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PLI is devoted to empowering leaders for wider influence for the sake of the gospel in their communities and effective leadership in their ministries. Learn more about our vision and process here.


Life is better connected. Connect with others to experience life-giving community and build authentic relationships. We have several learning communities. Find the best fit for you.


We provide a number of resources and materials to educate both our participants and the general public on effective leadership principles.


Interested in how PLI can impact your ministry? We'd love to get to know you and learn how we can empower your ministry.

Celebrate PLI’s Gifted Family!

A month or so ago we hoisted the flag and invited authors within the PLI family to submit their work to us so we could commend it to you and celebrate it with them! We were overwhelmed!

We know the PLI family is a gifted and passionate community in many ways. We didn’t realize how many gifted PLI authors were embedded in so many ordinary places. My partner in this project in the PLI family, Sherrah Behrens, has done a masterful job of compiling this in a consistent readable format.

Take a look. The list is long! Scan through it. Pause, peruse. Read about how PLI has influenced these writers. Maybe purchase the books that capture your attention! We haven’t read all of these books, but we know these authors, and we know their love for Jesus and their hearts for His mission. (And we will be adding some of these to our “To Be Read” pile.) Let us know in the comments which books catch your attention!


Diane Bahn, PLI Class of 1999, PLI GET (now Senior Leader)

“PLI was refreshing and affirming to me in placing high value on pastors’ wives and including us in the training, from which I received tools and developed skills and greater confidence in my leadership roles in my congregation. My husband and I were strengthened in our marriage and our ministry partnership. PLI gave me space and opportunity to grow in leadership, which led to my working for PLI for 14+ years. The network of Christian leaders and friends that I have through PLI both in the U.S. and around the world is beyond what I ever could have imagined. My life is richer and my faith and commitment to serve my Lord is stronger because of these relationships.”

Jesus: A Study on the Words of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (written with David R. Steele)

“This study…compares what each Gospel writer wrote about Jesus and presents Jesus’ ministry in chronological order…. Both Christians and skeptics gain a better understanding of the reliability of Scripture, and in particular how the Gospel writers presented Jesus as the Savior of mankind with powerful proofs and authority.” (from the CPH website)

Where to buy: CPH

Matt Behrens, D2MC (2017-2019)

“Through D2MC I got to see lay leaders flourish as other coaches and leaders poured into them as part of our team. Developing shared goals and shared language opened doors for us to also share both the challenges and celebrations of leading together.”

Matt writes devotions and resources for individuals and churches. You can find more resources by Matt and other creators at Spark Creative. A new Lenten devotional will be published in early 2024.

Forty, a Lenten Devotional

“There are many references to 40 throughout Scripture. These daily devotions and scripture readings will guide reflection on those stories with a ‘forty’ reference.” (from the website)

Where to buy: Spark Creative

Deb Burma, Senior Leader (2015-2017)

“Our PLI experience enriched and enlivened our ministry, giving us much-needed encouragement, hands-on effective strategies and tools that we continue to use today for stronger team ministry, and relationships within our learning community that have lasted far beyond our years of PLI’s invaluable training. My husband, Cory, and I continue to thank God for PLI!”

Deb has written a number of books and Bible studies and often speaks at women’s events and retreats. Learn more about Deb, her books, and speaking topics at her website.

Leaning on Jesus: A Study of God’s Strength

Deb’s latest women’s Bible study “invites you to explore what it means to lean on your Redeemer…. You’ll see your continuous need for Jesus. You’ll surrender control to the One who made the sea and the mountains. He sees, hears, and knows you. He is present with you now. Lean on Him.” (from Deb’s website)

Where to buy: CPH, Amazon

John Busacker, PLI curriculum developer and Learning Community facilitator

John is both a writer and a speaker. You can learn more about his writing and speaking availability at his website.

Gasping for Breath: Inviting God’s Spirit into Your Overwhelmed Life (written with Rev. David Johnson)

Gasping for Breath is an invitation to learn how to breathe in the life-giving breath of God’s Spirit and become fully alive. God is breathing His life into men and women, renewing and restoring and re-creating. Right here. Right now. He can do it for you. Take a deep breath, and let’s get started!” (from the back cover)

Jeff Cloeter, Senior Leader (2015-2017)

“PLI Senior Leader put me in touch with wise and experienced teachers, AND an encouraging peer cohort. I still cherish the deep friendships formed in our time together.”

Loved and Sent

“So many people are starving for identity and meaning. Loved and Sent describes how God took extraordinary action to address those two fundamental human needs…. Discover in this thought-provoking book who you are and why you matter, and then you’ll have something of greater value to share with someone else.” (from the back of the book)

Where to buy: Amazon, CTA (has additional resources for congregations and ministries)

Greg Finke, PLI class of 1999

“Susan and I benefited greatly from our PLI experience. We were introduced to a wide network of relationships with like-minded LCMS leaders, and grew in our clarity of what leadership is and how to better use it for the good of the kingdom.”

