LEAD Online 2020 Speakers and Instructors
John R. Beck, Ed.D, is a 2020 graduate of Liberty University and has taught at Heritage Christian Academy in Kalamazoo for the past 16 years. He has taught about worldviews with SSI since 2009. He is married, has four children, one son-in-law, four goats, one dog, and one cat.
Executive Director of Life Challenge Ministries
Jeff Bonzelaar is a writer, teacher and ordained minister of the Assemblies of God. He serves as the Executive Director of Adult & Teen Challenge/Life Challenge Ministries of Detroit and Flint and has been with the ministry for 32 years, 25 of those years as Executive Director. He is an ordained minister and a Michigan District Sectional Presbyter with the Assemblies of God. He has a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Southeastern University, holds a Master’s Degree from Fuller Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree with that institution. Rev. Bonzelaar serves as a board member for Novi Christian School. He has been married to Lori for 30 years. Together they have four sons and two daughters-in-law.
Mary Grace Braatz
Mary Grace Braatz graduated from Michigan State University with a B.S. in Communications and worked in marketing for Fortune 500 company Time Inc. (She especially enjoyed working with Sports Illustrated – she’s a big sports fan!) After having her four children, she decided to give homeschooling a try! She has since become a busy inspirational/motivational speaker, both writing for and speaking on many different topics such as the Pro-Life issue, Parenting, Trauma, Finding your Identity, Adoption, and Homeschooling. She also founded a Women’s group called LEGIT which stands for Ladies Encountering God in the Trenches. She loves the Lord, enjoys following politics, and is thrilled to be speaking with all of the future world-changers at the Student Statesmanship Institute!
SSI’s Director of Operations and Programs
Aimee has been working with SSI for the past three years as the Director of Programs. Before hiring on, she had attended SSI as a student twice and volunteered as an ADC for four years. Aimee has experience as a tutor, and for five years after graduating high school she worked with homeschool groups and co-ops offering classes in math, English, speech, debate, and American Sign Language. She loves helping people understand things which is why the environment at LEAD is so perfect for her. Aimee also enjoys coaching the Lansing area homeschool junior high soccer team (LA Dragons) and playing music in her spare time (especially show tunes).
Pastor and Missionary
Wally and his wife Linda have served the Lord for forty-two years. They are “Revivalists” of the Twenty First Century having served in ministries ranging from a rural pastorate, a mega-church pastorate, a church planting pastorate and a mission’s ministry at a large church in Michigan. In 2001, God called them to the mission field to preach, teach and work with the widows of the world. Of late, Linda and Wally have been very involved with Widows Might Ministry. Wally and Linda have served and continue to serve the Lord by working with indigenous ministries and helping widows in Nigeria, Guatemala, Mali, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Belarus, Siberia, Moldova, and Sierra Leone. Currently, Wally is serving as the Teaching Pastor at Mt. Pleasant Community Church in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.
Owner of Marketing Resource Group, LLC
Leonard joined MRG after serving as commissioner and director of the Michigan Film & Digital Media office, a post appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder. Her tenure was distinguished by program initiatives to support the development of Michigan’s creative industries and computer science education for K-12 students along with the formation of the Detroit Film Initiative, which promotes film production projects and jobs in Detroit.
Prior to leading the state’s film-and-digital media office, Leonard worked in the Michigan House of Representatives and four years in the Executive Office as External and Strategic Affairs Director for Lt. Governor Brian Calley. In the lieutenant governor’s office, she worked on policies that became a focal point for the first term of the Snyder Administration, including the initiative of building a new bridge to Canada, mental health reform and passage of Autism insurance reform in Michigan.
In 2013, Leonard coordinated the Council of Great Lakes Governors Summit on Mackinac Island, where ten states and provinces of Canada were represented. She also served on the 2015 Inaugural Committee on behalf of the Governor’s office.
