My Westwood

mini-logo Leadership Team
Westwood Leadership Staff
Senior PastorJoel Johnsonjoel.johnson@westwoodcc.org952.224.7314
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.
Executive PastorScott Sturmsturm_scott@yahoo.com 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.
Adult Ministries—PastorBrian Suterbrian.suter@westwoodcc.org952.224.7340

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.

Adult Ministry Initiatives—PastorDianne Cotten Dekoning dianne.dekoning@westwoodcc.org952.224.7308
I joined Westwood’s pastoral staff in January of 2010.  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. 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 live in Eden Prairie with my husband Andrew and 2 sons.
Community Care—PastorDave Trautmanndave.trautmann@westwoodcc.org952.224.7304
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.
Community Life–PastorZac Bushzac.bush@westwoodcc.org952.224.7481
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.
Connection—DirectorMonica Heldmonica.held@westwoodcc.org952.224.7350
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.
Kids Ministry—PastorJon Dittyjon.ditty@westwoodcc.org952.224.7338
In February of 2017 I joined the Westwood Staff. I come to Westwood with 15 years of Family and Youth Ministry experience. As the Kids Pastor I get to lead the Kids Team and together we have the fantastic opportunity to help connect church and home. This simply means, we work hard to create an awesome environment for kids to grow in their relationship with Jesus and to resource parents, so they can confidently lead their kids in spiritual growth in the home. Along the way we get to do some really fun events, help kids build true community, and help parents connect with one another.

When not at Westwood you will find me at home with my wife Tracie and our three kids: Grace, Elise, and William. I can't wait to meet you and your family.

Ministry Initiatives & Next Gen—PastorJill Foxjill.fox@westwoodcc.org952.224.7480
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 PastorMark Nelsonmark.nelson@westwoodcc.org952.224.7382
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.
Operations—DirectorKate Peabodykate.peabody@westwoodcc.org952.224.7376
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 MissionsChaz Nichols chaz.nichols@westwoodcc.org952.224.7464
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….

Preschool Ministry—DirectorBecky Steffensenbecky.steffensen@westwoodpreschool.org952.224.7452
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—Director Grades 6–8Kevin Klingbielkevin.klingbiel@westwoodcc.org952.224.7354
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 9Kari Maloneykari.maloney@westwoodcc.org952.224.7302

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 husband, 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 10–12Josh Millerjosh.miller@westwoodcc.org952.224.7364
I joined Westwood’s pastoral staff in May of 2013 to 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 live in south Minneapolis with our daughter Maddie. Since joining Westwood, we have felt incredibly welcomed and are glad to call Westwood our home.
 
Technology—DirectorTim Remingtontim.remington@westwoodcc.org952.224.7360
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 ServicesTami Stordahltami.stordahl@westwoodcc.org952.224.7306
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 ArtsBen Rosenbushben.rosenbush@westwoodcc.org952.224.7436
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
Leadership Board ChairmanTom Johnson952.474.1219

At Westwood since: 1995 

Family: Married to Jackie; son Cooper, daughter and son-in-law, Ellie and Nelson Hunstad

Vocation: Vice-President of Operations for Viking Client Services 

Other Westwood involvement: Financial Resource Team, Financial Peace University, couples’ Bible study and a Scripture memory group

Meaningful Bible teaching this year: Joel’s teaching in the Overwhelmed series, specifically when Moses was being called to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses’ response to God was full of excuses but God had all the answers: Moses said, “I’m not a good speaker.” God said, “I will be with your mouth and teach you what you should speak.”

Hobbies: I enjoy water skiing, golfing and, most importantly, spending time with my wife.

What component of the 10-year multiplication vision speaks to you? I am all about listening to God and then acting upon what he is doing in our midst. As we grow and engage more people that can utilize the gifts and abilities God has placed in them, the body of Christ, the church, becomes stronger and healthier thereby reaching more people with the love of Jesus Christ.

Cindy Alness

At Westwood since: 2004

Family: Married to Richard; 6 adult children, 3 son-in-laws, 2 daughter-in-laws and 12 grandchildren

Vocation: Registered nurse/clinical coordinator at SummerWood Assisted Living 

Other Westwood involvement: Medical Support Team, Missionary Care Team and Worship Arts

Meaningful Bible teaching this year: Pastor Joel's series Ride the Wave and encouragement to raise the risk. During the series, the challenge to take a stance of mercy in all things has helped me to look at situations in my life differently and has encouraged me to trust God in new ways.

Hobbies: I like to garden, read, knit, quilt, and spend time with our grandchildren.

What component of the 10-year multiplication vision speaks to you? The vision of being a sending/releasing church vs. a finding/keeping church really speaks to me. I am excited to see how God will use me and others as we are able to say to him, “Lord I am willing, show me what you want me to do and send me where you want me to go!

Bruce Anderson

At Westwood since: 1995

Family: Married to Heidi; three daughters, two sons

Vocation: Leads a team of underwriters for CWG

Other Westwood involvement: Student Ministry, Special Families, Wellspring and Nominating Committee

Meaningful Bible teaching this year: I was reminded of God’s faithfulness while reading about how he brought the Israelites out of Egypt. They experienced adversity, but God was faithful to them each day. In the same way, when I lost my job last year, God was faithful to guide me to a new job where I can now serve him in a new community.   

Hobbies: I really like being with people in different settings and learning something new. Many Sundays I can be found in the cafe connecting with friends. I enjoy participating in and watching sports.

What component of the 10-year multiplication vision speaks to you? I am challenged by the call to reach here, near and far while caring for those currently involved in our church. Although the Leadership Board sets a vision, we continue looking to God to lead our path forward. 