Joining Jesus as a Family: How to Raise Your Children to be Followers of Jesus

“It’s is simpler than you think and a lot more fun! Christian parents want to raise their children to be life-long followers of Jesus. But many parents watch their children grow up, leave home, and then walk away from the faith. What went wrong? And how can a new generation of parents avoid the same result? This book is for anyone helping a child live the fruitful and fulfilling life of a Jesus-follower: parents, grandparents, foster parents, pastors, family ministry professionals and volunteers.” (from the back of the book)

Where to buy: Amazon, Email Greg directly to order in bulk and receive discounts. Find other books by Greg here.

Teka Fogi, Leadership Essentials Multi-Cultural (2017-2019), D2MC (2019-2021)

Unwrapping the Gifts of Grace: A Biblical and Theological Perspective

“The gifts of grace (charismatic gifts) are not phenomena limited to the services of Pentecostal churches. They have been used in the ministry of the Church all along and among God’s people from Genesis to Revelation…. The author challenges the reader to dive into an individual study of specific portions of the Scriptures regarding the gifts of grace.” (from the description on Amazon)

Where to buy: Amazon

Lindsay Hausch, Leadership Essentials (2016-2018) and D2MC (2020-2022)

“My time at PLI helped me to identify my values, gifts, and goals which propelled me into my calling as an author and speaker.”

God’s Provision in a Wilderness World

“This forty day devotional/Bible study walks readers through the Book of Exodus as the Israelites wander through the wilderness, and points to what God wants us to know and apply to our own lives. Our culture is a wilderness where our effort to satisfy our needs with things of this world leaves our hearts restless and aching for more. But no matter where we wander, we can remember God’s mercy like manna that is new every morning.” (from Lindsay)

Where to buy: Amazon, CPH

Brenda Jank, Leadership Essentials presenter

Vantage Point: A New View of Rest, Rhythm, and the Work of God

“We know how to run hard. We don’t know how to rest well. Becoming a champion of rest revolutionizes God’s work in us and through us. Learning how to rest well also reacquaints us with the peace and quiet our souls have tried to live without. Vantage Point…is a dynamic guide for individuals and small groups who want to realign their lies to the motto ‘Run Hard. Rest Well.’ – equipping them to advance into the world with a power not their own.” (from the back cover)

Matt Koenig, D2MC (2017-2019)

“PLI was very instrumental in my growth and learning as a discipleship pastor. Through their teaching and the learnings not only was the church I serve able to take the next steps in discipleship and growth, I personally was able to grow in my understanding of true, Spirit-filled, Jesus-centered discipleship of others. It was a life-changing and congregation-altering experience for me and my church.”

How Are You Doing? Relational Discipleship for the Everyday Person

“Maybe discipleship is not about what you say, but how you lead others to live everyday life with the people in their life. Maybe discipleship is about the phrase, ‘How are you doing?’ In this book you will learn discipleship methods and how these may be incorporated into your ministry and your life.” (from Matt)

Where to buy: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Salam Publishing

Amy Meyer, PLI class of 1999

Snapshots & Stories: Increasing Awareness of God’s Faithfulness Through the Practice of Journaling

“This book is designed to help you remember the moments. The practice of reflecting and writing down what God has done in your daily life helps you remember. This is a place to begin the rhythm of journaling and reflecting with the hope it will continue long after the book’s end. May you be inspired to do what the writer in Psalm 105 says, ‘Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. Remember the wonders he has performed.’” (from the back of the book)

Where to buy: Amazon

Jeffrey Meyer, PLI class of 1999

“The relationships and supportive community are gifts that keep giving! The courage to lead and to follow Jesus’ unique call have been the fuel that has kept me going. I was also privileged to serve on the PLI Board for over a decade. In that season I was also the creator and leader of PLI Missional Leader. Amy and I were grateful to serve some 40 leaders during that time of transition.”

The Dream Primer

What would you pursue if you weren’t afraid? What would you try if you accepted various failures as a part of the process? The truth is that overthinking leads to more self-doubt. Action produces hope. If you are ready to finally do something with your dream to prime the pump to take action, well, permission granted. (from Jeff’s website)

Buy this and other books by Jeff here: Jeff’s Dream Library

Randy Rozelle, PLI CLS 2011, Senior Leader (2017-2019)

“PLI blessed my wife and I as a marital team with healthy rhythms of rest and work. Moreover, the content for Senior Leader made an immediate difference in my personal and professional growth.”

