Keynote and Session Speakers:


Session Info: "When God Asks the Impossible of Us"

Life often gets out of balance. It shifts, changes without warning and, when it does, it steals our confidence. The fear of the unknown coupled with fearing failure can freeze us in worry and even despair. There’s an incredible and mostly unknown story in the Bible that speaks peace into this reoccurring life lesson. It’s Gideon’s story of life failing, shifting and God’s impossible ask on this broken man. God is in the business of asking what seems impossible on his people so they know what is truly possible: joyful confidence and resiliency. Where do you need balance back in your life?


Jon attended Martin Luther College and later Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, graduating in 2004.  He served as pastor at Divine Savior Lutheran Church in West Palm Beach, Florida until 2018 when he accepted a call to serve as a Campus Pastor & Instructor at St. Croix Lutheran High School in West Saint Paul, MN. He and his wife, Debbi, have four daughters: Violet, Lydia, Eden, and Maggie. 

Aaron Strong

Friday night Worship

Breakout Speakers and Sessions:

Rev. Dr. Michael Berg

"Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Flourishing"

No matter who we are we all want to be valued and we want to flourish. It sounds nice but how and why are we valued how and why should be value others? And what does it mean to flourish? These are age old questions asked by every culture and philosophy. In this session we will explore the answers many have given to these big questions before looking through the lens of Christ’s justification of us and use of us in the Father’s economy of love. Here is where we find a unique answer to questions of value, human rights, purpose, and human flourishing.


Rev. Dr. Michael Berg is an assistant professor of theology at Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee, WI. He is married to Amanda, a teacher at St. Philip’s Lutheran School. Together they have three daughters: Abigail, Noelle, and Sophia. Before moving to Milwaukee, the Bergs spent twelve serving St. John’s Lutheran Church in Wood Lake, MN. Mike is a graduate of Martin Luther College, Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, The International Academy of Apologetics, Human Rights, and Evangelism, and Biola University. He has written for Logia, Gottesdienst, Preach the Word, and Forward in Christ.


Michaella Kunz

"Living the Life I Had Never Planned"

Are you living the exact life you planned out in high school? I am definitely not. Growing up we are always asked, “What are you going to do when you grow up?" Once in high school and also after it changes to, “No, what are you actually going to do? Where are you going to go to school? Are you going to get married?” etc. If we don't succeed at these plans we’ve created, it feels like we failed leaving us lost, confused and even angry. However, it is actually part of God's plans. Proverbs 16:9 says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” We can only plan our lives so much. This session will offer encouragement, tactical advice and guidance on how you can prepare for God's plan in your life.


Hey! I’m Kella and I grew up in the suburbs of Milwaukee. I am currently studying Nutritional Sciences and Integrative Health at UW-Milwaukee. With a passion for helping people live a healthy lifestyle physically and mentally, I began Kella’s Health Coaching. I also work as a Shift Supervisor at Starbucks. In my free time, you may find me spending time with friends and family, working out, exploring coffee shops, or enjoying the outdoors. 

Nate Strobel

"Created for Intimacy"

The LORD God of heaven and earth created us for "intimacy", relationships of depth and closeness intended to bring completion to our existence.  We can so easily focus on sexual intimacy between a man and a woman that we forget the intimacy that matters the most, our close relationship with God himself.  To remember our God sets the stage for health and joy in whatever relationships he has in mind for us, including the sexual.  This session will give opportunity for open and honest discussion on intimacy for life.  What decisions do I WANT to make now for healthy living with my God?  How do I plan to live NOW for the health of my future marriage?  What is "secondary virginity", and how does repentance and God's grace pave the way still for joy in my relationships?  How does the word "no" play into relationships that truly bring joy?  The topics are many; God grace is HUGE.  Join us for an understanding of "intimacy with the Almighty".     


Pastor Nathan Strobel has served in the public ministry for 29 years—eight as a parish pastor in Bay City, MI and Tallahassee, FL, sixteen as campus pastor at Wisconsin Lutheran College, three as VP of Student Life and Dean of Students at the college, and one as Resident Missionary at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Muskego.  Nathan and his wife, Jean, are the proud parents of two daughters and sons-in-law and three grandchildren.  Nathan’s passion for ministry has always focused on shepherding God’s people to love and trust the Creator and Savior God not only with the eternal, but with the temporal as well.


Eric Ruh

"Money, Resetting Expectations, Starting Over From Scratch"

In our time together we will discuss some of the financial decisions you have made, or will be making in the coming years, some of the pitfalls and concerns to understand and potentially avoid, and some concepts and ideas that will assist your journey of financial happiness.


Eric Ruh has been in the financial services since he started his career in 1993.  He is a Managing Director with a financial planning firm located in Pewaukee, Wisconsin.  His entire career has been built around helping others meet their desired potential, whether a client, fellow advisor, or someone he has coached over the years, especially if they don’t see or  understand how to get where they want to be.  His desire is to elevate everyone he meets, striving to leave them better off than they were when he first meets them.

Eric grew up in Manitowoc, Wisconsin where he attended and graduated from Manitowoc Lutheran High School in 1988.  He spent 1 year at the University of Wisconsin in Manitowoc, then transferred to and graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran College in 1992.  He started his career in financial services in January of 1993 and has spent his entire career in the industry working with hundreds of advisors and clients, and has spent time with many different companies. 


Eric is married to Linda.  They met, on the job at one of the companies they both worked with.  They were married on 02/02/02 at 2:02 PM.  She runs her own business as a hairstylist in West Allis and has been doing so for the past 12 years. Their son Mason, is a junior at Wisconsin Lutheran High School where he is involved with Student Council, WISCO Kids Show Choir, and Baseball. The Ruh family, in their spare time, spends the entire year traveling across the United States watching Mason’s Academy Baseball Team.  They also attend Grace Lutheran Church downtown Milwaukee.

Awake and Alive Milemarkers:

Abby Westendorf

Kevin and Julie McSwain 

Live Interviews:

Josh Lauritch


Josh grew up in West Allis, WI.  He began his career in Christian radio at Salem Communications 105.3 The Fish in Milwaukee, WI in 2003 where he served as promotions director, mid-day host, and assistant program director. In 2006, he moved his family to Nashville, TN where he worked as Manager of National Promotion at EMI CMG.  Later, Josh served as Director of Brand Management for Word Entertainment from 2010-2013 and also led on-going marketing and brand management initiatives for several other well-known Christian music groups.  In 2013, he founded an artist management company called 55 MGMT and provided consulting services for Method Management and Smallbone Management.  Then, in 2015, Josh moved back to Milwaukee and founded 55 Promotion.  He has since partnered on the marketing and promotion of several big name Christian artists. He and his wife Amy have two kids, Alexander and Abigail.

Young Adult Panel (members TBA)


Acts 6 Panel (members TBA)


 Community Group Pastors:

Nate Strobel, Aaron Strong, Mike Helwig, Jeffrey Bonack

Special Guests:



Ask James and Jon:   Awake and Alive introduces a new way of getting answers to the tough questions.  As you experience the encouragements throughout the conference, some uncertainties and questions are likely to come up and we want to help you wrestle with them.  You can simply text your question to 4145078250 or fill out the "Got Questions" form.  We will pass them along to Pastor James Hein and Pastor Jon Enter who will use their skills and heart for the Gospel to bring understanding.  If you would rather be anonymous there will be sheets to fill out at the Awake and Alive table during the conference as well.  We will post them to Facebook and the Awake and Alive page as we go.