With a vision for multiplying disciplemaking congregations among all people, our team delights in serving Midwest District churches in discovering and pursuing their vision and to be better together.
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All People Ministries (multiply ethnically)
I moved to Wichita KS from Juarez, Mexico in October 2000, my father Flavio Gonzalez was going to plant Genesis EFC, the church I am now pastoring. Soon after the move I met Holly Hesselbarth, we were married October 2002. God has shaped and blessed our lives. We have 4 kids and enjoy working together in ministry. Throughout my live in the United States I've served our church, the MWD, and the EFCA National Office volunteering in different positions. Recently I had the opportunity to be on staff at the District, and I feel blessed. God brought me to this great country, and has raised me as his servant in the MWD. I love our denomination and will continue doing my best to support and help it. I will continue ministering and winning souls until I can't do it any longer, God called me to touch lives with the gospel of Jesus Christ and that's what I will do until the Lord calls me home. My commitment to continue ministering is resolute.
Credentialing (multiply missionally)
Phil is married to Sandra Green and together they have three married children and three grandchildren. He has been a church planter (Midland, MI; Ellsworth, KS; Oskaloosa, KS) and pastor (Washington Island, WI; Lyons, KS) in the Evangelical Free Church of America since January, 1986, committed to equipping people to follow Jesus so that they know Him personally, grow in their relationship with Him, and serve Him as He has gifted them to serve. Phil also enjoys teaching online Bible, philosophy, and ministry courses part-time for Tabor College Wichita and is a graduate of the Moody Bible Institute (Diploma, 1979), Wheaton College (B.A. in History, 1981) and Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M., 1985; D.Min., 2001).
Regional & Global Initiatives (multiply strategically)
Pastor Kerry Relihan served as Senior Pastor at Stromsburg EFC for over 28 years. He and his wife, Joanne, have four boys, and twin granddaughters and one grandson who reside in the Dominican Republic. Kerry has served in helping with MWD church plants, ministry in New Orleans, international church planting in Tatarstan Russia, gypsy ministry in Peny Russia, teaching at Trinity Video Seminary, outreach among the Sea Tribes People, and refugee ministry in Athens Greece. He also served on the International Missions Board of the EFCA for 6 years. He has encouraged ministry at Timberlake Ranch Camp and the Columbus and Living Water Rescue Missions. All of this is because of the mobilization of the local church. He recently was called to work as Missions Catalyst for the Midwest District of the EFCA. With this rich and varied experience in ministry beyond the local church, Kerry is motivated to help MWD churches strengthen and grow their impact, either each alone or (even better) churches working together.
Multiplication (multiply congregationally)
Mike is married to Traci. They have five children ranging in age from 11-19 with one in heaven. They love camping, exploring the outdoors, and serving the Lord together. He has been a EFCA church planter in Spearfish, SD (2001-2004) and Litchfield, MN (2005-2015), and the pastor of Evangelical Free Church in Oakland, Nebraska since 2015. Mike has always had a passion to see the gospel preached, disciples multiplied, and have healthy churches planted. He served a term on the Midwest District Board from 2017-2020. He started serving on staff at the Midwest District in 2020 as the Director of Church Planting. He is excited to encourage, support, and work with planters and churches to help them multiply disciples and start new churches.
NextGen Ministries (multiply generationally)
Lige grew up in the center of Omaha, NE before moving to the small town of Minden in the spring of 2000. He started his ministry career serving as a volunteer huddle leader for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, where he discovered his gifting and love for helping students understand who God is through the story of the Bible. In July of 2010, Lige came on staff as Pastor of Family Ministries at the Minden Evangelical Free Church. Over his years of serving that love for teaching students has grown into a passion for raising up children, students, and parents that would be disciple-makers in the everyday activities of life. Lige came on staff with the Midwest District in the spring of 2017 and continues to help expand NextGen ministries across the district through consulting, coaching, and caring for Next Gen. workers. He has been married to the love of his youth, Dusty, for over 20 years, and together they have five beautiful children with their oldest currently attending college. When he is not in the office or traveling around to network gatherings you will find Lige in the local wrestling room coaching kids from pre-school through high school in the best sport in the world, wrestling.
Worship Arts (multiply Christ-centered worship)
Ways I can support you and your ministry:
Superintendent (multiply ecclesiastically)
Colby and his wife Lynne met at the Missouri University of Science and Technology as computer science majors, and wed in 1989. They both worked in the software industry in Austin, Rome, Italy, and Seattle. They have no children, but serve as host parents to Bertha, who is from Kenya. Colby entered seminary at Talbot School of Theology in 1999, where he completed an M.Div., and in 2011 he completed a D.Min. at Dallas Theological Seminary. Before stepping into the role of District Superintendent, Colby served for 20 years as pastor with churches in Southern California, Middle Georgia, and most recently in Kansas City. Lynne loves to serve the church in adult ministries and in worship media. Colby served on the board of Hungry4Him Ministries, has taught several times at the Ahero Evangelical School of Theology in Western Kenya, and is now active on a couple of boards that focus on the underserved. He enjoys cycling and studying Italian, while Lynne enjoys inventing Italian style dishes and caring for their aging parents. Psalm 51:6 (“Behold, you delight in truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden parts you make me to know wisdom”) compels Colby to draw people to the Truth that God desires to transform us with.
Office Staff (multiply organizationally)
Cindy attended Trinity College, Deerfield, IL and the University of Nebraska, Lincoln before moving to California with a career in retail. Going back to school she changed careers to administrative assistant and started working in the aerospace and medical industries before becoming a stay at home mom for 11 years. Cindy, her husband Greg and their two children moved to Nebraska in 1998 near her hometown of Axtell, NE. Her husband has been working in the retail industry for over 36 years. Their son moved back to California to attend college and is now a Surgical Technician at a hospital in downtown Los Angeles and was recently married. Their daughter moved to Omaha, NE to attend school and is now working at the college she graduated from as a lab technician using her passion and skills in photography to teach and assist students.
Donna grew up in New Jersey and her husband Craig in Minnesota. They met in Chicago and were married in 1988. They have two married children, living in Portland, OR and Bellevue, NE, and a son who is attending Dallas Seminary. Craig is a TEDS graduate and has pastored EFCA churches since 1989 (Monroe, WI, Morristown, NJ, and currently, Wilcox, NE). Donna greatly enjoys working with kids and has been a children's ministries leader in all three churches. She homeschooled her children for ten years and has worked many years in the public schools as a paraprofessional and substitute teacher. Donna has a BA in sociology from Trinity College, Deerfield, IL and teacher certification in math and Spanish from the University of Nebraska Kearney.