We are a small staff of dedicated people who are passionate about the global mission of Jesus Christ and helping Christians work together to fulfill that mission. “Synergy” means that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and that is what we seek for our ourselves as we blend our individual strengths into a high-performance team.
In 2011, Kärin became CEO of VisionSynergy, succeeding her father (and VisionSynergy’s founder), Phill Butler. According to MissioNexus, Kärin is one of only a handful of women in North America who currently lead internationally-focused mission organizations. Kärin’s vision for collaboration has grown out of a wealth of international ministry experience, having worked in South Africa, India and China, and traveled to more than 25 countries. As coordinator of a cross-cultural mentoring program for eight years, Kärin has developed a passion for equipping mission leaders with effective ministry skills. Prior to that, Kärin spent eight years working in the inner city of Los Angeles. Kärin has an M.A. in Urban Planning from the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA), and a B.S. in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University. She is married with three young adult children.
With hearts full of sorrow, yet full of confidence in the hope and joy of eternal life, we announce the passing of Phill Butler into the loving arms of Jesus on April 2nd, Palm Sunday. Phill was the founder of VisionSynergy and its Senior Strategic Advisor. He was an author and internationally acknowledged expert in partnerships and strategic alliances, Phill has led the way in developing missional partnerships among Christian organizations in more than 70 countries for nearly three decades. Phill was the previous founder and director of Interdev and Intercristo. In his earlier years, Phill was an international radio and news correspondent with ABC News. You can find more about Phill’s life and legacy here.
Senior Director of Operations
David’s passion for learning about and experiencing other cultures began in high school through his friendships with many exchange students from around the world. He’s traveled to over 30 countries as a student and while working in international business and missions.
In his role at VisionSynergy David gets to use his skills and experience from both the business and missions worlds. He has worked in banking, international operations management, consulting, finance, and quality management. On the ministry side, David volunteered in missions at Pantano Christian Church for six years before he joined the staff and served as Outreach Pastor for 13 years, learning missions strategies and best practices while gaining valuable experience developing partnerships with indigenous ministries around the world.
David has a B.A. in Economics and Management from DePaul University and a Masters in International Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management. He and his wife Lisa have three children: Amelia, Luke and Nate. David enjoys hiking, running, playing games with the family and serving teens through Tucson Refugee Ministry.
Senior Director of Global Programs
Kevin has been the senior director of global programs for VisionSynergy since 2019. In recent years, Kevin’s leadership approach has shifted from a highly-driven, task-oriented person to a more open, inclusive, developmental leader with a desire to help other leaders realize their God-given potential. A key factor in this shift was the result of facilitating two peer-discipling groups with Battle for Hearts in 2017. In January 2019, Kevin participated in Freedom to Lead leadership development training of trainers for story-centric learners. Kevin is also a trained coach through the COACH Model developed by Keith Webb for ministry leaders. He received his professional coaching certificate (ACC) from the International Coaching Federation in 2020. Kevin met his wife, Wendy, while at university. Sensing a call to incarnational, cross-cultural ministry, they undertook preparation and training alongside their academic studies. Kevin and Wendy then lived in Estonia and served European church planters and leaders from 1996 to 2010. During their ministry, they saw a half dozen new congregations planted in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. They initiated partnerships in Sweden to establish a ministry to unreached university students. Kevin served in a number of roles for United World Mission, including as area director in Northern Europe and East Africa, global partnerships director, and director for strategic partnerships in Europe and Asia from 2010-2019. Kevin holds an MDiv in missions from Columbia International University, South Carolina, and a BS in non-Western history from Appalachian State University, North Carolina. Kevin and Wendy have four children: Chelsea, Cameron, Caroline, and Chad. After 24 years in Estonia and Hungary, the Masons relocated to Pennsylvania in the U.S. to continue their international role of equipping network leaders in visionSynergy’s target areas: MENA, S. Asia, and E. Asia.
Director, Global Initiatives
Michael serves as Director of Global Initiatives for VisionSynergy, Lausanne Catalyst for Ministry Partnerships and Networks, and Catalyst for the Vision 5:9 Network. Following his completion of a BS in Business Systems at Taylor University in 2003, Michael was based in London with Operation Mobilization International as Travel Assistant for George Verwer, traveling and ministering in 26 countries on 6 continents, handling logistics, and coordinating local volunteers. Following that, he served for nine years with Operation Mobilization USA as Director of College Mobilization, then as Vice President of Mobilization, and later as Senior Director, sending over 800 short-term and 80-100 long term workers each year in partnership with over 2,000 churches. Since 2014, he has chaired the board of directors for Mission Data International, which partners with 115 organizations and mobilizes believers through the internet through the following sites: shorttermmissions.com, askamissionary.com and preparingtogo.com. Since 2015, he has served as Catalyst for the Vision 5:9 Network, comprised of 180 global, Christ-centered mission organizations, denominations, and churches focused on disciple-making movements among Muslim peoples. In 2017 he began serving the Lausanne Movement as Catalyst for Ministry Partnerships and Networks. Michael enjoys strategically serving others with his skills and experience in strategic planning, communication, networking, facilitating, coaching, and developing collaborations and partnerships.
