Annual Gathering Speakers

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Keynote Speakers

Kyle Fever
Pastor, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Kyle grew up in the Des Moines area. He has been married to Laura for 25 years, and they have four kids: Jaya, Tate, Jude, and Stella. Kyle holds a PhD in New Testament and Early Christian Origins from Loyola University in Chicago, and currently serves as a pastor in Adair, IA, as well as being the director of academic formation at the Master’s Institute. When he can, Kyle spends his time reading and writing about Scripture and spiritual theology. 

When not occupied with pastoral or academic things, he enjoys being with his wife and children. With his wife, he enjoys enjoys running, bike riding, rock climbing, making bread and coffee, and good dinners.  They are in the thick of navigating life with four kids and trying to notice the presence of the Risen Jesus every step of the way. Together they hope to live attentively to the ways that God is among us and be living witnesses to the life and hope of God made known to us through Jesus Christ, who is making all things new.

Stephen Witmer
Lead Pastor, Pepperell Christian Fellowship

Stephen Witmer (PhD, University of Cambridge) is the pastor of Pepperell Christian Fellowship in Pepperell, Massachusetts and an adjunct professor of New Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. A council member of The Gospel Coalition and the co-founder of Small Town Summits (an organization that serves rural churches and pastors), he writes regularly for Desiring God and is the author of Eternity Changes Everything (Good Book Company), A Big Gospel in Small Places (InterVarsity Press), and The Preacher’s Greek Companion to Hebrews (Hendrickson Academic). He and his wife, Emma, have three children.

Lexy Carson
Pastor, Salem and Sauk Valley Lutheran Churches 

Pastor Lexy Carson serves as a preacher for two rural congregations, Salem and Sauk Valley Lutheran Churches, in Osakis, Minnesota. Lexy attended Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota where she majored in Political Science. She received her M. Div. in 2021 through Luther House of Study - Kairos University. 

Her husband, Jesse, and their two young sons Mick and Milo love catching the small town sporting events and plays, gardening, kayaking, baking, chasing two cats around, shopping at Aldi, and exploring the beautiful countryside they call home. Her husband Jesse is also a pastor in Alexandria.

Paul Owens
Senior Pastor, St. Paul Lutheran Church

Paul has been married to the most beautiful woman in the world, Sandi, for 37 years. They have three adult children and two grandchildren. In addition to spending time with his beloved wife and family, he enjoys exercise, fly fishing and woodworking.

Paul has a B.A. from Kalamazoo College, an MDiv from Luther Seminary, and a Doctorate of Ministry from Sioux Falls Seminary and St. Paul Lutheran Seminary. His doctoral focus was on the proper distinction of God’s word as law and gospel, with a particular focus on marriage. He has served congregations in Michigan, Cameroon, and Texas. It is a wonderful, humbling calling to be a parish pastor.

David Christensen
Lead Pastor, Living Word Lutheran Church

Pastor David Christensen currently lives north of Marshall on the farm where his great-grandparents homesteaded. His wife, Julie, and their daughters, Johanna (married to Josh), Signe, Kaia, and Siri have a passion for ministry, music, and good food. They have a large garden that they tend alongside their organic farm and dairy operation. Life is good and delicious, because God is faithful!

David attended St. Olaf College, where he majored in English, and Luther Seminary, where he received his M.Div. in 1998. His first call was to Faith Lutheran Church in Hutchinson, MN as co-lead pastor. He served there until 2008 when he moved to Marshall, MN, as a campus pastor at Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU).

In 2010, a church plant started in Marshall. Living Word Lutheran Church would call David to full-time ministry that year. His role at Living Word includes preacher, teacher, and counselor. God has richly blessed and grown the ministry of Living Word over the years. As David often says, “When the Holy Spirit moves, all you can do is buckle-up and go for the ride!” And what an incredible journey it has been for David and his family! They have witnessed God’s power and love as Jesus is proclaimed and praised. To God be the glory!!

Erica Varcoe
Pastor and Church Planter, The Table Ministry

Erica Varcoe is the pastor of The Table Ministry in Sioux Falls, SD.  Erica's dream of doing ministry in a way that met people where they are + LCMC's Augustana District's 2020 Initiative = The Table Ministry, Sioux Falls, South Dakota's, first church in a bar.  Shenanigans Sports Bar plays home to the growing congregation. The ministry has tables full of children, youth, and families of all ages and all stages hearing the Gospel proclaimed into real life's messiness and their stories. The Table Ministry is a reminder of God's goodness coming for His people in the most unexpected places. God knowing no bounds.

Erica has been overwhelmed by the collegiality and support by the LCMC community from their mentorship and care. Congregations from all across the United States (and beyond!) cover The Table in prayers, generous gifts, and valued friendships.

Erica is married to Paul. They have three children who are being raised on Jesus and a LOT of sports bar food; Noah (17), Mollie (14), and Elias (8).



Paul Hennings
Lead Pastor, FaithLife Church

As lead pastor, Paul has the privilege of leading FaithLife (St. Mark's Lutheran Church) into the future of what God has in store for them.  It is an awesome Spirit-filled future!  He loves preaching, teaching, and hearing all the stories of how Jesus is at work in people's lives. Have a story to tell? He'd love to hear it!

Renae Behrends
Lead Pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church

Renae Behrends is the lead pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Spencer Iowa, the camp director at Ingham Okoboji Bible Camp, and she serves on the LCMC Board of Trustees. Renae also serves on the Grand Ave Community Outreach Board, is part of the Spencer Ministerial group, and the Northwest Iowa LCMC/NALC fellowship. 

Renae and her husband, Brian live in Wallingford, Iowa and they have 5 children; Andrea (who passed away when she was 11 years old), Emily (26), Caitlyn (22), Antawn 26, and Elle (23). 

Renae managed Walmart stores for almost 2 decades before she entered the ministry. Renae received her MDiv from Luther House of Study in Sioux Falls, SD. Renae has a passion for connecting with people of all ages and backgrounds.

Renae enjoys leading and encouraging others through God’s Word at women and young adult events. She also teaches Jesus to 80 kids that attend Trinity’s preschool and daycare. Renae loves to ride motorcycles, hunt, and watch God work at camp and in our communities.


Bible Study Leader

Gabrielle Arland
Student Pastor, Shepherd of the Valley Church

Gabrielle is the student pastor at Shepherd of the Valley Church in Afton Minnesota. She has a degree in Biblical Studies from Bethel University and a Masters of Divinity from Fuller Seminary. Gabrielle enjoys reading, hiking, making bread, and watching Big Ten college basketball.