On February 15th, LSG welcomed John Moeller as our new CEO. John has worked in leadership in the nonprofit industry for more than 15 years in the Atlanta area. With a background in the United Methodist Church, John is ordained as a minister and served as a pastor in UMC congregations throughout Northeast Georgia before entering the nonprofit world. John sat down to answer a few questions about his background, his home life and his hopes for the future of LSG.
What is your professional background?
While I’ve been in the nonprofit industry for many years, leading faith-based organizations, I started out in ministry. I grew up in the Lutheran church until high school when my family relocated to North Georgia. There wasn’t a Lutheran church nearby, so we joined a United Methodist congregation. After earning my Master’s in Divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory, I spent a decade pastoring UMC churches before being called to nonprofit leadership. I recently left Action Ministries, where I served as President and CEO for the past five years. Prior to that, I served as CEO of MUST Ministries in Marietta for ten years.
What led you to leave pastoring and enter the nonprofit sector and social and human services in particular?
What I loved about pastoral work was helping churches to serve the community. As I moved along in my career, I realized that you don’t have to be a pastor of a church to make that happen. My wife Laurie Moeller is also a UMC pastor, and I’ve often said that there’s only room in our family for one really good preacher – and that’s Laurie.
I’ve always loved serving the most vulnerable and that goes hand in hand with my faith. I think that the people LSG serves are among the most important in our community and our country, and that’s the opposite of what society thinks are the most important groups – the rich, the glamorous, and TV or sport celebrities. Part of our job at LSG is to help lead the church to live out this calling to serve others.
Society sees the vulnerable as weak. LSG sees them as strong. We and our church partners are in the position to show the world the strength that those we serve bring to our community.
Tell us about your life outside of work.
My wife Laurie and I are raising teenage daughters, and I truly love being a parent – with all the challenges it brings. I told a story to the staff on my first day of work about a trip Laurie and I took to the mountains many years ago. I’ve always been a mountain person and love spending time outdoors in nature. On this particular day, the weather was iffy and snow started falling as Laurie and I continued on this hike that ended up being more treacherous than expected. I told that story to illustrate my take on life – that I always love a good adventure. Between raising a family and managing our careers, now Laurie and I don’t have to go to the mountains for an adventure – every day is adventure for us.
You’ve been at LSG for just two weeks, what is your impression so far?
I’m in awe of the people I’ve met. Our staff is full of smart people who are passionate about the cause. They really bring a vast array of knowledge and experience to their work. I’m really encouraged by what I’ve found here. We already have the components we need to build on LSG’s success and grow together into a world class organization.
What is your vision or hope for the future of LSG?
LSG isn’t just about serving those in need. It’s connecting the dots in community. Building a better community as we serve the most vulnerable.
Throughout my career, I’ve really enjoyed helping great organizations to become more capable in the areas they serve - to be powerhouses in whichever field they are in. What I really want for LSG is to become a leader in the minds of the public. Our clients already think we’re the best, and our partners recognize we’re great. Now, I want the public to recognize LSG as the best and as the “go to” leader in its field.