|Westwood Leadership Staff|
|Senior Pastor||Joel Johnsonemail@example.com||952.224.7314|
I moved to Chanhassen with my family in 1995 to start Westwood Church. Previous to Westwood, I served on staff for 15 years at Wooddale Church where I helped to oversee the strategic plan for starting new churches. In August of 1994, I was invited to lead the new church to be started in Chanhassen. At first I declined. But one weekend that fall my wife, Keri, and I drove through Chanhassen and were struck by the expansive growth in the area and the lack of churches to serve the community. We saw a need for more churches and an opportunity to reach many people with the love of Jesus Christ. More importantly, we had a personal, spiritual experience that cannot be put into words but served as an affirmation that this is what we were to do.
We set aside any concerns we had and let God move us in a chapter of life that has been profoundly challenging and meaningful. We agreed to move forward in faith and start the church that would become Westwood Community Church. In January, 1995, a simple plan was written, a purpose statement was fashioned, and our vision was clarified and communicated to anyone interested in hearing. Since then, we have learned a great deal. We have seen many people come to Christ. We have seen the Church grow beyond our expectations. There is real joy expressed as we meet together.
My primary responsibilities are leadership and preaching. I am surrounded by a cast of gifted staff and lay leadership who serve with a high level of commitment and excellence, who want to give their best to God. I graduated from Bethel Seminary in 1986 and completed a Doctor of Ministry degree at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, CA in 1999. Keri and I anticipate a future for Westwood that will increase the reputation of Jesus Christ in this area and around the world.
|Adult Ministries—Pastor||Brian Suterfirstname.lastname@example.org||952.224.7340|
I joined Westwood’s pastoral staff in May of 2004 and served in student ministry for my first eight years here. I have an undergraduate degree in Communication from Bethel University and have an MDIV from Bethel Seminary. I love Westwood, and I am grateful I get to serve in a church like ours. My wife Courtnay and I live in Victoria with our two kids. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, especially when the golf course is involved with these two groups of people.
|Community Care—Pastor||Dave Trautmannemail@example.com||952.224.7304|
|I've had the joy of being part of Westwood since 1996. As Pastor of Community Care, I oversee ministries designed to share the love of Jesus with individuals and families during times of transition, loss, and healing. Care Ministries, also, offers relational resources for engaged and married couples. It's our aim to hold hope for one another and, together, deepen our trust in the God who holds on to us.|
Sheri and I have been married 28 years. We have three adult sons: Ryan and his wife, Rachel, have a little boy, Grayson; Aaron; and Mark. I've completed a Masters of Divinity from Bethel Seminary; along with advanced coursework in marriage and family studies through Denver Seminary. I'm an avid runner; enjoy the lake in summer and the trails in fall and winter; entering the next season of marriage and family life as empty-nesters; and live in Carver, MN.
I’ve been on staff at Westwood since January of 2002 as Director of Connection. My overarching role is to help define and create environments that foster pathways of connection for Westwood guests and regular attenders/ members. Various Connection Ministry Teams help foster positive ‘first impressions’ and seek to welcome, orient, and assimilate individuals into Westwood. Other adult ministries that I resource help individuals to grow in relationship with each other and with God. As we come to discover our unique God given gifts and talents, I get excited to help others discover their passions and step into serving opportunities that bring them joy! It’s my hope that people will experience a sense of belonging and community at Westwood. By engaging in community life and experiencing the joy of serving, people can make significant contributions, find a circle of friends and have fun!
I have a BS in Nursing from St. Olaf College and am certified in Case Management. Years of varied professional experiences have shaped my skill set to function in the role I’m in here at Westwood. I feel so blessed to use my skills in an environment where God is glorified and kingdom work is accomplished.
