Salem Lutheran Church

Staff

Dave Whetter

Senior Pastor

Pastor Dave has been serving at Salem Lutheran Church since October 2009. He graduated in 1981 from the University of the Pacific with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. He then spent the following 20 years in a successful business career in which he literally traveled all over the world. In the fall of 2001, he “retired” from his business career and entered seminary at St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, until he could move to Chicago to attend Luther School of Theology. Dave’s first call was as the Associate Pastor at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Overland Park, Kansas. Dave and his wife, Jill, have three grown children and two grandchildren. They love spending time with their family; however, they also love being empty nesters. In their free time, Dave and Jill love to spoil their grandchildren, travel, and cook gourmet meals at home together.

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Heather Lewis

Director of Worship and Music

Heather Lewis has been the Director of Music and Worship at Salem since 2010, and was the song leader and pianist at a Saturday evening worship service 2004-2009. Heather has a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State in choral music education and a master’s degree from University of Maryland in piano performance, and teaches piano lessons in her home. She lives in Olathe with her husband Brad and three children, Casey, Brandon and Faith. Heather directs the adult choir, and coordinates and leads music in all services. She also directs children's musicals and Christmas programs every year. Salem’s music is enthusiastically offered in worship by all ages, and welcomes all levels of experience.

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Meghan Harmison

Director of Adult Ministries and Outreach

Meghan Harmison has been a member at Salem Lutheran Church since 1997. Meghan grew up at Salem and has been active in ministries since beginning to attend with her family in Elementary School. Meghan received her Bachelor’s degree in Human Communications from Bethel University in St. Paul, MN in 2008 and later received her Master’s degree in Counseling from MidAmerica Nazarene University in 2012. Meghan felt a strong call to work in ministry and accepted the position as Director of Adult Ministries and Outreach in April 2015. Meghan is passionate about creating opportunities for adults to be spiritually fed and engage in relationship and fellowship with congregation members and the community. Meghan lives in Lenexa and loves to spend time with her friends and family. In her free time she loves to sing, be outside, read, cook delicious food and generally be a social butterfly. Meghan enjoys getting to know others and their stories and helping others share their stories.

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John Holt

Director of Youth Ministry and Communications

John has served multiple ministry contexts over the past 17 years. John began his career in the social work field at which time he also began a part time youth ministry position on the East side of Saint Paul, Minnesota. Soon this part time ministry position became a full time youth outreach ministry. John saw the need for urban congregations to work together and co-created VIBE Urban Youth Ministries a twelve congregations collaborative. In 2007 John sought a new challenge and accepted the Director of Youth Ministries position at Advent Lutheran Church in Olathe, KS. In 2009 he co-created the Kansas City Lutheran Youth Coalition (KCLYC) a youth ministry collaboration in South Johnson County. John is passionate about creating opportunities for young people to build relationships, serve others, and grow in their faith. John lives in Olathe with wife Kari and daughter Maren. He loves sports (especially hockey), music, and playing guitar. In their free time John, Kari, and Maren love traveling and spending time with family.

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Kathy Kostroske

Office Administrator

I and my family have been members at Salem since August of 1999 and I have served as Salem’s Office Administrator since October of 2007. I first got involved at Salem as a Sunday school teacher; now I participate in the Sisters Book Club and Craft Circle and help out where I can. A graduate from Kearney State College with a Computer Science & Business degree, I spent 18 years as a computer programmer at AT&T. It is there I met and later married Mike in 1987. We have 3 boys scattered across Kansas colleges at K-State, KU and Pittsburgh State. In my spare time I enjoy reading, crocheting and decorative painting; it’s exciting to see projects evolve from an idea. My vision of growth for Salem is to offer a variety of support groups to both members and the community. Borrowing a piece from ‘Christ in Our Home’: In this way we water and feed the community, helping it prosper.

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Shari Van Baale

Communications Coordinator

Shari started as Communications Coordinator at Salem in early 2017. She has also worked at a Methodist church since 2010 doing a similar position. She has a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Iowa. Originally from the Chicago area, she has lived in the Kansas City area since 2010. Her hobbies include reading, hiking, walking, and enjoying nature with her family. She lives in Olathe with her husband and two school-age children.

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Pat Olinger

Nursery Coordinator

Seven years ago I was working full time for a small advertising agency and had a part time job as a leasing agent for an apartment complex. I was laid off from my part time job and began looking for a new one. That's when I interviewed for the nursery job at Salem and was hired. About 8 months later, I was laid off from my full time job. Through contacts at Salem I found a new job as a cook at a preschool. So from two terrible experiences, I found a job I love in the nursery plus a job as a cook around lots of little kids and a new church family that I also love. I would say that God led me exactly where He wanted me to be. I'm thankful that I was open to all opportunities that came along instead of only looking at office jobs because I've been blessed beyond belief. I have three grown children; two daughters and a son. I also have seven grandchildren as well as two almost step-grandchildren. I love spending time with my family and friends. I rarely turn down an opportunity to have fun with any of them. I'm involved in many different ministries at Salem; the Fellowship Committee, Children's Ministry, Design Team, Oasis, Table for Eight, Visitation Committee, Fellowship of the Vine and try to attend most of the other fun activities that happen at Salem.

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