a cup of tea and a book in hand.

Jock Ficken

Executive Leader

Jock Ficken

Rev. Dr. Jock Ficken has served as the Executive Leader of PLI since 2013. As Executive Leader, he is keen to share stories of the miraculous ways that God is using PLI-trained leaders to advance the Gospel in pockets and places all over the world. He previously served as a vice president of the Lutheran Church Extension Fund, resourcing and connecting consultants to large congregations, and as the senior pastor of 25 years to a once dying Chicago-area congregation. Under his leadership, the church experienced new life and growth, birthing a second campus in addition to planting two new churches. Jock is an ultimate Nebraska Cornhuskers fan and enjoys spending time with family and neighbors, reading, and cycling.

Dave Ficken

North American Director

Dave Ficken

Rev. Dave Ficken has been a coach and presenter for PLI since 2014 and joined the team as North American Director in 2018. Dave loves to inspire momentum and train and equip multiplying missional leaders through discipleship in community. He brings his strengths in writing, teaching, coaching, and strategic thinking to the PLI team and the leaders they train. He’s an extroverted church planter, coach, and strategist. Dave, and his wife Mia, have two young boys, and they are having a blast loving their neighborhood in Nashville, TN.

Jennifer Hein

Leadership Essentials Coaching & Content Leader

Jennifer Hein

Jennifer is passionate about creating spaces that empower others to live courageously in Jesus. She has been a coach for PLI since 2015 and joined the PLI team in 2016. Whether checking in with alumni to hear their stories and pray together; inviting the PLI family to partner with a financial gift; or coaching and teaching in Leadership Essentials, she loves helping people take intentional next steps as they follow Jesus. Jennifer lives with her husband Matt and their 4 children near Flint, MI. When not asking people thought-provoking questions, she can be found homeschooling and shuttling her little crew, knitting, reading, or looking for ways to engage in meaningful dialogue.

Emmanuel Makala

Africa Development Leader

Emmanuel Makala

Dr. Rev. Emmanuel Makala joined PLI full time in 2023 as one of the Africa Development Leaders. Celebrating 40 years in ministry, before joining PLI Emmanuel held several ministry leadership positions as Head of the Bible Knowledge Department at the Mwadui Secondary School, pastor of the Mwadui Parish, District Pastor in Southern District Shinyanga, and Bishop ELCT-ELVD Mwanza. Emmanuel speaks three languages: Nyiramba of Tanzania, Swahili, and English. Emmanuel resides in the village of Kizaga, Iramba District, Singida Region Tanzania, with his wife Lilian and their three children.

Rony Marquardt

Latin America Development Leader

Rony Marquardt

Rev. Rony Marquardt was a participant in PLI from 2008 to 2012. Since 2013, he has provided leadership and introduced the PLI movement in Brazil and throughout the Lutheran Churches in Latin America. He has been a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brazil (IELB) since 1984 and was General Secretary and Vice-President of Theological Education on IELB’s National Board. Among his values, commitment and hard work are the most present. Rony lives in Brazil with his wife Anica. He has four children and three granddaughters. Rony loves to travel, make new relationships and work with texts, including writing, revising, and translating books and Christian messages.

Lindi Naylor

International Assistant

Lindi Naylor

Lindi joined the PLI team in 2023 as an administrative assistant. She loves writing, organizing, working with computers, and seeks to do all these things in service to the Lord. After years of traveling the world in the military, she completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English and Writing and was all too happy to move home to be closer to family. Her hobbies include language, writing, jogging, and just generally getting outdoors whenever possible.

Sarah Oestermeyer

Operations Coordinator

Sarah Oestermeyer

Sarah puts her marketing experience and organizational skills to amazing use for her various roles at PLI. Since joining the team in 2014, she has helped with administration, connections, marketing and so much more. She and her husband, Jon, both grew up four miles from their current home and enjoy being surrounded by friends and family. They’re blessed with three children, and as her “Mom’s Taxi Service” keychain implies, much of her time is spent carpooling kids from one activity to the next. She is also quite the tennis player.

Mike Olsen

Marketing Director

Mike Olsen

Mike joined PLI in 2002 as the marketing director/strategist. Prior to PLI, Mike spent 30 years in corporate America, leading marketing, data analytics & research, and marketing operations; both D2C and B2B, for Fortune 500 companies, as well as several start-ups, and his own consulting business. Originally from the Midwest, Mike and his wife Natalie moved to Tennessee in 2001 and enjoy the rural life as mostly empty nesters.

Angie Outlaw

North America Programs Coordinator

Angie Outlaw

New to PLI in 2024, Angie serves as the Learning Communities Coordinator working with PLI hosts and participants to ensure a smooth and supported PLI process. Angie brings with her 30+ of years of combined church ministry and non-profit experience, having developed her organization and leadership skills as a pastor’s wife and social worker. Angie lives in Nashville with David, her highschool sweetheart, where they shepherd a local congregation. Together they raised five children to adulthood, and have now moved on to  grandparenting. Angie’s love language is hospitality, Diet Coke, and office supplies – which is a perfect combo for her role organizing PLI’s learning communities.