Joe Christenson

At Westwood since: 2014

Family: Married to Laine; four daughters and two son-in-laws

Vocation: Chief Financial Officer at Recover Health Inc

Other Westwood involvement: Counting Team and two Leadership Board planning committees

Meaningful Bible teaching this year: I have recently been inspired by Paul’s letter to the Colossians. It is filled with golden nuggets of inspiration regarding how we can more fully live out our faith individually and as a congregation.

Hobbies: I like to travel, read, run, visit our cottage in Michigan and spend time with our four kids across the country.

What component of the 10-year multiplication vision speaks to you? Multiplication is so much more than just numbers and buildings. Paul asks the Colossian believers to pray for him so “that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ.” Multiplication is a pathway forward for us to live out and share our faith in Christ.

Tim Kitilla

At Westwood since: 2013

Family: Married to Erin; kids Alice (6), Ben (4) and Caroline (2)

Vocation: Business Unit Director at Parallel Technologies 

Other Westwood involvement: Small Group Leadership Team, small group leader, Kids Ministry and Welcome Center volunteer

Meaningful Bible teaching this year: Overwhelmed spoke directly to my family. I felt that series helped us overcome our fears, inadequacies and anxiousness, especially in the light of the bombarding news of world events. We have eliminated a lot of the noise in our lives by limiting technology.  

Hobbies: Movie/pizza nights, soccer, landscaping and spending time with Erin. 

What component of the 10-year multiplication vision speaks to you? We need to increase engagement by the greater body of attenders. If we are to be successful, we have to increase this engagement, find new leaders, and get people more and more connected with the Westwood community.

Annalisa Mattison

At Westwood since: 2015

Family: Married to Kelsey

Vocation: Major Gift Fundraiser at Concordia University

Other Westwood involvement: Membership Team 

Meaningful Bible teaching this year: This has been a season of waiting. I’ve focused on stories of those who had to wait on God for various things; Abraham waiting for a son, Joseph waiting to be delivered from enslavement and prison, Hannah waiting for a baby, David waiting to be King... My favorite verse is Isaiah 49:23b “Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.” 

Hobbies: Spending time on the lake, trying a new recipe, taking our big, fluffy English Goldendoodle for walks, and traveling with family and friends.

What component of the 10-year multiplication vision speaks to you? I am inspired by how empowering it is. God has called us to go and make disciples. This is an incredible way we can help people discover their gifts, and how God wants to work through them to bless people in communities all over. The harvest is plentiful!

Beth Reiskytl

At Westwood since: 2001

Family: Married to Rob; three adult children: Sara, Adam and Matt

Vocation: Corporate and non-profit attorney 

Other Westwood involvement: Small group leader and Launching Well. 

Meaningful Bible teaching this year: Studying the book of John through Bible Study Fellowship this past year was an impactful reminder of why Jesus came to this earth, so that we would know and receive his saving grace and experience the abundant life he offers through a relationship
with him.

Hobbies: I love to spend time with Rob, our family, extended family and friends, and I enjoy reading, exercising, and traveling. 

What component of the 10-year multiplication vision speaks to you? I am motivated personally and as a member of the Leadership Board by the power of disciples equipping and building other disciples through relationships and by accepting, reaching out, and loving in tangible ways, and by the ultimate impact that can have on our homes and communities.

Joann Hall Swenson

At Westwood since: 2004

Family: Married to Steve; two daughters, Leah and Chloe

Vocation: Consultant with Aon Hewitt

Other Westwood involvement: Worship Team with Prison Ministry and a small group

Meaningful Bible teaching this year: I’m slowly rereading and journaling through the book of Nehemiah to soak in the insights around vision, calling, leadership, tenacity and more. This time is reminding me to always pray before acting and daily choose to rely on God and press forward in the midst of life’s joys and challenges. 

Hobbies: Guiding our daughters into young adulthood, having friends over for dinner, running and biking on the Dakota Trail, getting to know complete strangers when I travel, reading from my tall pile of unread books, and drinking any kind of tea.

What component of the 10-year multiplication vision speaks to you? I love that we have a vision for reaching more people for Christ in our community. In a wonderfully unnerving sort of way, I also love that it shakes me out of my comfort zone and takes genuine faith.

Scott Swayne

At Westwood since: 2005

Family: Married to Paige;  four children: Austin (23), Hannah (20), Logan (18) and Emma (11)

Vocation: I am the director, U.S. recruiting at General Mills

Other Westwood involvement: Counting Team, couples small group

Meaningful Bible teaching this year: I am re-reading the four Gospels of the New Testament and studying the life of Christ from four different viewpoints.

Hobbies: I like to have fun with my family, read, travel to new places, and cheer on my Chicago Cubs! 

What component of the 10-year
multiplication vision speaks to you? 

I'm excited about our vision of multiplication as Westwood develops, deploys, equips, and sends leaders to new sites that reproduce themselves.

Steve Vreeman

At Westwood since: 2000

Family: Married to Janice; daughter Alexandra, and son Riley

Vocation:  Director of Sustainability and Resource Optimization for Ecova

Other Westwood involvement: Communion Ministry, Counting Team and the Finance Committee. 

Meaningful Bible teaching this year: The men’s group I’m in has just wrapped up studying God’s love for us as shown through the Ten Commandments. It has impacted me in that God’s character is shown through each one of the commandments, and he calls each of us to pursue a life that reflects his character.

Hobbies: I greatly enjoy travel where I can be active in hiking and skiing. Closer to home I enjoy golfing, boating, and spending time with my family.

What component of the 10-year multiplication vision speaks to you? I really resonate with the vision to develop disciples and leaders in our core ministry areas and then release them to lead and serve in a multisite environment.