My husband, Dean, and I live in Chanhassen and are ‘empty nesters.’ We have three wonderful grown children: Andrea (married to Corey Robideau), Jon (married to Katie) and David. My greatest delight is spending time with our grandchildren! In my spare time I love to cook, read, walk and spend time with family and friends. I’m currently enrolled in a Master’s program in Marriage and Family Therapy , and look forward to how God will use this in my future.
|Kid's Ministry—Director||Eric Theisenfirstname.lastname@example.org||952.224.7338|
|I joined the Westwood Kids' Ministry team back in 2006, but my heart has been in children's ministry since high school. I love working with kids and families (probably because I am really just a big kid myself) and I love teaching them and helping them understand the Word of God in fun and creative ways. More than that, I love the way children learn about the truths found in the Bible and the way they approach God with such a simple faith that we as adults can only wish we had. |
My absolute favorite way to spend my free-time is with my family. I have a beautiful wife of 10+ years named Alyssa and five incredible kids (whose names all start with 'E') - Emmett, Eisley, Ender, Errol and Ephram. Some of my other interests include: music, reading fiction, Minnesota sports teams, playing board games, watching a great movie or TV show, cooking/eating good food, or escaping to the wilderness (BWCA).
|Ministry Initiatives & Next Gen—Pastor||Jill Foxemail@example.com||952.224.7480|
|Jill Fox is the Pastor of Ministry Initiatives and Development and Next Gen Ministries (Kid's Ministry, Students Ministry and College Ministry). At Bethel University she was a Communications major and minored in Biblical and Theological Studies and at Bethel Seminary she received an MA in Transformational Leadership. Prior to joining Westwood, Jill served as a Young Adults Pastor, Creative Arts Pastor, Volunteer Development Pastor, and The Gathering Service Pastor at Wooddale Church.|
She is passionate about developing the next generation of leaders for the church. In her free time, she enjoys boating, gardening, shoe shopping, running, and talking. She also enjoys being with her husband Paul and their two kids Grey and Thia Ruby.
|Minnetonka Campus Pastor||Mark Nelsonfirstname.lastname@example.org||952.224.7382|
|Mark has been at Westwood since 1995. He is a graduate of Bethel Seminar with a Master’s of Divinity with an emphasis in Biblical Greek. He loves the local church and understands that it is built by the Word of God and prayer. He knows that his job as a Campus Pastor is to help others find their calling, or vocation, in Christ. Mark and his wife Elizabeth live in Excelsior and have three grown children who are all serving in local church ministry in the greater Twin Cities.|
|Kate and her family attended Westwood’s first service in 1995. She’s a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Health and a Master of Arts Degree in Industrial Relations. She joined Westwood’s staff in 2011 and oversees Accounting, Communications, Facilities, Food Services and Human Resources. When not on campus, Kate can be found on the water or a tennis court; in the spring she’s deep in the forest hunting for morels. She and her husband Mark live in Shorewood and have two children, John and Lauren. |
|Outreach—Director of Missions||Chaz Nichols ||email@example.com||952.224.7464|
|In 2005 my family and I moved to Minnesota from Utah. Almost immediately we started attending Westwood. My first area of deeper commitment at Westwood was in the Outreach ministry – as a member of Westwood’s East Asia Team. I also led a men’s early morning Bible study for years.|
After 15 years in the high tech industry, working with many of the world’s largest tech companies on strategic alliance business initiatives, in 2013, I joined the Westwood staff as the Director of Outreach. And as God can only orchestrate, the job has aptly blended my skill sets of program management and global alliance building with the ministry skills I have been utilizing since my early days in college. I have the privilege to work with some wonderful local mercy ministries. It is also exciting to be working and ministering with key global partners as well – bringing sustainable development and spiritual change to parts of Africa, East Asia, and the Middle East.
I have been married for 25 years. My wife, Roberta, and I are a dual-coastal family – my having grown up in Boston and Roberta reared in Central California. Our sons Ben and Mark are conversant in both Bostonian and Californian coastal dialects and all of us enjoy any excuse to get to Boston or San Francisco.
When I am not in the office, I enjoy hanging out with my family, single-track mountain biking, skiing, sailing, and international adventure travel. But I also enjoy being quiet and spending time daily reading the Word.
