Matthew Leighty webnew23
Executive Director

Raised in a home where service and faith were deeply valued, with a father who was a Lutheran pastor to the deaf and a mother dedicated to in-home care for seniors, Matthew Leighty was inspired to combine his passion for the Gospel with a commitment to serving aging adults, using media and unique outreach methods. Today, he cherishes the opportunity to recount the impact of Christ’s love through the Worship Anew ministry.

 

“I treasure God’s word as communicated through Paul’s writings, such as in the book of Philippians. Here we learn of the peace and joy we share through our firm faith in Christ as we seek to live our lives for Him. Let us not yearn for the peace that the world gives, but for the incredible and only true peace we receive from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  My confirmation passage is the scripture passage found in Philippians 4:4-7, Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

Matthew Leighty has been an integral part of Worship Anew (Lutheran Ministries Media) since October 2013, serving as the Executive Director. The ministry engages and equips aging adults with resources to live a full and abundant life in Jesus Christ. As the CEO, Matthew’s responsibilities encompass strategic planning, team leadership, financial management, and mission expansion to ensure the effective execution of the ministry’s mission and vision.

 

During his tenure, he has spearheaded several enhancements to the media center and managed the rebranding of the main program from Worship for Shut-Ins to Worship Anew in 2017. He launched a new video devotional, Moments of Comfort, in 2019 and acquired the print daily devotional, Hope-Full Living, in 2020. Furthermore, he has facilitated staff growth and expanded television broadcasting, including American Forces Television, thereby delivering the Gospel of Christ to U.S. military personnel stationed overseas.

 

Before joining Worship Anew, Matthew held positions as Director of Donor Relations at Concordia University Ann Arbor and Advancement Officer at Concordia Theological Seminary. In these roles, he was instrumental in fostering relationships with donors and congregations of the Lutheran Church, thereby garnering support for organizational missions.

 

Matthew is an alumnus of Concordia University Chicago, where he majored in Mass Media and Psychology. He also holds a Certificate in Fundraising Management from Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and is a Certified Fundraising Executive, a testament to his adherence to CFRE International standards in philanthropic practice.

 

Matthew and his wife Kelli, both natives of Fort Wayne, Indiana, are active members of the Holy Cross Lutheran Church and School community. They are proud parents of four children: a son, Ian, and daughters Reagan, Addison, and Brynn.

 

Matthew states, “I am deeply moved by the steadfast faith and support of the Worship Anew community. Their commitment to our ministry through prayers, time, and resources is truly inspiring. I am privileged to be part of a team that is so dedicated to spreading the love and compassion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

 

Click here to view Matthew's personal Faith Story and how that brought him to Worship Anew. 

Sheila Staff Photo
Communication Specialist

Sheila Banks joined the Worship Anew staff in March 2022. She has a bachelor's degree in Organizational & Interpersonal Communication. Sheila works with the communication team to keep the website, social media, and streaming content up to date. She is married with three daughters. "I consider it a privilege to be part of the Worship Anew team, sharing the love of Jesus with others through media." 

Kirsten 2024
Database Specialist

Kirsten joined Worship Anew in February 2024 as our Database Specialist. She is excited to be working at Worship Anew after having been the Assistant to the Education Executive for the LCMS Indiana District. Kirsten grew up in Lutheran Schools, attending LCMS schools from Pre-K through college. Having moved to Fort Wayne in 8th grade, she is a proud graduate of Emmaus Lutheran School and Concordia Lutheran High School. She and her husband, Cameron, recently welcomed their first child, Elaine, and enjoy taking her to see all the sights around Fort Wayne. In her free time, Kirsten enjoys curling up with her two cats to read a book and going to the movie theater to see all the new films. 

Julie Staff Photo
Major Gifts Officer

Julie Beers has been with the ministry since 2010. She previously worked in the role of Director of Operations and is now serving as Major Gifts Officer. Julie loves people and sharing the love of Jesus with each encounter.

Jon Dize web
Director of Operations & Legacy Giving

Jon Dize, CFRE, joined the ministry in October 2023 as the Director of Operations & Legacy Giving. In this role, he oversees the day-to-day financial operations of the organization, including budgets, accounts payable/receivables, benefit plans, and policies/procedures. He will also develop and manage the administration of planned giving/estate gifts on behalf of the ministry with donors across the country.

