Dr. Rich Melheim
The Rev. Dr. Rich Melheim is an ordained Lutheran minister, educational systems pioneer, publisher and faith entrepreneur.
With a BA in Journalism, a Masters of Divinity, and a Doctorate in Semiotics and Future Studies, Rich has striven to design, test, and implement faith incubation systems that pull parents into the core of the process for over three decades. He is the author of 25 books, producer of 23 record albums, writer of 375 songs and 275 of skits, writer/producer of 6 musical comedy stage plays, and developer of thousands of family faith resources at:
Rich has taught 1000+ conferences in the US, India, South Korea, Canada, Egypt, Ethiopia and Australia, and been featured as a parenting and educational consultant on CNN (Atlanta), , 100 Huntley Street (Toronto), Good Morning Egypt (Cairo), ABC (Sydney) and 50 network news shows across the USA from WNBC (New York) to KTLA (Los Angeles).
Rich began the Luther project a decade ago when he was asked to create a guerrilla marketing campaign and Cross+Generational study guides for the movie Luther starring Joseph Fiennes and Peter Ustinov.
Dr. Rich’s newest stage project is "Luther the Musical" (link to this page on our site) which he is creating together with the talents, hearts and speedwood arts of his long-time friends Michael and George from Lost And Found, David Agape* Sherer, Robert Robinson and a couple dozen writers, producers and performers from the Faith Inkubators Music Guild.
Lost And Found
LUTHERAN SPEEDWOOD CRACK
The first time Rich Melheim heard the band Lost And Found and tried to explain them to his wife, he told Arlyce, “They’re kinda like Beavis and Butthead on Lutheran crack.”
Over their 29 years on the road, Rich spoke at a dozen events where Michael and George were the featured band, and came to love and marvel at their:
- Insanely addictive music
- Infectiously powerful lyrics
- Endearing improv wit and stage presence, and
- Simple, profound, solidly Lutheran theology
They played in all 50 states and numerous countries. They won the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. Twice.
They released 17 albums, performed about 5,000 concerts, drove over a million miles, and flew about 4 million more.
Then in 2015 they decided it was time to get real jobs and feed their families.
They were saying their goodbyes on their website, writing things like:
"Michael has taken a job with a music-app start up. George thinks this means he is going to get paid for listening to Spotify, but Michael insists it's an actual job, with bosses and a desk and stuff like that."
"George has been applying for positions at churches, though nothing is solid yet. Michael thinks this means he will be working one hour a week, but George insists he might end up at a church with more than one service a week, so it could be twice that much."
About that same time, while sitting with them in a tavern in Boulder, Colorado after they donated a free concert to launch Faith Inkubators “Killing Sunday School/Birthing Cross+Gen Worship” movement, Rich found out they were retiring from the road work and planning an international conference in Wittenberg for Luther’s 500th Reformation Jubilee Festival.
So Rich got to thinking out loud – as he often does – and, yeah, he told them it would be a sin for their talents to go to waste and their fanatic fan base to be deprived of their gifts and their daughters’ generation to grow up with only the legend of their marvelously maniacal ministry with Lions eating bodies but not swallowing souls, and slinkies, and Somebody’s Babies and Rising Up. Rich thought their retirement was a disaster for the church.
Simul justice et disaster…
Here comes “Luther the Musical” in time for the 500th Reformation Jubilee of Luther nailing it.
TODD & JESSEE ERNSTER
Album/Soundtrack Producers and Engineers for the Luther Rock Opera
Todd Ernster is the most humble, talented, hard-working, encouraging, generous musical genius and servant of Jesus Christ Rich Melheim has had the pleasure to work with in his 25 years of record production.
What’s a trained classical cellist doing leading one of the midwest’s most popular award-winning country rock bands, The Killer Hayseeds, on weekends and producing Scriptureverbatim Christian Curriculum Music and the preschool project music in his spare time?
Plenty. He’s throwing in his heart into his art, curating young talent, polishing and perfecting decent songs to make them all shine.
And now, together with his son Jesse, they have signed on to produce the Luther Rock Opera Album. “25 songs in a couple months? A piece of cake!” says Todd, who one day laid down tracks for 108 songs for the preschool music curriculum along.
Todd grew up playing all styles of music - but mostly classics on piano and cello. By age 13, he was playing guitar professionally in the club circuit, not leaving his classical training and discipline behind but using it to embellish and enliven every instrument and every genre of music he embraced. Todd's smoking talent on guitar is evident as he often becomes “one” with the instrument. Fans watch in awe at his effortless precision and unique performance style.
Jesse, who was featured as a backup vocalist for Dave Sherer (Agape) on Faith Inkubators albums starting at age 10, teaches recording arts in MPS, and will co-produce the album with his father. Here’s Jesse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpRipArzLd4
Todd’s attributes his love for country music - besides the intricate guitar styles - to the fans, finding them much more loyal, endearing, and down to earth than fans of other music styles.
All in all, Todd has engineered, played in, helped create and produce over 500 songs for the Faith Inkubators curriculum and the new RICH Learning project for poor children. And he does it all late into the night with a grin on his chin, a twinkle in his eye and a joyful prayer in his big country heart. Check out Todd and the Killer Hayseeds at killerhayseeds.com