Dan’s passion for mobilizing and resourcing people through transformational learning experiences came into focus during college while teaching business English in Sri Lanka for a year as part of a mission team. He has a B.A. in Liberal Studies (Psychology, Mass Communications) and a Masters in Library and Information Science (MLIS) from the University of Washington. From there, his career moved into web development, web team management, and eBusiness in the biotech, pharmaceutical, and insurance sectors. In 2006, Dan put his IT career on hold after he and his wife Shellie adopted a six year old boy with significant needs. During this time, Dan had the opportunity to join the Perspectives team as the Northwest Regional Director from 2007 to 2013. This opportunity combined his passion for mission mobilization, networking, and transformational learning. In 2010, Dan earned his coaching certificate with the International Coach Federation (ICF) and started New Territories Consulting to leverage his passion for catalyzing transformational learning and change. In this capacity, he provided strengths-based leadership and clean coaching, facilitated board retreats, and conducted training workshops for small business leaders and work teams. Dan joined VisionSynergy in 2015 as the Online Community Manager for the Synergy Commons, a global learning community of network leaders engaged in world mission. In what can only be called a God-fit, his role allows him to integrate his passion for creating transformational learning experiences with his technical, training, coaching, and graphic facilitation skills.
Matt spent the last twenty years serving the Lord in various parts of East Asia. Matt learned the value of gospel partnership early in his ministry career. After getting his start in ministry with college students, the Lord gave Matt a vision for a broader ministry work beyond the university gates. The Lord opened multiple opportunities for Matt to meet people from all walks of life in a city of millions, and quickly began to connect him with local pastors from diverse backgrounds who were also working in the city. Though they were all focused on the same target of reaching an unreached city, Matt discovered that there was tremendous disunity and distrust among church leaders in his city, and yet they all trusted and worked with Matt. With this realization in mind, Matt sought to bring these pastors together first simply to pray for the city and for each other, and later to build a strategic partnership. Once developed, this partnership led to pastors and churches co-laboring to reach the city. This included coordinated evangelistic outreaches, pastoral training programs, and eventually a lasting partnership that even led to the adoption of an unreached, unengaged people group.
Eventually, Matt and his family had to leave the city and began a new ministry working specifically in the area of training. The Covid-19 pandemic forced the closure of a cross-cultural training center Matt had developed with some local partners, so the entire program migrated to an online format. Throughout the pandemic, East Asian cross-cultural workers and those who hoped to move into cross-cultural work continued to receive training online.
Board of Directors
VisionSynergy’s Board of Directors is an engaged and energetic group who provide oversight and strategic direction for the ministry. Each member of the Board brings a wealth of experience to our team and a strong commitment to our central purpose – accelerating the mission of Jesus Christ through the development and strengthening of strategic Christian networks.
Scott White came to faith at Lake Avenue Church (LAC) and has called it ‘home’ for 40 years. During that time at LAC he has served on the College Department Staff, Genesis Adult Community, and the Twenty Something / CrossRoads Community. For over 20 years, he operated a contracting business. In 1999, Scott joined LAC pioneering the role of Missions Mobilization Coordinator and in 2003 became their Pastor of Global Outreach. In addition to that role, he currently serves as the Associate Pastor of Mission and Evangelism. He has served as National Chairman of the Executive Coordinators Council for the Perspectives Movement, served as a founding trustee for The Marketplace Foundation and served two terms on the Board of Global Opportunities. Scott holds a Masters Degree in Global Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary.
Dan launched Destination Marketing in 1984 and quickly developed a reputation as one of the leading branding experts in the Northwest. With his “Category Domination” philosophy Dan has helped many North American companies such as Sleep Country, Penguin Windows, Sono Bello, Car Toys and ListenUP! Canada achieve category dominance. The latest evolution of this tremendously effective strategy combines the relational power of Internet marketing tactics with the best brand building techniques of invasive media. As a “Missionary Kid” who grew up in Africa, Dan also brings to the board personal experience in international missions.