He is also an independent and LCEF consultant and fundraising coach/mentor to schools, churches, and other nonprofits, working with small and large organizations to foster and strengthen the concept of the Biblical Cheerful Giver. Mr. Dize specializes in creating advancement programs, resurrecting lapsed programs, and helping nonprofits hire and train new fundraising staff during times of transition.

He has worked in the nonprofit sector since 1991; over more than 30 years, he has been on staff with K-12 Lutheran School associations, School Choice tax-credit systems, healthcare-related entities, and higher education institutions and has served in roles ranging from Executive Director, Director of Major Gifts, and Director of Planned Giving. Mr. Dize has been a speaker at several local, regional, and national conferences in person and virtually and recently served a second stint on the Indiana Non-Public Education Association (INPEA) after completing two terms on the national board of the Association of Christian Fundraising (formerly ALDE).

He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hillsdale College with a BA degree in finance and minors in Economics and History. He has his CFRE designation and received his CFRM and the Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising from the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. He and his family attend Promise Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana (LCMS) where he is a former elder and former vice-chair of the board.

Thad Staff Photo
Video Editor & Production Specialist

Thad majored in Communications at Huntington University. After doing various broadcasting jobs in Minnesota for six years, he made the move back to the Fort Wayne area and began working at Worship Anew in 2019. In joining the ministry team, Thad shared, “I first heard about Worship Anew from my college advisor, Dr. Lance Clark. Since then I began volunteering with the ministry, and now I’m pleased to be on board helping with production. I look forward to the rest of my time at Worship Anew.”

Klopfenstein Jeremy web2
Videographer

Jeremy Klopfenstein joined the team as a Videographer on April 3, 2023. He is working to grow the ministry through new video initiatives. He has brought with him more than 20 years of experience in editing and production roles working in fast-paced environments. He has worked as a commercial and freelance video editor, working on projects ranging from Disney on Ice to monster truck events. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Media and Public Relations from Purdue Fort Wayne. He and his wife, Jessica, and have a daughter. 

Paul Staff Photo
Director of Video Production & Accessibility

Paul joined the staff as production engineer in 1995 and now oversees all pre and post production on behalf of Worship Anew. He coordinates the work of staff and volunteers in the Wolf Chapel Studio including camera operators, set designers, teleprompting and closed captioning personnel. 

Tommy Staff Photo
Director of Content & Innovation

Thomas Moll joined Worship Anew in February of 2020. Thomas manages and serves as editor for all content, analyzes community media metrics, and collaborates with church professionals as well as mental health professionals to develop new resources to support individuals and churches.

Beth Staff Photo web
Editor-in-Chief of Hope-Full Living

Elizabeth Puls joined the staff of Worship Anew as the Editor-in-Chief of Hope-Full Living in July of 2020. Elizabeth works closely with the Director of Content and Innovation, Hope-Full Living authors, and the Executive Director of Worship Anew to bring this daily devotional to our Senior community. 

She has B.A. degrees in Communication and Theatre from California Lutheran University and earned her M.A. in Business and Organizational Communications from Emerson College in Boston, MA. She is happily married to Rev. Dr. Timothy Puls, the proud mother of four talented sons and one amazing grandson. 

Renee Staff Photo
Care Ministry Specialist

Renee earned an MA in theology from CTSFW in 2015. She is currently studying to earn deaconess certification with Worship Anew as her deaconess internship. She is active in various ministries. She especially enjoys the LWML. Currently, she is serving as LWML IN District Recording Secretary. She is married to Mark.  "I am excited to be serving the Lord at Worship Anew. It is a blessing to bring the mercy and comfort of Christ to others through the care ministry." 

Peyton Staff Photo web
Content Specialist

Peyton has been volunteering with Worship Anew since 2014. During his senior year at Concordia Lutheran High School, he interned at Worship Anew in the summer of 2019 and the summer of 2020 to the present. Peyton has many creative roles in assisting with our productions and program editing.

Cathy Tapp
Receptionist

Cathy is the first person most people will speak to at the ministry either over the phone or at the front desk. She's been a member of the ministry team since January of 2017, and before that, she worked as a teacher, now retired. 

