Dan Warnes is our Lead Pastor of Vision and Leadership. "First Lutheran is a dynamic, gospel-centered, community. We're serious about sharing the love and care of Jesus out in the world. I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve here!" Pastor Dan also has passions for restoring old VWs, NASCAR, rodeos, bicycling and boating on Nebraska's lakes and rivers. He and his lovely wife, Marianne, have three grown children and two grandsons named, Gus and Knut.
Pastor Justin now calls First Lutheran and Lincoln home after returning to the US from seven years serving in South America as an ELCA missionary with his wife, Kari, and their son, Everette. "I'm so excited to be here. I can't stand it! This is a new chapter in our lives as a family where we're focusing on re-booting and re-rooting. God has indeed blessed us to be a blessing to others." Pastor Justin looks forward to accompanying First in the new initiatives and adventures on the horizon. He is fluent in Spanish, loves to travel, and enjoys cooking, canoeing, hiking, doing art (mixed media) and attending drag races and monster truck rallies.
Pastor Marsha Anderson
Marsha Anderson began her ministry as Visitation Pastor at First Lutheran in May, 2012. Previously, she served congregations in Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska City, Nebraska, until she retired in December, 2010. She attended Californial Lutheran University, University of California in Santa Barbara, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley and was ordained on July 15, 1983. She is single, has 2 brothers, many nieces and nephews, 4 god-children and 2 cats, Barney and KoKo. She loves getting together with friends and family, reading (mysteries, romances, and spirituality), playing Scrabble and Dominoes and doing counted cross-stitch. She is a certified Spiritual Director with background in the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory and the Enneagram. She loves making connections with people and helping people connect with what is important to them, especially their journey with God.
Jean is a senior at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, having just completed her last course. She lives in Omaha with her husband, Mitch, and their daughter, Maddie. Jean enjoys crafting, particularly with paper, metal, and beads. She is excited for this chapter of her journey toward ordination and is grateful to have this internship year at First Lutheran.
Director of Worship and Music
Bonita Johnsen, our faithful, gifted and beloved Director of Worship and Music for the past 30+ years, is retiring this June. We are grateful for her ministry with us. Her last Sunday with us as Director of Worship and Music will be Pentecost Sunday, June 4. Join us as we celebrate the gift of God's Holy Spirit and the gifts of St. Bonita!
Director of Discipleship
Learning, serving and praying are the primary focus of Sunni's call at First Lutheran. Sunni likes helping others discover their potential and use their talents. She is known for stretching people out of their usual comfortable places so they can experience new life. On the personal side of things, Sunni, and the two dogs, Koda and Lizy, share the house and sometimes they even share a corner of the bed. She enjoys photography, networking and training opportunities, good times with friends and family and spending time on any body of water. Sunni is a rostered Associate in Ministry in the ELCA.
Director of Youth and Family Ministries
As the Director of Youth and Family Ministries, Heidi is responsible for coordinating ministries involving children, youth and their families. With a firm belief that faith is a part of everyday living, Heidi is eager to connect with parents and support them in their role as primary faith-formers for their children. Knowing that faith is strongest when it takes root in the home, Heidi enjoys working with families to develop ways of practicing faith whenever and wherever they gather. At church, Heidi has the privilege of coordinating FaithTrek and Sunday School ministries, Confirmation, Vacation Bible School, youth groups, Milestones, and summer trips to camp and for mission/service work. When not at church, Heidi spends time with her daughter, Violet, and their dog Jalina. Together, they are a tight family of girls who enjoy the outdoors, listening to music, singing and dancing, laughing, playing games or simply snuggling and enjoying time together.
A member of First Lutheran Church since 1988, Kathleen became the part-time Communications Coordinator in November of 2015. "First Lutheran Church is so rich in ministry with many faith-filled stories to be told and shared with the First Lutheran and larger community. I am blessed to have the opportunity to share the good works of First Lutheran Church!" Kathleen has been an active volunteer at First Lutheran in many capacities over the years. Her two adult children, Christopher and Rebecca, were baptized, raised and are also active members of First Lutheran. Outside of church, Kathleen has her own consulting, training and coaching business. She has traveled to all 50 states and 4 other countries for her work. In her spare time, she enjoys videography, cooking, outdoor yardwork and watching the Kansas City Royals!
Cyndi Crouse joined the First Lutheran Church staff in December 2016. Her responsibilities include maintaining church and offering records, coordinating the calendar and answering lots of phonecalls and questions. Cyndi and her husband, Gary, have 2 grown children and 4 grandchildren. In her spare time, she likes to visit with family and friends, hike, tour museums, art galleries, and zoos and enjoys the time she spends with her grandchildren.
Bryan is a long-time member and also church accountant for First Lutheran. Bryan recently retired and now works in the church office on Monday (all day) and Tuesday mornings. His wife, Sandy, works for Lincoln Public Schools at MeadowLane elementary school. They have two children who live in Lincoln and Omaha and one grandson. Bryan enjoys exercising, golf and working in the yard in his spare time.
As Building Superintendent, Blaz works with church members and staff to maintain the building and grounds, set up for events, improve building safety, and coordinate with contractors.