Bishop Scott Alan Johnson

Bishop

Bio
The Rev. Scott Alan Johnson was born and raised on a family farm near Wakefield, NE. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Classics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Master of Divinity degree from Luther Seminary. Prior to being elected bishop of the Nebraska Synod in 2022, he served as pastor of Peace Lutheran Church in Barrett, MN, as campus pastor of the University Lutheran Center at Iowa State University in Ames, IA, as pastor of St. Petri Lutheran Church in Story City, IA, and as Director of Campus Ministries at Midland University in Fremont, NE. Scott and his wife Kristin are the proud parents of two daughters, and they live in Fremont, NE.

Synod Staff

Gretchen Ahrens

Director for Youth & Justice Ministries

Bio
Gretchen has many years of experience in both youth and justice ministry. Most recently she has served as the Program Director at Lutheranch in Tallapoosa, Georgia where she has partnered with organizations such as Inspirtus (Lutheran Services of Georgia) and congregations in the Southeastern Synod to provide diverse summer camp experiences for children and youth as well as year round programs, riding lessons and service and justice based youth trips. Prior to serving at Lutheranch, she served as the Summer Camp and Equine Director at the Calvin Center, a Presbyterian camp in Hampton, Georgia where she developed a therapeutic riding program that served a diverse population of youth and adults with developmental and physical disabilities. Gretchen served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia, Africa and was a Spanish major in college. Gretchen has also worked in several program staff positions for Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministries, both at Carol Joy Holling and Sullivan Hills. Gretchen loves meeting new people and hearing their stories and helping them share the gifts and talents God has given them. She is passionate about building community and helping everyone find their place in community as children of God. In her free time, she loves riding her horse Bo, cooking and reading mysteries.
Areas of responsibility
Youth and Justice Ministries
Rev. Greg Berger

Assistant to the Bishop

Bio
Greg grew up in Southeast Nebraska, farming with his Dad for ten years before heading to seminary. Greg earned a Bachelors in Social Science at Peru State College and his Master of Divinity at Gettysburg. He served as a Licensed Lay Minister in the Disciples of Christ Church at the Peru Community Church, where he also was Campus Pastor for United Ministries in Higher Education. After seminary he served as Associate Pastor at St. Paul Lutheran, Grand Island, then Redeemer Lutheran Church, Hooper. His most current call was Messiah Lutheran, Ralston. Greg and his wife, Kim live in Omaha and have two sons, two daughters-in-law and two beautiful granddaughters.
Areas of responsibility
Call Process, Mobility, and Congregational Care
Amy Buch

PMA Administrator, Communications Manager

Bio
Amy grew up on a farm in southeast Nebraska and has an Agricultural Degree from UNL. Prior to joining the Nebraska Synod staff, Amy served for 7 years at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Wahoo. She and her husband, Marshall, are blessed with a combined family of 5 grown children. She remains an active member of Bethlehem’s Mission Team and enjoys the opportunity that this brings to help people both locally and globally. Amy’s interests include anything creative: painting, clay, crocheting, decorating cookies, and learning new ways to incorporate creativity into technology. She also enjoys the outdoors and can be found kayaking at Lake Wanahoo on summer days.
Areas of responsibility
PMA Administrator, Communications Manager
Michele Herrick

Administrative Assistant

Bio
Michele joined the Nebraska Synod in May 2016 as part-time admin support/receptionist. Prior to working at the Synod, she was a church secretary and an elementary school teacher. She has a BSBA from UNK and a teaching certificate from College of St. Mary’s. Michele enjoys spending time with her family, reading, genealogy, and yoga.
Areas of responsibility
General Information, Office, Development.
Stephanie Lusienski

Director of Finance and Administration

Bio
Stephanie Lusienski has served on synod staff since October 2008, and prior to that served for 5 years on the staff of her congregation, American Lutheran Church, Ashland. She and her husband, Jerry live in Ashland, and have 3 grown children. Her interests are reading, traveling, and gardening, or just about any activity that requires being outside. “I love meeting and talking with people throughout the Nebraska Synod. I am humbly honored to be a part of a faith tradition that serves others and welcomes everyone, no matter their faith, ethnicity, or gender."
Areas of responsibility
Budget & Finance, Giving, and Global Mission.
Deacon Sunni Richardson

