Leadership Team

First Lutheran joins the 11,000 congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in a broad-based ministry.  Together we are equipping men, women, and children to serve our Lord with a Cross-centered faith in Jesus Christ.
Rev. Roger Lenander, Pastor
I have been at First Lutheran since 1996, and I am as energized today about what God is doing in the lives of people in this church and community as the first day I arrived.  I love we are committed to welcome, encourage, support, and pray alongside one another. I love the commitment a stranger is our brother and sister in Christ (which means we love each other and learn to say we are sorry). I received my B.A. in Psychology from California State University Dominquez Hills, and my M.Div. from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary.  My wife Randi and I have three grown (and employed) children: Kari, Kirsten, and Owen.  Our thanks to the village of First Lutheran who helped to love'em, raise'em, and provide a witness of living in Jesus!
Nila Schneider, Office Administrator
Sharmyn Thompson, Director of Music
Sharon Gray, Associate Director of Music
Sharon comes to First Lutheran Church as Associate Director of Music with years of experience in church music. She served as Director of Vocal Studies at Missouri Western State University for forty-two years and has performed as soprano soloist with the St. Joseph Community Chorus and Chamber Choir, MWSU Concert Chorale and St. Joseph Symphony. She served as Dean of the St. Joseph Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, was the Allied Arts Council 2001 Mayor’s Award recipient for Individual Artist and the 2005 recipient of the Missouri Western State University Distinguished Professor Award. In 2014, she received the Mayor’s Award for Leadership in the Arts. She served for twelve years as Administrator for the Chorus and is currently serving on the board of the St. Joseph Chapter of AGO. Ms. Gray began her service as church musician when she became the Minister of Music at the Wathena United Methodist Church where she served for thirty-two years. She also served as Minister of Music at Zion United Church of Christ for over eighteen years and maintains a successful private voice studio. She is very much looking forward to becoming a part of the Worship and Praise Team here at First Lutheran.
Philip Alier Deng, Sudanese Worship Pastor
I came to St. Joseph in 2006 and helped begin a South Sudanese Community Worship in Dinka and Arabic in April, 2007. We provide translators for worshippers who only understand English. We encourage people to love one another and provide support that leads to unity. I understand that I am a servant of the Lord. I trust in God’s love and acceptance of us revealed in Jesus Christ. I believe that our prayer petitions are heard by God and do not return empty. I live with my wife, Agok Garang, who moved to be with me in 2012. I am beginning my seminary education with Wartburg Seminary in Fall 2014, to study for ordination in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Jim Farrell, Council President   Cyndee Simpson, Treasurer I have been at First Lutheran Church since 1982, when my family moved here from Shawnee Mission, Kansas where I grew up.  I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Education from Pittsburg State University.  I have been involved in several church activities including WELCA, Sunday School, Bell Choir, Ushering, Church Council, the Restructure Committee and have been the Treasurer since 2003.  I work full time at IHP Industrial and my family of 3 children and 2 grandchildren keep me busy as well. Bruce Taylor, Building Fund Treasurer Joy Winters, Contributions Secretary
Larry & Debbie Stafford, Building Maintenance