Pictured from left to right: Gary Dorland, Dennis Brooks, Mark Hunsaker, Kirk Manion, Harley Schmitgen, Larry Mueller, Rosemary Steichen, Dina Fulsom, Dolph Neubauer, Lauren Lindwedel (click to enlarge)

Our 2019 Leadership Team

Each year Praise & Worship elects a team to help guide our ministry’s functions. This team currently consists of:

  • President: Harley Schmitgen

  • Vice-President: Larry Mueller

  • Treasurer: Rosemary Steichen

  • Assistant Treasurer: Kirk Manion

  • Secretary: Dina Fulsom

  • Spiritual Support Team: Dolph Neubauer and Ted Martin

  • At-Large: Gary and Mickey Dorland, Dennis Brooks

Learn more about our congregation’s governance by reading our Constitution & Bylaws.

Our Leadership Team meets regularly on the third Tuesday of each month and all are welcome to attend. Want to learn more or get involved? Contact us!

Mark Hunsaker - Pastor of Praise & Worship

Mark Hunsaker - Pastor of Praise & Worship

Mark Hunsaker

After 20 years in the Information Technology field, Jesus called (dragged?) Mark into the Pastoral Ministry. After graduating Concordia Seminary in St. Louis in May of 2015, Mark was ordained on June 21, 2015, and installed as Pastor of Praise & Worship on June 28, 2015.

Mark describes his career change this way: “I never thought I was ‘holy’ enough to be a pastor. Then Jesus convinced me over time that it is HE who makes us holy and that He actually prefers to work through broken people, like we see, you know, in every single story in the Bible!”

Married to Debbie since 1995, and father to Mariah, Aaron & Ally, Mark’s hobbies include geeking-out on computer stuff, following the adventures of the Kansas City Chiefs, watching Marvel and Star Wars movies at Alamo Drafthouse and sharing all of this with family and friends.

Mark’s favorite book of the Bible is Paul’s Letter to the Romans and it is highly unlikely that he will ever preach or teach without at least one reference to it! He chimes in: “So go read Romans 1:16 and Romans 3:21-26 and Romans 8:1-3 and Romans 8:37-38 and Romans 12:1 to see how the Story of Jesus unfolds in our lives!”

Dr. Barry Kolb - Leader at The Grind

Dr. Barry Kolb - Leader at The Grind

Barry Kolb

Raised in Seward, Nebraska, Barry was privileged to receive a Christian education from kindergarten through college. After teaching and coaching for 18 years, he graduated from Concordia Seminary, Fort Wayne in 1985, and has served 4 churches and 2 interims.

Barely making it out of college, he has since earned 3 master’s degrees and a doctorate. In addition to pastoring churches, he has taught in 9 foreign countries, served as a church consultant and in leadership roles of several ministries. He has also served as a Bible teacher at Angola Prison in Louisiana for 20+ years. Recent endeavors include helping start something completely new: The Grind which meets each Saturday at Hollister Coffee Co. You are invited to join us as we Gather, Grow, Grind and Go!

Barry is married to Nancy and is father to Eric (Sheryl) & Terri, and grandfather to Joshua! His hobbies include writing, reading and just about any sporting event, especially the Nebraska Cornhuskers and College of the Ozarks!

Proverbs 3:5-6 is his life verse. His personal mission statement is: See the Vision, Live the Mission and Feel the Passion.

Tammy Rodgers - Music Team: Vocalist

Tammy Rodgers - Music Team: Vocalist

Tammy Rodgers

From church choir to praise team, singing harmony or lead, Tammy has been serving the Lord with the gift of music for almost 30 years. As a singer/songwriter, writing songs is her passion, and singing them brings her freedom to express her thoughts and emotions that are wrapped up in the lyrics she writes.

Tammy is the mother of Kyle, Gavin and Holly. Her hobbies include, not only music, but getting creative at home with improvements, updates and digging in the yard. A nice cup of coffee is the perfect start to the day!

Tammy loves the saying, “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.” Isaiah 6:8 sums it up….Then I heard the voice of Adonai saying, “Whom should I send, and who will go for us?” Then said I, “Here am I, send me.”

Joel Telschow - Music Team: Vocalist and Guitarist

Joel Telschow - Music Team: Vocalist and Guitarist

Joel Telschow

Joel grew up in Freistatt, Missouri, in a home where parents were Lutheran teachers and music ministers. Music is in the family’s blood! Joel comments that, “Being called by God to follow in their footsteps and to give my gift of music back to Jesus is the greatest calling!”

Joel is passionate about horses and nature. Having lived in Austin, Texas, and Thiensville, Wisconsin, Joel eventually returned to the Ozarks to be near family.

Despite growing up in the south, Joel loves hockey and all things Chicago, but also is a born and bred Nebraska Cornhusker.

Joel can be spotted both at Lindwedel Winery on Sunday mornings helping our music team (and other days as a performer for the Winery) and also at Hollister Coffee Co. on Saturdays helping to lead music at The Grind.

When asked to share a thought about faith, Joel writes: “I love Jesus. His life is the only testimony that I need. I’m amazed that all He is…He is love.”

Aaron Hunsaker - Music Team: Percussionist

Aaron Hunsaker - Music Team: Percussionist

Aaron Hunsaker

Participating in his family’s journey to uproot from “normal life” and transition into full time ministry, Aaron has had an adventure of moving from Nixa, to St. Louis for four years at Concordia Seminary and then back to the Ozarks, landing in Branson.

