The TLDM Story
by Jack Dannemiller
Chairman and CEO
In 2005, I received a phone call from Reverend Irving Stubbs. I had retired from AIT in 2000 where Irving had been retained as a consultant on executive leadership development and to assist in creating a Deming style quality program. Together with our executive management team we initiated a transformational vision to create a new systems integrating technology company, AIT.
One of the new disciplines we introduced was DIALOG, the Socratic method, of solving problems and discovering new market and customer opportunities. What was thought to be impossible became new opportunities for global growth through acquisition and significantly expanding the company’s product offering and its engineering systems capabilities. The rest is history. AIT turned 100 years old in 2023 and is flourishing today as a multi-billion dollar market cap New York Stock Exchange company.
With that as the backstory, Irving’s phone call became the eventual genesis of TLDM. He asked me if I would partner with him to write a book using the principles we developed at AIT, specifically DIALOG. He proposed a book on Christian discipleship based on the Gospel of Mark so individuals or Koinonia groups could really get to know Jesus as the Son of God, the promised Messiah and the only way to eternal life.
Irving argued that most group Bible studies are of the fill-in-the-blank style and don’t dig deeper to discover the profound truths the Scriptures contain.
He also believed Christian discipleship studies should be easy for anyone to facilitate. The idea was to provide searching questions within the text so that DIALOG not just discussion would take place. The book would also contain a brief tutorial on the techniques of DIALOG and it would be placed at the beginning of the book. Typical of Irving’s attention to details, he had given the book ideas great thought before he called.
My immediate response was, “a great idea but I will need to think and pray about it first.” At that time I was a guest lecturer at the CWRU Weatherhead Graduate Business school. I was giving thought to writing a book on Leadership and Core Values. After a couple of weeks of thought and much prayer, I called Irving and agreed to co-author our first, and I thought only book, The Invitation. The book was reasonably successful for two unknown authors like us. It is now in its third revised edition. Through our friend Dirk Wierenga, we were able to get connected to Frank Gutbord who formatted the book for publication and design the attractive cover.
After the publication of The Invitation, we decided to write a companion book from the Gospel of John titled, The Transformation. We also thought we should create a ministry identity to get more visibility and credibility to our initiatives. So we invited several colleagues to join us in this new venture. That group included, Dirk Wierenga, publisher and author, Harry Pollard of the law firm, Parker, Pollard, Wilton and Peaden, and Brian Regrut, a creative writer, editor, website designer, and Bible teacher.
In 2008 the small group convened a weekend retreat where we brainstormed the ministry idea. The result was the formation of a 501(c) 3 organization, The Living Dialog Ministries, TLDM, Inc.. We registered the ministry in the State of Virginia on December 2, 2009. This group of colleagues became the Board of Directors for the ministry. More recently we added Kent Engelke to the board as the new treasurer. Kent is the Economic Strategist/ Managing Director of Capital Management Securities Inc.
One of our first orders of business was securing our identity on the internet and creating a web presence. We also launched our website, LivingDialog.org, where people can learn more about the ministry, purchase our publications and donate.
Irving and I, with encouragement from the Board, decided that our two books should become a Trilogy. So, the third book, The Way, based on the Bible book of Romans was written and published.
The Hope and The Covenant
Since Irving and I were on a roll, we continued writing Christian discipleship studies including, The Hope, based on the Biblical book of Hosea and The Covenant, based on the book of Exodus.
Feedback from groups who were using the five books of what we were calling the Living Dialog Collection, led us to develop a study guide based on The Invitation. The content was repackaged for small groups that would meet for 11 dialog sessions. We were fortunate to be able to get two excellent editors, Michelle Van Loon and Scott Stewart to review our work and improve its content.
When we completed the fifth book in the discipleship series, Irving and I decided to reshape the TDLM mission and strategy. He would continue offering new books which he did. I would launch a new initiative to create tools for evangelism, ones that would focus on the most frequently asked questions by seekers and followers of Jesus.
