Lifelong Lutheran and experienced business leader Michael Stolz has been appointed Executive Director of Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS).
The announcement was made this morning to ALWS staff and LCNZ church leaders by Jodie Hoff, ALWS Board chair.
Mr Stolz brings a wealth of high-level experience and expertise in business, consulting, project management and governance, with a strong track record of 30 years in transport, energy, defence, mining logistics and not-for-profit sectors. Gaining a Bachelor of Engineering (Aeronautical) in 1985, Mr Stolz also has an Executive Master of Business Administration and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
The son of missionary parents, he spent the first 15 years of his life in Papua New Guinea, He believes his life’s values were formed there, including respect for people of different cultures and an interest and commitment to the developing world.
From early adulthood he has served the Lutheran Church – in Victoria, South Australia and Queensland – in roles including school establishment committees, congregation evangelism and stewardship teams, and District and Churchwide committees. He served as a non-executive director of the General Church Board (GCB) from 2012 to 2018. He is currently serving as chair of the board of his local congregation, Prince of Peace, Everton Hills, in Brisbane’s northern suburbs.
‘Michael will bring faithful passion and purposeful deliberation to the role of executive director of ALWS, says LCANZ Bishop Paul Smith. ‘I have served with Michael in Lutheran agencies and on committees for almost 30 years, and I cherish his deep understanding of the gospel and his heartfelt yearning to serve the church in the name of our Lord Christ Jesus.’
Of particular significance to Mr Stolz’s appointment to the ALWS Executive Director is his awareness of the needs of the world’s most vulnerable people. He has travelled extensively, visiting over 60 countries, including many in the developing world. A long-time personal supporter of ALWS, in 2020 he joined the ALWS Board as a non-executive board member and also the Finance Audit & Risk Committee as a member.
‘We thank God for calling Michael to this role’, Ms Hoff says. ‘He is an exceptionally experienced and gifted team leader, demonstrated by the way he has developed collaborative partnerships and achieved transformational change. On top of that, his governance experience on GCB and the ALWS Board will be invaluable.
‘For all his life he has sought to serve God wherever God has placed him – and he has done this with deep passion, great faith and profound humility. We are excited to have Michael join us, and we look forward to how God will work through him as we bring God’s love to life in those the world forgets.’
Mr Stolz says, ‘I am looking forward to meeting our stakeholders and staff, and working with the team to deliver an even stronger, better organisation that delivers impactful development and aid outcomes for the forgotten people in our wider world.
‘These are challenging times, and we in the Lutheran Church can sometimes feel dispirited about “numbers” in our congregations. That’s why it’s such a joy to witness how ALWS can bring together the mission field of students and staff in our Lutheran schools with our local church communities, together reaching out to people in the world’s most vulnerable communities.
‘You only have to see people of all ages stepping out in Walk My Way, and families in refugee camps celebrating that their children can now go to school, to know that ALWS is a precious gift of God to enable us to go and grow and bring love to life.’
Mr Stolz is married to Kathy and they have four adult children.
He commences in his new role in September.