Director for Leadership Development

Bio
Leading started in third grade when Sunni became the unofficial captain of the Buttercup softball team. Thanks to wise mentors, strong role models and opportunities she has been able to utilize her leadership skills as a trainer, consultant, program developer, fund raiser, ELCA coach and preacher. Sunni worked with Camp Fire in Iowa, Alaska, Minnesota and Lincoln before joining the Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministry staff as director of programs. Most recently she served at First Lutheran Lincoln. One of her greatest joys has been walking with others as they discern God’s call and learn to use their gifts. Sunni lives in Lincoln and can often be found on the road taking photos, connecting with friends or hunting down a good Thai restaurant.
Areas of responsibility
Leadership Development,LGBTQQIA2S+ Team, Coaching Network.
Deacon Timothy Siburg

Director for Evangelical Mission, Innovation and Stewardship

Bio
Deacon Timothy serves as the Director for Mission, Innovation and Stewardship. He has been a Deacon since 2016, serving on synod staff here in Nebraska since May 2016. He has previously served on staff and in leadership roles for congregations, nonprofits, startups, and another synod, in Minnesota and Washington. Areas of interest in ministry include: leadership and stewardship; mission and outreach; innovation and experimentation; vitality and transformation; generosity and gratitude; writing; and cultivating and sharing stories of ministry in action. Timothy is available to preach, lead worship (outside of the sacraments), workshops and discussions, and meet for conversation. He resides in Fontanelle with his wife, Rev. Allison Siburg (Salem Lutheran, Fontanelle) and their two daughters.
Areas of responsibility
ELCA Churchwide Relations (including the DEM Network), Giving, Innovation, Leadership, Mission, Outreach, Stewardship, Synod Assembly Planning Team.
Rev. Kristen Van Stee

Assistant to the Bishop

Bio
Kristen Van Stee graduated from Roanoke College in Virginia in 2007 with majors in History and Spanish. She graduated from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia South Carolina in 2011. She was ordained September 21st, 2013 and served as the pastor of Christ’s Lutheran Church in Davenport and St. James Lutheran Church in Edgar until 2017. She served as half-time Associate Pastor at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Wayne Nebraska from 2017-2020. She has been serving as a half-time Assistant to the Bishop for Mobility and Congregational Care for Northeast Nebraska since 2017.
Areas of responsibility
Call Process, Mobility, Congregational Care, and PMA Co-Director
Rev. Heidi Wallace

Assistant to the Bishop

Bio
Originally from Minnesota, Heidi Wallace attended Winona State University where she double majored in Elementary Education and Special Education with a minor in Language Arts. After teaching reading, coaching speech, and directing theatre for several years, she finally answered the call to ordained ministry. She graduated from Luther Seminary and was ordained in 2009. Most recently, she served as Pastor of Bethany Evangelical Lutheran and First Presbyterian Churches in Lyons, Nebraska. She loves her nephews and godchildren, puzzles, documentaries, decluttering, and preaching.
Areas of responsibility
Call Process, Mobility, and Congregational Care
Amy Woods

Executive Assistant to the Bishop and Roster Management

Bio
Amy previously served as Director of Faith Formation at Immanuel Lutheran in Bellevue, NE for 15 years. She worked with both youth and adults in many ways by helping lead Confirmation classes, Sr. High youth activities, yearly service trips, retreats, Bible studies, coordinating staff for Sunday school and Vacation Bible School, and organizing special cross generational events throughout the year. She has also served as Synod Day Director for the 2015 and 2018 ELCA Youth Gatherings as well as being on the planning teams for the Nebraska Synod Journey, LYON Assembly, and Middle School Gatherings. Amy and her husband, Joel, have three children, two in college and the youngest a junior in high school. They love attending their activities, especially marching band and dance competitions, throughout the school year. She is currently serving as the Band Booster President for Bellevue East High School. In her spare time she enjoys crafting, listening to podcasts, reading, and spending time with her friends and family.
Areas of responsibility
Bishop's Calendar, Rostered Management, Synod Council administration, Candidacy Administration, and Parish Ministry Associate Administration