The Expository Diamond: Four Steps to Relevant Christ-Centered Preaching

“In the conviction that every sermon should be expository in nature, this book takes the reader around four sides of a diamond. Each side of the diamond outlines a simple yet critical step to prepare and preach messages that unpack authorial intent, proclaim Christ, and land a sermon with the application and implication of the text. Other gems include chapters on panning for golden illustrations, crafting expository series (including my best Advent and Lenten series), plus my two most creative Christmas Eve sermons and more!” (from Randy)

Where to buy: Amazon

Paul Schult, Senior Leader, PLI International Africa Development Leader

Getting to Know Jesus: Using the Six Core Teachings of the Bible to Grow in a Deeper Relationship with Jesus

Getting to Know Jesus connects the dots between knowing the right Bible answers and having a real relationship with Jesus Christ. The six core teachings in Martin Luther’s Small Catechism summarize the most critical truths of the Bible. However, the heart of the Bible is not just to know the right answers; it is to know Jesus.” (from the back of the book)

Where to buy: Amazon

Rance Settle, PLI class of 2014

“PLI was instrumental in helping me and my wife better understand our mission in God’s Kingdom. I feel better equipped to lead the people God called me to serve in Kingdom work and get them excited in using their vocations for His Glory.”

Wholehearted Welcome in a Brokenhearted World: Rethinking Dinner Tables, Hospitality and Community, One Welcome at a Time

“What does welcoming others look like in your home? Entertaining the notion of entertaining is tough, in a ‘hurried-up’ world obsessed with image and presentation to impress people, instead of bless people. Could it be in our rush to entertain, we’ve sacrificed meaningful connection? Maybe there’s a better welcome to be discovered. An authentic welcome, in a world that suffers from a poverty of relationships and hurting souls. A deeper welcome, that wholeheartedly mends the brokenhearted, including…you and me.” (from the back of the book)

Where to buy: Amazon

Tesfai Tesema, Leadership Essentials Multi-Cultural (2017-2019), D2MC (2010-2021)

Hope for the Second Generation: How Children of Immigrants Can Rekindle Christianity in the West

Hope for the Second Generation inspires second-generation church planting – a cross-cultural endeavor and the true legacy of first-generation immigrants who still have work to do.” (from the back of the book)

Where to buy: Amazon

Fiction & Poetry

Heather and Emil Gretarsson, Leadership Essentials (2017-2019) and D2MC (2020-2022)

“The biggest benefit we got from being a part of PLI was finding community and support from those facing similar challenges in a changing ministry landscape while striving to lead mission by example. 

“Producing this book was actually quite therapeutic for us after some very difficult moments in ministry.”

Nobody’s Nola

Nobody’s Nola is a heartwarming children’s picture book about a small puppy with a big heart named Nola. She is longing to find a fur-ever family. After watching many other pups get chosen, she begins to wonder if it will ever be her turn. This story is for anyone whose heart has ached for a place to belong. Based on a true story, this “tail” follows this special little puppy facing big disappointments who keeps on hoping that her dreams will finally come true.” (from Heather and Emil)

Where to buy: Amazon

Colleen Oakes, Leadership Essentials (2015-2018)

“PLI gave us deep and lasting friendships with other pastors and their families and gave my husband the confidence to move forward confidently in his ministry, even when there is opposition to change.”

Colleen has written a number of novels (which you can learn more about at her website.)

The Second Favorite Daughter’s Club

This is Colleen’s first middle-grade novel, and comes out in Spring 2024! “It’s about two friends who discover they are both the second-favorite daughters in their families. They form a secret club to undermine their perfect siblings and become their parent’s first-favorite daughters.” (from Colleen)

Where to buy Colleen’s books: Amazon

Tanner Olson, Leadership Essentials (2019-2021)

“Through Leadership Essentials I not only grew as a leader, but was introduced to some incredible people! Christ-centered relationships that I will treasure for the rest of my life.”

Tanner has written several books of poetry and is also a popular speaker. Learn more about Tanner at his website.

Continue: Poems and Prayers of Hope 

“This is a book for those who spill their coffee on Monday mornings. For those who persevere through rush-hour traffic. For those who long for a vacation. For those who attend Sunday services with little ones at their side or sit alone waiting for change to happen. For those who need a little hope. For those searching for the words to pray. For those who simply, yet bravely, love Christ with their whole hearts. This is a book for those of us who are taking each day one step at a time with faith.” (from Tanner)

Where to buy: Amazon

John Otte, Leadership Essentials (2019-2021)

“PLI was immensely helpful to me because it helped me gain a better understanding of myself and who God made me to be. It helped me realize what I brought to the table in terms of leadership and ministry and helped me understand how to navigate uncertain times.”

John has written several novels. You can learn more about him and his books on his website.

Drawn in Ash

“Everys, a young woman who practices illegal magic, is forced to marry the king, the direct descendant of the man who destroyed her people’s homeland. Can she navigate the Dynasty’s twisted politics and find an uneasy truce with her new husband? Or will the forces arrayed against him destroy them both? Find out in this award-winning story that is best described as the book of Esther meets Star Wars!” (from John)

Where to buy: Amazon

Join us in giving thanks to God for these gifted, godly authors! And remember to let us know what caught your eye in the comments below!

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