Leonard has managed a range of House campaigns, served as the volunteer coordinator for a presidential campaign, co-ran a House leadership election and manages various campaign finance accounts. She was the first recipient of the Frank M. Fitzgerald Public Service award in 2008 and is a 2010 alumna of the Michigan Political Leadership Program.
Leonard earned a Bachelor’s degree in Communications in 2006 and a Master’s in Public Administration in 2009. She serves as a gubernatorial appointee to the Michigan Humanities Council and as the chair of the Clinton County Republican Party. She is married to Tom Leonard, the former Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives and current shareholder at Plunkett Cooney law firm. They live in DeWitt with their daughter Hannah and son Thomas.
Christen Pollo is the Executive Director of Protect Life Michigan, a statewide organization that recruits and equips college students. Through Protect Life MI, Christen has recruited thousands of students to join the pro-life movement and trained tens of thousands in pro-life advocacy. Daily, she sees the darkness of the college campus and the severity of the abortion-minded culture we are up against. Despite the darkness, Christen has great hope for the future because of the passion and dedication of young people in every corner of our state.
For nearly forty years, Mr. Mailand has worked in the field of education at the college and secondary level as an administrator, teacher, and coach. He has taught classes in a variety of subjects including Bible, apologetics, history, government, and comparative world-views. Along the way, he was able to attend seminars conducted by Dr. David Nobel, founder of Summit Ministries. In his own teaching he has utilized an adaptation of the “Understanding the Times” curriculum. His other contributions have included curriculum development, teacher training, and coaching where his teams have recently won three National Homeschool Soccer Championships.
SSI President & Founder
James has been active in Michigan’s public arena for over 30 years. Married to Margo since 1979, a father of 5, former pastor, nationally recognized spokesperson for traditional family values in Michigan, statewide organizational leader, and passionate citizen – he brings an experienced view and vibrant vision to Michigan’s cultural landscape. His perspective on how the Bible, history of our nation, current times, and future tie together inspires everyone, leading them into effective cultural engagement – whether running for office, educating their church, or simply enhancing their appreciation of our religious freedom. His motivational speaking inspires and trains leaders for this and the next generation. James’ bucket list includes a visit to an SSI alum in the oval office.
Pastor, Director of the Dream Center
Speaker Lorenzo Sewell was born and raised in Detroit, MI. As a result of his father going to prison and his younger brother being killed, Lorenzo became heavily involved in drugs and became a gang leader. On April 18th, 1999 during his senior year at Fraser High School he had a “Damascus Road,” encounter with Christ that set his heart on fire. He immediately started winning souls to Christ and began formally preaching in 2000, attending Bible school and discovering a love for apologetics and business. Lorenzo accepted a position at Straight Gate Church International in Detroit, and in 2010 was called into a coaching ministry focusing on leading pastors in establishing a culture of prayer. This led to his position as Pastor of the Woodside Pontiac Campus and Director of the Dream Center. In January 2019, he was called to a new position as Lead Servant of Evangel Ministries in his hometown of Detroit. Lorenzo is happily married with three beautiful children.
Apostle Ellis L. Smith is the Founder and Overseer of Jubilee City Church (formerly Jubilee Christian Church). The ministry continues on the far East-side of Detroit, Michigan since its’ establishment in May 1981. He and his wife Maria, as well as his son Pastor Marcellis L. Smith and his wife Sherita join forces to exhibit a stabilizing force in the community.
His ministry anointing serves to thrust the Body of Christ forward and to advance the Kingdom of God through, Apostolic Order, City Transformation and the Restoration of the Tabernacle of David. He and his wife demonstrate a passion for marriages and the restoration of the family and the raising up of leaders with a spirit of excellence. As he travels nationally, he strives to proclaim the message of Jubilee, which is reconciliation, restoration and restitution, wherever he is sent.
Apostle Smith is also the founder of the former Colin Powell Academy and has a heart and strong commitment to rebuild the educational arena and to effect and strengthen the overall well-being of the next generation through academia.