Gina Staff Photo
Director of Development & Ministry Relations

Gina received a Bachelor of Arts in English with a Media and Communications emphasis from Indiana University. Over the years, she has enjoyed working in a variety of settings. Her ongoing desire to share Christ's love with others led Gina to Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, where she received her Master of Arts in Deaconess Studies. Gina loves spending time with her husband and their two children. We are excited to have Gina join our ministry team. 

Wiehe Ashley web2
Director of Communications

Ashley Wiehe joined the staff on July 1, 2023 as the new Director of Communications. She leads publication, social media, and communication efforts for the ministry. She has worked in communications, media relations, and journalism for nearly 20 years, and comes to Worship Anew from Concordia Lutheran High School, Fort Wayne. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications/Journalism and a minor in Studio Art/Photography from Taylor University. She and her husband, Jeff, have one son. 

Ken Staff Photo web
Executive Director Emeritus

Ken Schilf served as Executive Director of Lutheran Ministries Media, Inc. from 1985 until his retirement on January 31, 2014. Through his leadership, Worship for Shut-Ins expanded its reach into a worldwide television program via numerous broadcast stations, cable, satellite, and the internet. Ken’s engagement with the local community led the active volunteers to grow to over 150 individuals. He oversaw a $1.7 million campaign that culminated in the program transitioning to digital media and opening of the Elsie Rossman Media Center and Wolf Chapel in 2010. In conferring the honor of Executive Director Emeritus on October 4, 2015, Al Schumm, LMM Board of Directors President, shared a plaque that is hung at the home of Lutheran Ministries Media, Inc., "So that others may know and be emboldened in their proclamation of the Gospel thanks to Ken’s example of Christ’s love and service".   

Ahlersmeyer Thomas

Rev. Dr. Thomas R. Ahlersmeyer received his B.A. from Concordia Senior College in Fort Wayne in 1976, his M.Div. from Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne in 1979, and his Ph.D. in Interpersonal and Public Communication from Bowling Green State University in 1989. He first appeared on the program in 2007. He is the senior pastor at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Eggold Thomas

Rev. Thomas Eggold graduated from Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska, in 1992, and immediately began his career as a church worker at Concordia Lutheran High School. In his time at Concordia, Eggold served as an English teacher, a director in the drama department, and the boys’ varsity soccer coach. In 1996, Eggold accepted a call to serve Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne to serve as Director of Youth and Family Ministries. After completing his studies at Concordia Theological Seminary in 2003, Eggold was ordained into the pastoral ministry and called to Emmanuel where he currently serves as Senior Pastor. Pastor Eggold began appearing on Worship Anew in December of 2018. 

Jonker Shayne

Rev. Jonker is a 2009 graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In May of that same year, he was called to serve as pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Roanoke, Indiana and continues to faithfully serve there to this day. Rev. Jonker began appearing on Worship Anew in December of 2018.   

Maier Walter

Rev. Dr. Walter A. Maier III has been a regular pastor on the program since 1998. He graduated from Concordia College, Ann Arbor in 1972 and Concordia Senior College, Fort Wayne in 1974. He then went on to graduate from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne in 1978, and earn his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1984. He currently teaches in the Exegetical Department at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana.   

Mueller William web

Rev. William E. Mueller became a regular pastor on the program in 2016. Mueller attended Concordia Lutheran High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana, graduated from Concordia College (now Concordia University), Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1990, and received his Masters of Divinity from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri in 1994. In 2008, he was installed as Senior Pastor at Suburban Bethlehem Lutheran Church & School of Fort Wayne, where he still serves to this day.

Shoemaker Paul

Rev. Paul E. Shoemaker is an alumnus of Concordia College, Bronxville (’72), Concordia Senior College, Fort Wayne (’74) and Concordia Theological Seminary alumnus (’78). He was one of the five original pastors who began appearing regularly on the program in 1994. He was the senior pastor of Emanuel Lutheran Church, New Haven from 1989-2021.

Kaschinske Eric web

Eric Kaschinske began as host of Worship Anew on January 7, 2018. He graduated from Concordia University in River Forest, IL, in 1996 with a Secondary Education degree, majoring in mathematics and minoring in theology. He completed his Masters of Education at Indiana Wesleyan University in 2002. Eric currently serves as a mathematics teacher and the department chair at Concordia Lutheran High School in Fort Wayne. He has coached various athletic teams during his time at Concordia. Eric and his wife Amy have three children: Mason, Rhaya, and Landon.