A favorite verse of mine is Philippians 3:10: For my determined purpose is that I may know Him…that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly….
|Community Life–Pastor||Zac Bushfirstname.lastname@example.org||952.224.7481|
|I am a native Texan who moved up to Minnesota to play hockey in 2009. While working on my undergraduate degree at Bethel University majoring in Communication Studies, I met my wife Cassie. We were married in 2013 and shortly after moved to Dallas, so I could pursue a Master of Theology degree at Dallas Theological Seminary. During our time in Dallas, I worked as the Minister to College Students at Park Cities Baptist Church engaging and discipling students with the love of Jesus Christ at Southern Methodist University. I am excited to return to Westwood where Cassie and I previously served together in the Student Ministry from 2010-2013.|
I look forward to my role at Westwood working with small groups and young adults. I believe small groups are a vital and key components to life transformation and that the young adult demographic can provide a necessary spark to the next generation of leadership within the church. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with Cassie, watching movies and college football, reading good books, and drinking coffee. We also look forward to welcoming our first child, a son, in January 2017.
|Preschool Ministry—Director||Becky Steffensenemail@example.com||952.224.7452|
|I've been married to my husband, Corey, for 22 years and we have three wonderful kids...all teenagers! And we are proud parents of one crazy dog who seems to get into as much mischief as the teens do! I began attending Westwood when services were held at Chaska High School in 2001. I have been apart of the Preschool Ministry since February, 2010. |
|Student Ministry—Pastor||Dianne Cotten Dekoning ||firstname.lastname@example.org||952.224.7308|
|I joined Westwood’s pastoral staff in January of 2010 to give leadership to our middle school ministry. I love middle school students with their abundance of energy and intriguing questions about faith matters. I find myself outside when the weather is nice, walking the lakes, working out and gardening. We like to host friends for bonfires and dinner at our house, too. I grew up in Chicago, although I call Minnesota home now. Bethel University brought me here and I have stayed since graduating with a degree in Youth Ministry and a Masters degree in Organizational Leadership. What I enjoy most about students is watching their relationships mature, their faith in God grow and their love of Jesus make a difference in their lives. I live in Eden Prairie with my husband Andrew and son Jackson.|
|Student Ministry—Director Grades 6–8||Kevin Klingbielemail@example.com||952.224.7354|
|I began attending Westwood in the Fall of 2011. I love working with our middle school students! I have a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Crown College. My wife, Olivia, and I live in Chanhassen. I enjoy a good cup of coffee and college football.|
|Student Ministry—Pastor of Grade 9||Kari Maloneyfirstname.lastname@example.org||952.224.7302|
I have had the joy of being part of Westwood Community Church since September of 2013. As Pastor of Student Ministry, Grade 9, I have the privilege of leading the Upper Room Ministry and I love what I do! Ministering to students, seeing them grow to love Jesus more passionately and to stand on His Truth more solidly are a few things that I am very passionate about. I graduated from Bethel Seminary in the summer of 2013 with a degree in Bible/Theology and Transformational Leadership, and I love teaching the Truth of God and His Word to our 9th grade/Upper Room students. When I’m not at Westwood I love to be outside, spend quality time with my fiancé, play volleyball, hang out by water of any kind, run through sprinklers, go camping, eat cookie dough, watch the Vikings, and spend time with friends and family.
|Student Ministry—Pastor of Grades 10–12||Josh Milleremail@example.com||952.224.7364|
I joined Westwood’s pastoral staff in May of 2013 and give leadership to our high school ministry. I love working with high school students as this was the time when God revealed His love and joy to me. I enjoy walking with students through life while challenging them to make their faith personal. I graduated from Bethel University where I met my wife Kristen. We now live in Saint Paul. Since joining Westwood, we have felt incredibly welcomed and are glad to call Westwood our home!
When I am not at Westwood, I love visiting the family cabins, venturing to the many restaurants in our neighborhood, and being with friends. If you ever want to play some disc golf when the weather is nice, please let me know!
I joined the staff of Westwood in 2001, the week after 9-11! As Communications Director I enjoy the challenge of telling the story of what God is doing in and through the people of Westwood. The Communications teams (photography, writing, media, and technical ministry) do that through a variety of print and visual communication forms as well as reaching out to the community through advertising and this website and other digital communications.
I have a degree in Communications from the University of Minnesota and have lived in the state all my life except for a brief stint on the east coast.