Raechel Pfotenhauer

Connections Director

Raechel Pfotenhauer

Raechel connects people and teams from around the U.S., and sometimes the globe, into the right PLI leadership learning community. In this role, she is delighted by how God has woven together her education and experiences in community and church leadership with her love of people, cultures, the body of Christ and the sweet grace of Jesus. Raechel considers it an honor to invite people into a PLI space and marvels at the hope and courage and movement she has witnessed emerging as a result of the PLI experience. Having spent her childhood in Latin America, Raechel and her husband now call the western suburbs of Chicago home. She loves gathering lots of chairs around a big table so their three young adult children and family and friends and neighbors can enjoy the goodness of sharing a meal and long dinner conversation.

Lori Rische

International Women's Director

Lori Rische

Lori has been the Women’s Director of PLI International since 2011, and enjoys encouraging and blessing the women of PLI as they partner with their spouses and faithfully lead. Lori passes on her passion and love of learning to those she works with. Seeing families, and especially children, grow in knowledge is the real joy of the job! She has served in the education field for over 30 years in various roles including preschool and primary school teacher, director of children’s ministries, and teacher and Vice Principal at Buena Vista Concordia International School in Shenzhen, China. In her free time, Lori loves most to be with her children and grandchildren, enjoys outdoor activities, and relaxes with craft projects at home.

Scott Rische

International Director

Scott Rische

Rev. Dr. Scott Rische is enormously grateful to be serving as the International Director of PLI alongside his wife Lori. He coordinates Christian leadership training for churches in more than 22 countries. Scott’s passions and callings in life are to see people come into a faith relationship with Jesus Christ, as well as to teach, encourage, develop, and mentor leaders for mission and ministry. Prior to joining our team in 2011, he served as a church planter, lead pastor, and founder of a church planting network. Scott received his D. Min. from Bakke Graduate University in 2006 in the area of church planting movements. Scott is a private pilot and enjoys flying, writing, music, woodworking, and anything outdoors.

Beth Schult

Africa Development Leader

Beth Schult

Beth and her husband Paul have served on our international team as trainers since 2015 and Assistant Regional Leaders since 2019. Her current role leads Beth to areas of Africa including Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ghana, Burundi, and South Africa. Beth has had the joy of launching many missional communities of 8-12 people, as well as smaller connect groups of 3-4 people. In 2016, they moved with their six children from the Midwest to the California Bay Area. Beth’s richest blessing from God comes in the form of being a wife and mother, and grandma! She has a passion for worship, music, and teaching. She loves to explore the beautiful coast of California, taking as many pictures as her iPhone can possibly hold!

Paul Schult

Africa Development Leader

Paul Schult

Rev. Paul Schult and his wife Beth joined PLI as trainers in 2015 and as Assistant Regional Leaders in 2019. He is honored to share the life-giving ministry of PLI in Africa. His personal values of humility, leadership, faith, and discipleship have been profoundly affected and strengthened by PLI. Paul grew up in Indiana which influenced his initial career path of being a high school basketball coach and English teacher. After attending seminary, he served as a pastor in Council Bluffs, Iowa, St. Charles, Missouri and now in Redwood City, California. He loves being outdoors with Beth, traveling, reading, and most of all, spending time with their children and their families — especially their grandchildren!

Jessica Wardenburg

Social Media Coordinator

Jessica Wardenburg

Jessica joined the PLI marketing team in 2020 while being a participant in 1,000 Young Leaders learning community. She felt God’s call to use her passion and skills to share the good news of Jesus through social media. She has a Bachelor’s in Journalism from the University of Missouri and worked as a TV news journalist in Joplin, Missouri and Des Moines, Iowa. She then used her love of learning and storytelling at Two Rivers Marketing. Her work in public relations, blogging and social media marketing received awards from industry organizations. Jessica and her husband Lucas have two young children and live in West Des Moines. She enjoys opening their home to family and friends, playing rec sports, spending time on the water and aspires to be an avid reader one day.

Erin West

D2MC Coaching & Content Leader

Erin West

After several years of coaching and teaching for PLI’s Discipleship to Missional Community track, Erin joined the PLI team to bring out the best of D2MC coaching and content. She wants all people to know Christ, to love those God has placed in her path, and to be continually molded and shaped by the Spirit. She is honored to walk alongside others as they recognize God’s movement in their lives and respond in big and small ways that result in wins for the kingdom. Walking into the West family home is like walking into a musical, as her husband Brian and their two daughters are never without a song. Whether it’s backyard barbecues or evenings around a firepit, the West family enjoys inviting friends and neighbors into their own personal crazy. It’s about families coming together, growing together and sharing both the joys and sorrows of life.

FIND YOUR FOCUS

NORTH AMERICA

NORTH AMERICA

INTERNATIONAL

INTERNATIONAL

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