Who’s Who at the Gathering 2019-03-11T13:32:11+00:00

Who’s Who at the Gathering

Youth can meet thousands of friends from across the world at the LCMS Youth Gathering. From the early morning hours to late evenings, Gathering emcees and Morning Session leaders will be your guide to the LCMS Youth Gathering. These leaders will help unpack the theme, Real. Present. God., and walk alongside participants as they learn to apply the psalms to their everyday life. Before you arrive in Minneapolis, connect with your emcees and Morning Session leaders!

Mass Event Emcees

Gathering emcees will be key faces during the event. They will lead us in discussions surrounding our Real. Present. God. Youth and adults will be able to connect and ask questions with emcees at Mass Events each night of the Gathering.

Rev. Jake Allstaedt

Jake serves as the pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Williston Park, NY (Long Island). He received his Master of Divinity degree from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, in 2011. Jake’s passion is exploring and proclaiming the depths of God’s overabundant grace for us in and through His Son, Jesus. His hobbies include playing guitar, drinking good coffee, eating White Castle sliders, and playing old school video games. Jake and his lovely wife, Christina, have one adorable little son named Roman. Twitter: @jakeallstaedt Instagram: @jakeallstaedt

Emilie Stooksbury

Emilie has lived in Michigan and Houston, graduated from Concordia University Texas in Austin (whoosh!) and currently serves as the Worship and Communications Director at The Point Church in Knoxville, TN. She is a big fan of strong coffee, well-placed puns, her brand new husband, and the enneagram (she’s a 7.) But Jesus is even better than all that. Connect with Emilie throughout the Gathering via Instagram: @emstooks.

A.J. Vega

A.J. serves as the Director of Christian Education at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Memphis, TN. He is involved in leading Middle School, High School, and College-aged Ministry there. Originally from New York, A.J. is, unfortunately, a NY Jets fan.  A.J. is married to his beloved bride, Krissy Vega, and have been married for 2 and a half years. A.J. once ate 37 chicken wings in a row back in high school.  Connect with A.J. throughout the Gathering by following A.J. on Twitter and Instagram @thebossajv.

Morning Session Leaders

The best way to start days at the Gathering is Morning Sessions. Gathering Morning Session leaders will guide youth through the book of Psalms. Youth will have the opportunity each day to dive deeper into God’s Word and discover how the psalms are relatable to their lives.

Rev. Andy Audette

Andy lives in Saint Paul, MN with his wife, Katy, and their four children. He has served for four years in Saint Paul as church planting pastor of Remedy Lutheran Church. Andy is always looking for a better cup of fresh roasted pour over coffee, while talking about the finer points of Disney movies with his kids (or anyone that will listen). He also enjoys watching and playing hockey and soccer.

Rev. Gerard Bolling

Gerard was born and raised in New York City (Brooklyn!!! Stand up!!!) and currently serves as Associate Pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in St. Louis, MO. Gerard is passionate about Urban/Deaf ministry, and treasures the dynamic programming Bethlehem does to reach people in rough urban areas including Ferguson, MO through the “More Greater Things Program.” Gerard has a beautiful wife of 5 years, Lorenda, and two super cute kids, Lincoln (2) and Monroe (9 months—and she’s a girl folks). Gerard’s secret talents include (but are not limited to) speaking American Sign Language, super shady facial expressions, and falling asleep super-fast.

Rev. Scott Giger

Scott is one of the pastors of Cornerstone Lutheran Church in central IN. Married to Kate for almost 20 years, they have three children: Emma, Andrew and Micah. Scott is originally from Lakeville, MA and is a huge Red Sox fan. He can’t do any of the Fortnite dances, has never performed at the IHeartMusic Festival and once fell asleep in his high school physics class.

Chad Janetzke

Chad is a Theology teacher and baseball coach at Martin Luther High School near Milwaukee, WI.  He met his wife Erin at the 2001 Gathering and they’ve been hanging out ever since. Chad is trying to be the father his three daughters need and deserve…or at least aren’t totally embarrassed by. Special skills are poorly playing guitar, reciting every line from the movie “Hoosiers” and ‘hiding’ for an entire round of Fortnite. Bucket list items include visiting the Pacific Northwest and attending a Detroit Tigers-Milwaukee Brewers World Series.

Rev. Gabe Kasper

Gabe is the pastor at University Lutheran Chapel at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Prior to his current role, he spent 5 years as a church planter in Austin, Texas. His passion for preaching and teaching has led him to speak at camps, churches, youth events, universities, and conferences. He is a graduate of Concordia University Wisconsin, and has an M.Div. from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Mo. He is currently pursuing an MA in Philosophy at Eastern Michigan University. His writing has appeared in Lutheran Mission Matters and Sword and Swan Media House. In his spare time, Gabe enjoys soccer, CrossFit, reading books and listening to punk rock. He and his wife Melissa have 3 great kids.

Rehema Kavugha

Rehema is the Director of Student Development at Concordia University Nebraska.  Originally from Houston, TX, she has lived in Seward for the last 6 years and loves the Good Life of Nebraska.  Her name is unique because her family is from Tanzania in East Africa and she speaks Swahili!  Besides working, she loves watching sports (especially The Houston Texans & Rockets), The Golden Girls and WWE.  She gets to do all of this with her trusty companion, Skittles, who is a 12 year old Belgium shepherd/greyhound dog that she rescued in New Orleans.

Rev. Dr. Mark Moreno

Mark is senior pastor at Family of Christ Lutheran in Colorado Springs.  Married to Raquel for 23 years, they have three children: Ethan, Elise and Elijah. Mark is also a Navy chaplain and has served with Marines and Coast Guard as well for 17 years and counting. His brain is filled with useless facts about baseball (Go CUBS!), 80s & 90s music and all things Star Wars. He is a geek, but Jesus died for Him and loves him very much.

Sarah Salzberg

Sarah lives in Los Angeles, CA with her husband (Josh), son (Hosea) and daughter (Simone), traveling from one coffee shop to another trying as many cappuccinos and croissants as she can. When not hopped up on espresso, Sarah teaches Old Testament at Orange Lutheran High School in Orange County, CA. As mundane as it sounds, she’s living the dream!

Shelly Schwalm

Shelly lives just across the river in St. Paul, MN! She is University Ministry Associate at Concordia University (CSP), which means she drinks a lot of coffee with college students and reminds them who God says they are. Raised in Kansas, Shelly grew to love the city during her time in college at CSP. Shelly is a musician, writer, and proud auntie who loves hitting a trail or a lake (when it’s not frozen) and playing Bingo with friends.

Micah Steiner

Micah serves as the Director of Missional Living at Our Father Lutheran Church in Centennial, CO. An 18-year youth ministry veteran, he has served as a DCE and is currently preparing to become a pastor. He is married to Amanda and the father of Madison and Joshua. He is also an avid fan of the Denver Broncos. Micah enjoys backpacking, spending time with family, and speaking to students across the country as part of Unpaved Ministries.