I have three married children and three grandchildren, all a joy! My wife Colleen and I live in Chanhassen. In addition to participating in choir at Westwood, we are part of a non-profit Christian theater arts ministry in the Twin Cities.
|Worship Arts—Director of Worship Services||Tami Stordahlfirstname.lastname@example.org||952.224.7306|
|Dinner with friends, movies, biking, traveling, my nieces and nephews, and reading a book in a hammock by a lake are a few of my favorite things. Helping to start Westwood in 1995 and being part of our story as a church community is probably one of the most life-changing, exciting and humbling experiences of my life. I’ve had many roles over the years here at Westwood, including starting the Elements services. I have always loved developing experiences where people can fall more in love with Jesus, and now I get to work with a team that does that with our worship services. I grew up in Richfield, MN, graduated from Moody Bible Institute and currently live in Chanhassen.|
|Worship—Pastor of Creative Arts||Ben Rosenbushemail@example.com||952.224.7436|
|I’m a follower of Jesus, a husband, a worshiper, a singer/songwriter, and an artist with purpose. I love connecting with people and hearing people’s stories. In April 2014, I joined the Westwood team as the Creative Arts Pastor. Those of us in the Creative Arts ministry are storytellers, inviting all into the ongoing story of God. We’re passionate about shepherding others into a transformative connection with God as we give God our hearts in worship. I hope to see other artists raised up in our community to show us anew, lead us into, the beauty of God.|
My wife, Jacquilyn, and I live in Bloomington and have a wild beast named Taz. She paints and sculpts, I play music, and the dog rolls over, plays dead and howls super loud. If you’re an outdoors person, you may run into us all on the hiking trail or at a campsite, as we try to get out into the Minnesota woods as much as we can. I attended Belmont University where I graduated in 2005 with a degree in Commercial Music.
|Westwood Leadership Board|
|Scott Sturmfirstname.lastname@example.org ||952.826.9912|
|At Westwood since: 1995|
Family: Married to Cheryl, and has two children: Tyler (27) and Tasha (24)
Vocation: Owner of Federal Group, LLC
Other Westwood involvement: Worship Arts, Small Groups and the Open Hands Foundation Board.
Meaningful Bible teaching this year: I have been doing a deep dive into Hebrews. It has been a very rich time in terms of reinforcing the deserved elevation of Jesus, while providing insight into the theology of the early church.
How can the Church be praying: We have each had profound years in terms of our respective walks, so the prayers are deeply appreciated. Ongoing prayer for sanctification and God’s provision for all that comes our way.
|At Westwood since: 1995|
Family: Married to Heidi, and has five children
Vocation: Underwriting Officer at a Chicago-based insurance company
Other Westwood involvement: Has served at Special Families Respite Events, VBS, Boost and Small Groups.
Meaningful Bible teaching this year: One of the things that I learned this year was very early in 2016. I had to admit that the reason for fasting and prayer was not about what I gave up, but what I replaced it with to honor and glorify God. It gave me new perspective. I have also been reading in the Old Testament this year, and am amazed at how God worked through people for His purposes then as He does now.
How can the Church be praying: Families go through major growth changes when children are born. Pray for us now as we progress through launching our kids into their next life seasons. Also pray for wisdom in my vocational pursuits.
|At Westwood since: 2010|
Family: Married to Kelsey.
Vocation: Major Gift Fundraiser at Concordia University
Other Westwood involvement: Membership Team, Young Adults Team, Nominating Committee, High School Ministry
Meaningful Bible teaching this year: The idea of God’s unconditional love has been very powerful for me this past year. I am also clinging to passages that talk about trusting God with the future and trusting Him to provide. I appreciate the encouraging words in Philippians 4:12: “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.” God will always give me (and my family) what I need to live the life He has called me to. He satisfies our desires with good things, Psalm 103:5, and takes care of our needs. And ultimately when I can keep in perspective I already have all I need in Christ, the worry fades and the peace of God takes over.
How can the Church be praying: Guidance and discernment as my husband and I think about our careers and look forward to hopefully starting a family soon.
|At Westwood since: 2001|
Family: Married to Rob, and has three children: Sara, Adam and Matt.
Vocation: Attorney serving non-profits and mom/manager for her family
Other Westwood involvement: Small Groups, teaches "Launching Well," Membership Team.
Meaningful Bible teaching this year: During the past year, I studied the book of Revelation through Bible Study Fellowship. It was extremely impactful to learn more about the glory and beauty of our eternal home, heaven, and to see God’s judgment and grace displayed throughout the teachings.
