Dick HardelDr. Dick Hardel retired on July 1, 2010, from The Youth & Family Institute (now called Vibrant Faith Ministries) in Bloomington, MN. Dick continues to work in the areas of Faith Formation, Wellness, and Discipleship from FaithWellMT.


B.A. from Concordia Senior College, Ft. Wayne, IN; M.Div. from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis; D. Min. from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.


Dick practices the faith and living well in Christ as husband, father, grandfather, godfather, and friend.

For over 20 years, Dick served as a Lutheran pastor in congregations in South Dakota and Florida. He served for over three years as assistant to the Bishop in the Nebraska Synod of the ELCA. In 1994 he accepted the call to serve as the Executive Director of The Youth & Family Institute were he served the Lord, either as Executive Director or as Senior Fellow.

He has been an adjunct teacher at Concordia University, St. Paul, MN, Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN. He also has been guest lecturer at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, MN, Asbury Seminary in Kentucky, the Mennonite Seminary in Winnipeg, Canada, Princeton Theological Seminary, Louisville Presbyterian Seminary, and School of Theology of the South in Sewanee, TN.

---image001Dick has been a speaker for pastor conferences and pastor/teacher conferences, national men’s organizations, women’s organizations, Synod Assemblies, Diocese Conferences, District Conventions, National Health Ministry Association, Lutheran Education Association, and youth gatherings for many denominations throughout North America. He has been a speaker in Australia, Norway, Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic.

As a retreat leader he has written and facilitated over 400 retreats. Trained by older Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Baily Circus clowns, Dick is the founder and proprietor of the Life in Christ Circus and the founder of Christ Clown College.

Lyle Shaller had described Dick as “one who colors outside the lines!” Dick is an author, editor, publisher, educator, pastor, creative thinker, retreat leader, speaker, columnist, coach, consultant, and clown.


Some of his latest resources he has written or co-written to pass on faith are:

  • Vision and Spiritual Leadership for Vibrant Faith Formation
  • Passing On The Faith: A Radical Model for Youth and Family Ministry
  • FaithTalk® with Children
  • Blest Be The Pie That Binds
  • The Cross in the Sawdust Circle
  • Tag, You’re It
  • Circled By Grace:  A Journey With Children Into God’s Story

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