Debbie Slavin has been on a career adventure for 35+ years in the corporate world. She has held numerous positions including administrative assistant, customer service leader, director of business development, to her current role as Global Facilities Director at Bluebeam. She has worked for both large Fortune 100 companies to small tech start-ups, leveraging opportunities via learning and a willingness to tackle the unknown. She has built teams and organizations along with a variety of mergers and acquisitions. Raised Catholic, Debbie rededicated her life to Christ and was baptized in the mid-80’s. In ministry, she has served as a children’s Sunday school teacher, the planner for women’s ministry events, women’s bible study table leader, an usher, member of the Christian Assembly retreat team, and participated on the Christian Assembly missions trip to Tanzania to work with Wild Hope International and the Maasai. Debbie had her world rocked after taking the “Perspectives on the World Christian Movement” class and is now one of the lead coordinators for the class at Christian Assembly. Debbie is an avid runner having run more than a dozen marathons and more half marathons than she can count. She loves reading, learning and experiencing new things. Debbie loves walking her very social golden retriever, Sunday.
Milo Arkema is a business consultant with Chima Consulting, LLC. He serves on the boards of several corporations and non-profit organizations. Prior to 2007 he was a partner with Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP, an accounting and advisory firm. Milo advises CEOs and shareholders of emerging and family-owned companies around business and growth issues including exit planning. He also leads transaction due diligence teams for acquisitions by private equity as well as strategic buyers. Milo is a Certified Public Accountant earned a bachelors degree at Dordt College. He and his wife Jentine live in Minneapolis, MN.
N. Doug Gamble (douggamble.org) has served as pastor in small and large churches since 1976. He is currently Pastor of Mission Partnerships at Crossroads Fellowship in Raleigh, NC, where he concentrates on local outreach. Doug has traveled more than two million miles in his work with multiracial and international groups, in and out of the country. He conducts a highly popular networking event every March where government agencies, churches, schools, and nonprofits collaborate on solutions for a wide array of needs in the Raleigh-Durham area. The event has grown each year. Doug’s writing has appeared in various publications. Following up on his self-published book, The Heart Attack That Saved My Life and Ministry, Guideposts covered the habits and stresses that led to Doug’s heart attack at age 49, along with his recovery and the enlightenment that redirected his ministry. His experience on several nonprofit boards, along with years of partnership with more than 80 organizations, equipped Doug to counsel and help launch many different outreaches. Doug is currently working on a new book, Bored Again Christians, which helps people imagine and launch the kinds of outreach appropriate to their church or neighborhood. Many of Doug’s clients are pastors and other individuals who are tired of monotony and irrelevance in church life. Doug helps them find a biblical sense of fulfillment in ͞creating the community their church’s neighborhood longs for. Doug and his wife, Kathy, have two adult children, a few grandkids, two cats, and a sneaky beaver that gnaws on their trees by the pond.
Holly has enjoyed a career in biopharmaceutical sales, training, and account management, consistently ranking as a top producer for Eli Lilly, Roche, Genentech, and Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America. She is currently a Territory Business Manager for Intercept, helping patients and veterans with non-viral liver diseases. Holly has a lifelong commitment to seeing unreached people groups know Jesus. This passion took root during an ethnographic Joshua Project in North India following graduate school. She has served on the board of Mbeya International Ministries and her homeowners association. Holly has recently mentored Haggard International Scholars for Azusa Pacific University, taught English to Asian immigrants and a class for new believers at church. She holds a B.S. in Christian Education from Biola University and a M.A. in Social Science, Higher Education Administration from Azusa Pacific University.
Career & Organizational Effectiveness
Program Manager, Dropbox
Gary has a diverse background in electrical & computer engineering, nonprofit sector, K12 and higher ed, pastoral ministry, and organization development consulting. Becoming a Christian completely changed his life, and he left his engineering career at IBM and Dell to join Teach For America as a 7th grade math teacher. He then spent almost a decade in national education reform, improving K-12 math education across the U.S. Before moving to Berkeley, California, he was the pastor for Missions and Ministry Placement at The Vineyard Church in Stafford, Texas. He has consulted internationally with community leaders, foundations, and Fortune 500 companies. Gary’s passion in life is to maximize and empower those around him. Gary holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin and an M.S. in Organization Development from Pepperdine University.
Want to leverage the power of partnership?
We believe that God is always at work around the world, moving His people toward community and collaboration. That’s why we so often find that the dreams stirring in one person’s heart are the same dreams stirring in another person’s heart. If you want to learn more about how to leverage the power of partnership in your own ministry context, or how to get involved in the work of bringing others together to advance the Gospel, contact us!Contact Us