Answers to Life’s Greatest Questions
We conducted a survey of pastors, leaders of campus Christian ministries such as, FCA, Young Life, and AIA. We contacted chaplains of college and professional sports, campus directors of CRU to determine what were the most frequently asked questions they encountered about the Christian faith. When the surveys were compiled there were 30 questions or so that kept coming up but there were 12 that were asked most frequently. As a result of the survey, we created our first booklet, Answers to Life’s Greatest Questions. It was a simple to use yet effective tool to share the Gospel conversationally by answering those 12 most frequently asked questions, FAQs. Dirk Wierenga was instrumental in the design and content format of the booklet and Frank Gutbrod created the cover design. The TLDM team decided this booklet should be provided free to churches and Christian ministries and trusting that the Lord would provide funding to support the ongoing cost of the ministry through donations which He graciously and abundantly has. The Answers booklet is available for purchase by individuals on our ministry websites.
Concurrent with the publication the Answers booklet, TLDM launched a Biblical Q&A website, lifesbasicquestions.com, to answer the most frequently asked questions about the Christian faith. We recruited a team of 20 distinguished pastors, Bible scholars and Sunday school teachers to assist us in crafting the answers to the questions received on the website. These individuals are recognized in the acknowledgment segments of the books and booklets. We will be forever indebted to them for their participation in TLDM.
Paradise Creative Group
Along this journey we developed a “partnership” or working relationship with Katrina Solokar and her team of graphic designers, editors and website designers at Paradise Creative Group. We wanted to expand our marketing efforts and reach out to a broader audience through social media. Katrina and her team have been an exceptional resource and partner in this phase of our venture.
New Study Guides
As our 10th anniversary rolled around, we began thinking about how best to get our original content before more people. Creating Bible study guides based on our original books was the idea that caught hold. We once again turned to Frank Gutbrod to come up with a fresh design concept for the study guides, with The Invitation being renamed and repackaged as Your Invitation. Brian Regrut edited content from The Transformation and The Way to create two additional study guides, Transformation and Lighting the Way that incorporate Frank’s design. Working with Francelia Chavez of Antioch Partners we secured Spanish translations of Your Invitation, Transformation and Lighting the Way that are available in bulk from LivingDialog Ministries and also from booksellers everywhere.
Global Media Outreach
The TLDM ministry story continues with a new chapter regarding the Answers is booklet. This chapter is another confirmation of God’s providence to reach the world with the Gospel before Jesus returns. Initially, the Answers is booklet was available only in English. We became aware of a demand for a Spanish translation for those parties going on mission trips to Mexico, Miami and Central America. To create in Spanish translation, we engaged a translator in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Today, 2023, through God’s providence TLDM became aware through a friend, John Beckett, of the ministry Global Media Outreach, GMO. John suggested that they would be interested in the booklet for their websites. GMO uses websites and social media technology to share the gospel across the globe in13 languages. On April 7, 2022 Katrina and I met with their technical design Director, Michelle Diedrich, in Venice, Florida to review with her the TLDM available resources and to establish a relationship and partnership with them and their ministry.
After a wonderful conversation, she immediately liked the Answers booklet. We gave them permission to use our English and Spanish versions. Then we asked the big question,” What other languages would you like?” Her request seems like an impossible task. But we know,”With God all things are possible.”(Matthew 19:26) Through God’s providence again and amazing answers to prayers in the short period of 18 months we got connected to translators in Russia, Egypt, India, Japan and Fort Myers Florida. As of June 2023, the Answers booklet is now available in seven additional languages; Russian, Arabic, Hindi, Bengali, German, French and Japanese. Only God knows if there will be more to come.
The Light of the World and Reflections on the 23rd Psalm
In addition to the Answers booklet, TLDM published two new booklets in 2023, The Light of The World and Reflections on The 23rd Psalm. The Light of The World booklet is focused on one single question that so many ask,”What Happens When I Die?” The answer comes directly from God’s Word. This booklet is now also being used by prison ministries. The Reflections booklet is a phrase-by-phrase in-depth look at the profound truths hidden deep within the 23rd Psalm.