Working as a Server in area restaurants, Aaron loves to work hands-on with people, enjoying in particular, the area of customer service. Branson’s unique position as a tourist destination for many in the Midwest affords some fun and unique opportunities! But another hands-on love that has arisen during this time is Aaron’s love for percussion with Praise & Worship’s music team. You can often spot him playing the Cajón or other drums during our worship services.

Aaron enjoys gaming, football, listening to music such as NF and building things by hand.

His favorite book of the Bible is Revelation because it tells about where everything is going what what will happen when Jesus comes back to make all things new, when there will be no more tears, no more sickness, no more death.

Lair Parent - Audio-Visual and Voice Over Specialist

Lair Parent - Audio-Visual and Voice Over Specialist

Lair Parent

Lair has spent most of his life (from the age of 12 on) in some aspect of theatre. He started as a performer, but couldn’t handle all the rejection, so went into the technical end of things.

He spent over 40 years as a stage manager and technical director for Industrial theatre, doing shows for the Fortune 500 companies, from IBM to Boeing, to all the major automobile manufacturers.

He tried retirement, but didn’t like it very much, so is now working at Silver Dollar City in a job that requires no brains but keeps him physically fit, walking 5 to 11 miles a day.

The father of four very successful sons, he travels during the two months that SDC is closed to visit his boys and 10 grandchildren in four corners of the country: California, Washington, Vermont and New York.

Having lived on both coasts, he is totally sold on the Ozarks as God’s Country, both for the climate and for Praise & Worship Church and what it has added to his life.

Lauren Lindwedel - Bookkeeper

Lauren Lindwedel - Bookkeeper

Lauren Lindwedel

Born in St. Louis but moved to the Ozarks in 1995, at just 6 years old, Lauren went to Reed’s Spring School District from 1st grade through graduating. Going to Missouri State University and receiving a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing Management, she was able to stay close to home as she helped her family start their family winery, which she now runs with her parents and brother in law.  

Growing up, she was apart of her school's volleyball and basketball teams as well as traveling teams, following in her siblings footsteps. She has a very loving family that all live in the Ozarks. Along with her parents, she has two older sisters with two brother in laws, 3 nieces, 1 nephew, & 1 great-niece.  

Throughout grade school and college, Lauren traveled with the youth group from the Lutheran Church on 3 mission trips (Denver, Arkansas, & Canada) and 2 National Youth Gatherings. Along with vacations with her family, this became a passion of hers to see the world. She tries once a year to go to somewhere new. Even during college, she took a semester abroad in London and that has become her most rewarding decision she has made.  

Lauren's favorite verse is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” This verse was also her baptismal verse as well as the verse her sports teams would say before each game. It is also the verse she lives by as she has had some trying times in her adult life. 

Anthony Hunter - Illustrator/Cartoonist

Anthony Hunter - Illustrator/Cartoonist

Anthony Hunter

Born in Canton, Ohio, Anthony grew up watching cartoons and reading comic books religiously. That passion brought him to Tempe, Arizona, for a few years to earn a bachelor's degree in animation. Taking the knowledge from his degree and his love of cartoons, he began to create comic strips of his own in 2012. Silent Sillies, a silent cartoon as a comic, entertains hundreds of followers weekly.

Along with his comic, Anthony has designed characters for various business, was cartoonist for a kid friendly zombie comic book LAMEBRAINS, and made a coloring book for the city of Branson! After finding his church home at Praise & Worship, he was inspired to share Scripture passages accompanied with digital silhouette artwork to help spread the good news online.

While in college, he met his wife Brittiney, and the two got married in the desert state. They moved to Hollister, Missouri, to raise a family and became parents of two beautiful children, Erin and Connor who were baptized at Praise & Worship on Oct 29, 2017 (the 500th anniversary of the Reformation). Commonly he is seen reading comics, making comics, and watching cartoons and sci-fi.

Feeling the call to create, he shares his work by attending local comic conventions and art events. He describes himself as a big kid and he continues to grow in the Spirit to follow the call to “love thy neighbor” (Matthew 29:39).

Pastor Dar Karsten - Mentor & Evangelist

Pastor Dar Karsten - Mentor & Evangelist

Dar Karsten

Pastor Dar Karsten and his wife, Jan, have been married since 1968; they have three children—Kyle, Sara, and Joel. They are all married and have made Dar and Jan grandparents eight times. Family is the top priority of their Christian ministry.

Pastor Dar was ordained as a Pastor in 1969 (note that 2019 marks his 50th anniversary of pastoral ministry!) and has served congregations in Wisconsin and Missouri, pastoring a church in Eureka, Mo for 34 years. Since taking retirement in 2006 (which Pastor Dar calls his “re-firement”), he led the new church start of Praise & Worship, initiating the first gathering in 2007. Praise & Worship chartered as a congregation in 2013 under his leadership and partnership with the Missouri District of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

Jan is also a Registered Nurse and has worked in an Extended Care Facility for over 30 years. She also helps conduct Health Fairs and really enjoys mentoring young women in Christian living and has served as a MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) Mentor Mom.

Since 2016, Pastor Dar and Jan have had more opportunity to spend time with family and friends, though still involved with the many ministries they have helped to build, no less true here at Praise & Worship where you will still spot them serving from time to time! Dar’s ongoing role of mentoring Mark, preaching and teaching and continuing to share the Gospel wherever he goes testifies to his more than 50-year career of Joining Jesus in His Mission!