How can the Church be praying: That each of us would continue to grow in our relationship with Jesus and that would play out in our love for others, our decisions, our careers. Pray for protection from Satan’s attacks, for our marriage to remain strong; for Sara and Adam that each would thrive spiritually, academically, physically and relationally at college–that God would do more than we can ask or imagine in each of their lives, for guidance for Matt as he chooses his college, for each of us as we apply recent teachings.
|Joann Hall Swenson|
|At Westwood since: 2004|
Family: Married to Steve and has two daughters: Leah and Chloe.
Vocation: Consultant with Aon Hewitt
Other Westwood involvement: Prison Ministry, Small Groups
Meaningful Bible teaching this year: With all of the unrest in our world, along with navigating the inevitable ups and downs of daily life, I’ve been digging into the Proverbs for practical wisdom. Here are a few that have really spoken to me this year. As we daily wait for Him and listen to him, He gives us life and favor. (8:33-35)
As we walk in humility and integrity, He gives us wisdom. (11:2-3)
And as we walk in holy trust instead of perpetually brainstorming our own plans, we experience His prevailing purpose. (19:21)
How can the Church be praying: Please pray that we love and give grace to each other in a way that reflects Jesus, and are alert to the Lord’s daily promptings to advance His Kingdom in small and significant ways.
|At Westwood since: 2014|
Family: Married to Laine, and has four daughters: Claire (27), Courtney (25), Catherine (24) and Camille (21).
Vocation: Chief Financial Officer at Recover Health Inc
Other Westwood involvement: Small Groups, Feed My Starving Children, Westwood World Vision Team
Meaningful Bible teaching this year: One day in July, I felt very moved in my spirit when reading through Psalm 27. Verses such as: “Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path...be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” It caused me to write down: listen to the Lord; hear His Word, be teachable, apply God’s Word, take action…combine action with faith… I was also impacted by Ephesians. 4:1…“live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”
How can the Church be praying: Pray for veterans and the people who take care of their medical and mental health issues. Pray that Laine and I, and our children would help make God look good in our vocational callings.
|At Westwood since: 1995|
Family: Married to LeeAnne, and has four children: Dana (30), Grant (27), Maddie (25) and Marit (22)
Vocation: Leads a contract manufacturing company
Other Westwood involvement: Facility Improvement Team
Meaningful Bible teaching this year: I enjoyed the challenges we discussed in the Work Life class we took on Tuesday nights this spring. We are called to live out our faith in our workplaces and be consistent in who we are as Christ followers wherever we are and with whomever we interact.
How can the Church be praying: We would like prayer as we make some decisions regarding aging parents and the challenges that brings. Also as I lead in my new job that God’s reputation would be enhanced and that I have wisdom in the process of building a new leadership team.
|At Westwood since: 2005|
Family: Married to Paige and has four children: Austin (22), Hannah (19), Logan (17) and Emma (10).
Vocation: Director of U.S. Recruiting at General Mills
Other Westwood involvement: Counting Team, Small Groups, Nominating Committe, Men’s Small Group, Children’s Ministry
Meaningful Bible teaching this year: I have personally benefited from an in-depth look at the Book of Proverbs with its wisdom for our lives and both Paige and I enjoyed being a part of The Art of Marriage study.
How can the Church be praying: I appreciate prayers for wisdom and discernment as I take on this new leadership role on Westwood’s Leadership Board.
|At Westwood since: 2000|
Family: Married to Janice and has two children: Alexandra and Riley
Vocation: Director of Operations for Millerbernd Manufacturing
Other Westwood involvement: Communion Ministry and Counting Teams
Meaningful Bible teaching this year: The men’s group I’m in is studying the book of Hebrews. It has been a very meaningful study in that it has reinforced in me the incredible sacrifice Jesus, our High Priest, has made in shedding His blood for me and how wonderful it is that He not only forgives me of my sins but also completely forgets them as well!
How can the Church be praying: For my children to have a growing relationship with God that is their own and for Janice and I to be wise in our guidance for them. For me specifically that I will serve Westwood through the Leadership Board with humility, wisdom and submission to God.