Answers to Your Greatest Questions
Three years prior to the development of these two booklets I decided to assemble, edit and author a book, Answers to Your Greatest Questions. The content for the book was taken from the best Q&A’s we posted on our website during the seven year period of 2013 to 2019. The book received many fine endorsements including a great one from Michele Bachmann, an Author, Internationally known speaker, Member of US Congress for eight years and Presidential Candidate in 2012. She is presently Chairman of the Board of the Family Research Council located in Washington DC. The book is available for purchase from the TLDM website, LivingDialog.org, amazon.com and other booksellers.
Renewing Your Mind – Thinking as a Christian
Concurrent with this book, we came up with an idea to publish a book on the topic: What is a biblical worldview of the culture in America today? We were inspired by the biblical promise in Romans 12:2, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” It is only God’s word that is capable of providing a true and accurate mental picture of the elements in a culture and how Christians should respond. From that promise, the book, Renewing Your Mind – Thinking as a Chrsitian was born. The TLDM ministry was blessed to have a number of knowledgeable friends of the ministry tackle some of the challenging elements in the culture. We were pleasantly surprised when it was reviewed and endorsed by FRC’s David Closon, the Director of their Biblical Worldview Council. This is a book for all Christians so that they can gain an understanding of the Bible’s view of our times. It makes a great resource for small group Bible studies and personal reflection.
At this point in the TDLM story it is important to note and reflect back at our cofounder and president who retired five years ago and now enjoys the well-deserved title of President Emeritus. Irving is living at the Westminster Canterbury retirement community in Richmond Virginia. He is enjoying a well-deserved respite with family and friends. At 96 years of age he is still our faithful encourager and the spiritual leader of our ministry. My friendship with Irving spans more than 50 years. We first became acquainted when Irving was a consultant to Diamond Shamrock Corporation which I had joined when I graduated from Case Institute of Technology in 1960. I pray that my mind will remain as sharp as his is to this day. Our friendship has been a true blessing for me and the ministry.
The books keep coming
It seems that once God gives you the desire to be an author of Christian books he continues to inspire and encourage you to keep at it. So, the TLDM story has yet another chapter. This chapter records God’s inspiration and my commitment to write on the topic of equipping Jesus disciples to be both more able to share the Christian faith with others and to become disciple makers themselves. It has been a two year labor of love guided by the Holy Spirit to write our recently published 2023 books, Reasons for The Faith -A journey in Christian Apologetics and the Disciple Makers Toolbox Instruction Manual, ‘Your Guide to Becoming A Disciple Maker’.
Resons for the Faith – A Journey in Christian Apologetics
Reasons for The Faith has received many endorsements, including a Foreword and endorsement by Kelly Kullberg, the founder of the Veritas Forum and author of the book, Finding God at Harvard.
Disciple Makers Toolbox – Instruction Manual
Disciple Makers Toolbox has also received a number of great reviews and many exceptional endorsements plus and an enlightening Foreword by Dr. G. Lee Southard, author of over 40 publications including his recent book, To Know With Certainty.
The story of TLDM will I am sure have additional chapters to record. There is much work to be done yet to promote and market the new books, to continue to enhance the TLDM websites, to promote the ministry publications on social media and most likely to create at least one or more additional booklets. One currently under consideration addresses the topic of ‘Life’s Greatest Fears’. Another booklet possibility would be in the format of a devotional with the potential title of, Faith and Hope, Unshakable Anchors in a World of Chaos. A third potential booklet might be similar to the style of the booklet, Reflections on The 23rd Psalm. A possible title and subject might be, Reflections on the Lord’s Prayer.
So stay tuned and follow the TLDM story on our LIVING DIALOG website.
August 7, 2023