Although my job as the CEO at Orchard: Africa keeps me busy, I do accept a limited amount of speaking invitations.Michelle on chair

As you know, choosing a speaker is a crucial part of any event’s success and should be prayerfully considered.  Like you, I have listened to speakers of all varieties and we know that the measure of good communication is not whether the audience is bored or entertained (although bored never helps).  The measure is whether or not the audience is inspired and helped to change in some way.

I am a contemplative person so prayerful preparation for each unique audience is standard practice for me.

Typical Topics

  • Being a vessel that carries the Sacred God into a broken world
  • Gentleness  & kindness – powerful virtues that are steps to deep joy
  • Worship is a continuous posture of the heart
  • Living on purpose and with purpose
  • Relationships
  • Leadership
  • Engaging the Church with the poor, the disadvantaged, the forgotten

A little about what others say

Michelle Tessendorf is a seasoned leader who communicates the love of Christ in clear and compelling ways. She is equipped to communicate on a myriad of topics from cross cultural missions, to the ups and downs of leadership to the love of Christ in everyday activities and much more. I’ve seen her amongst the rural and urban poor of South Africa and I’ve seen her with the affluent elite in the U.S. No matter where she is Michelle is clear, kind and compassionate. She doesn’t just talk about these virtues she lives them. I highly recommend her.”  Chad Moore – Lead Pastor, Sun Valley Community Church

Michelle Tessendorf spoke at our conference with a wonderful blend of biblically-informed compassion, rich field experience, and intelligence. She has so much to offer the world Christian community concerning cross-cultural collaboration. Many thought her plenary presentation, both substantive and interactive, was the most valuable of our gathering. I highly recommend Michelle as a conference speaker. You will certainly be challenged and inspired.”  Werner Mischke – COSIM Resource Team; Executive VP, Mission ONE

Michelle and her husband Mike, were my pastors for ten years during my tenure as Treasurer of the North West Province in South Africa. In her various leadership roles, she has indeed been an embodiment of diligence, enthusiasm and a spirit of excellence. Blessed with exceptional communication skills, she has the rare ability to deal with difficult subjects in a sensible yet sensitive manner. ”  Martin Kuscus – Well known South African business leader, speaker and executive coach.

Michelle is a relevant, warm, compassionate and experienced speaker.  She endeavors to touch, develop and mentor Church Leadership with particular emphasis on imparting the skill and expertise needed to care for the poor and destitute.”  Lindiwe Gura – Court Judge, Cape Town Magisterial District.


A little about me

Whether I have my sleeves rolled up working in an African village, interacting at the office or sharing from behind a podium, I intentionally seek the sacred in life, am convinced that love is gentle and that worship is a continuous stance of the heart.

I am completely in love with my creator and the life He gave me.  I strive each day to love what He loves, to see what He sees and to do what He does.  This is a work in progress and some days I am better at it than others.  Yet, despite my inadequacies, I pursue this goal daily.

I enjoy building close relationships, welcoming others into my home,  going on adventures, writing, reading and contemplation & prayer.   I love to walk – about five miles a day. (Okay … not every day).

I have been in full time ministry since graduating from bible college in 1982.   I have held various positions ranging from Pastor of women’s ministries, Pastor of small groups, Assistant Pastor, and eventually finding my passion in the ministry of biblical justice.

I was elected to the Board of Orchard: Africa in 2000 and have held the position of CEO of the organization since then.   My heart and my soul burns with passion for the orphans and the widows, for the poor, the disadvantaged, the forgotten, for those to whom justice is due.   My task in this position is to help the church find intelligent, appropriate responses to this group of people.  An equal  passion of mine  is to invite others to find the sacredness of life, to pursue gentleness and to worship continuously.  These are steps to an authentic, joyful life.

I am wife, mother and recently, grandmother.  I delight in all three these roles, especially my new role toward the tiniest ones in our family.

Here are links to a Christianity Today interview:

Seeing in the Dark – Part 1

Seeing in the Dark – Part 2

A little about you

Should you be interested in having me speak at your event, please email me at michelle@michelletessendorf.com .  Tell me a little about you, the organization you represent and what your needs are for a speaker.