In addition, to his ministerial duties, he has served on the Board of Directors of the Michigan Neighborhood Partnership, Education Freedom Fund and is a founding board member of Cornerstone Schools. By virtue of the Apostolic mandate, he is a covering and father to many churches and ministries.
Ellis L. Smith is a graduate of Rhema Bible Training Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Cornerstone Theological Seminary. He has also received an honorary Doctoral Degree in Religious Studies from Christian Foundational University. He and Maria have been married for 40 yrs. and are the proud parents of four adult children and thirteen grandchildren, ages ranging from sixteen yrs. to sixteen months.
In addition to being a pastor for the past 15 years, Anthony Weber was an English, Logic, and Comparative Worldviews teacher at Traverse City Christian school from 1997 until 2017. He currently teaches a Contemporary Ethical Dilemmas class at Northwestern Michigan College along with his pastoral work. A lot of Anthony’s life revolves around seeking to engage a wide variety of people in conversation that is bold, honest, and true when it comes to issues of life: God, morality, politics, the church, etc. Anthony blogs on entertainment and worldview issues at empiresandmangers.blogspot.com; he podcasts with Beth Milligan, a journalist and friend, at etceteratc.blogspot.com (on Soundcloud, it’s Etcetera Podcast). Hobbies: napping, drinking coffee, writing, reading, and ineffectively trying to avoid arguments on Facebook. Anthony married up, as everyone in his life will attest. He and wife, Sheila, have been married 28 years and have three boys: AJ (23), Braden (19), and Vincent (14).
Campus Missionary, Reliant
Aaron Wentz was saved in 1992 while studying music as a percussion major at the Interlochen Arts Academy in northern Michigan. Aaron’s conversion was so profound that he immediately started telling people about Jesus and joined two music groups touring the United States, sharing his personal testimony. In 1994, Aaron went to the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Evangelism and Discipleship. Three years later, Aaron and his wife, Tonya, joined Open Air Campaigners (OAC), a street evangelism organization dedicated to preaching the Gospel to children on the street, college campuses, and inner-city neighborhoods. Upon graduation, Aaron and Tonya moved to Boston and served with OAC for 15 years. This gave Aaron the opportunity to talk to college students, professors, scientists, Muslims, atheists, Hindus, and everyone in-between, teaching him how to use apologetics to share the Gospel. In 2011, Aaron graduated from Biola University in southern California with a Master’s Degree in Christian Apologetics. Two years later, the Wentz’s moved back to Michigan and started the ministry of The Michigan School of Apologetics in which he gives seminars locally and internationally via Zoom. Aaron also is a campus missionary with Reliant Mission at Michigan State University.
Communications Manager at Office of Highway Safety Planning, Michigan State Police
Kendall Wingrove began with the Michigan State Police in March 2015 and became communications manager for the Office of Highway Safety Planning in 2017. Before that he worked in the Communications Department of the Michigan Senate Republicans and was also a press secretary in the Michigan House. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University and a master’s degree from Michigan State University. Kendall is also a free-lance historical writer and columnist who is regularly featured on the opinion page of the Washington Examiner.
Executive Director of MiCHN
Mike Winter has been coaching business and professional men through the ministry of CBMC since 1997. CBMC (Christian Business Men’s Connection) is a national ministry organization with the two-fold mission to present Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord to business and professionals and to develop Christian businessmen to carry out the Great Commission. We are Ambassadors for Christ in the marketplace living out our faith in authentic life-on-life relationships.
In addition to his work with CBMC, Mike and his wife Kim have homeschooled their children, are leaders in the educational liberty and parental rights movement in Michigan, and currently lead the state’s largest Christian homeschool network, MiCHN (formerly INCH).
Each week of camp, students hear from and are coached by experts in the legislative, media, business, judicial, and campaign fields. Past speakers and coaches have included…
Executive Director of World Mission
Lt. Governor of Michigan
North American Director, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries
The Honorable Richard Bernstein
Michigan Supreme Court Justice
Mayor of Lansing, former State Rep.
Vice President, Hallmark Tool & Gage