Rev. Dr. Mark Hannemann, Senior Pastor and Director of Ministries
After 30 years in ministry, Pastor Mark’s love for preaching and teaching God’s Word is still going strong. “The Word of God is the most powerful thing in the universe,” he said. “God spoke and everything came into being. The divine Word, Jesus, became flesh and lived among us. Jesus spoke from the cross, ‘It is finished,’ and our salvation was accomplished. I love sharing the Word and seeing what it does in the lives of God’s people.” Before coming to Divine Shepherd in 2008, Pastor Mark most recently served as executive director of Windgate Christian Counseling in Ellisville, Mo., (2005-08) and as senior pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Lincoln (1994-2005). He grew up in York County, Neb., and married his high school sweetheart, Sandy. They have four children and six grandchildren. Pastor Mark is president of the GracePoint Institute for Relational Health (relationalhealth.org), a Christian counseling agency in Omaha. He likes spending time with his grandchildren, working outdoors, watching movies, riding his bike and traveling with Sandy.
Rev. Jim Rasmussen, Executive Pastor and Director of Finance and Operations.
Pastor Jim accepted a divine call to Divine Shepherd in April 2013. He previously served as chief executive officer of Concordia Lutheran Schools of Omaha (’07-’13), and pastor of St. John Lutheran Church (’04-’07) in Omaha. “I enjoy serving God and his people in whatever capacity – administration, preaching, teaching, or just providing a listening ear and encouragement from God’s Word,” he said. “Whatever I can do to connect people to Jesus Christ – that’s why I’m here.” Prior to enrolling in seminary he worked for 14 years as a journalist for newspapers, including nine years at the Omaha World-Herald as a reporter and editor. A native of Chadron, Neb., he is married to Nanette. They have three daughters. Pastor Jim enjoys golfing and following Nebraska Cornhusker athletics.
Rev. Justin Bell, Mission Development Pastor
Pastor Justin was installed in November 2015 after accepting the call to lead our efforts to plant a new congregation in the Omaha area. In his new role as a church planter, Pastor Justin is most excited about what he calls "the blank slate." "We are wide open and free to dream about a church where unchurched people are introduced to Jesus," he said. "It’s exciting to have all of the endless possibilities out there of how to build a church that impacts its community, strengthens families, and shares Jesus with those who are lost. That gets me pumped up!” Pastor Justin grew up in Florida, earned his undergraduate degree in History at Concordia University in Austin, Texas, and completed his studies for the pastoral ministry at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. He and his wife, Johanna, have three children. Before coming to Omaha Pastor Justin served Grace Lutheran Church in Knoxville, Tenn., as an associate pastor for four years.
Rev. Sean Chapman, Director of Family Life
After working for 13 years as a software engineer and manager, Pastor Sean was called to serve Divine Shepherd in 2009. He was certified as a Director of Christian Education after studying at Concordia University-St. Paul (Minn.) While working at Divine Shepherd he began studying in the Specific Ministry Pastor program of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, which led to his becoming a pastor here at DSLC in December 2015. “I most enjoy encouraging others to grow in their trust in the Lord and to respond to the world around them by loving and serving their neighbor,” Sean said. He is married and has three children. His interests include canoeing, rock climbing, and horticulture, as well as eating and napping.
Remkea Ockander, Director of Youth Ministry
Remkea loves working with teens because “they challenge me and make me laugh. High school and middle school is such a challenging time in their life. They need someone to be real with them. I love seeing the creativity of teenagers, but also love hearing their struggles and being able to share the forgiveness and love of Jesus with them.” Remkea joined the staff at Divine Shepherd in 2012 after working for more than 11 years as a Lutheran high school teacher and camp program director. She was working at a Lutheran high school in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck that city. She is a graduate of Concordia University Nebraska and Wisner-Pilger (Neb.) High School. She loves spending time with her nieces and nephews, writing, reading and theater. A former college volleyball player, she loves playing sports and watching the Huskers. Her talents include the ability to rub her head and pat her belly at the same time.
Tonya Isaac, Little Lamb Preschool Director
Tonya is in her 10th year as director of the preschool after serving as a teacher in three Lutheran elementary schools previously. The awe and wonder of preschool-age children as they learn about God’s love for them “melts my heart and helps me to know my Savior and Shepherd even better every day,” she said. Tonya loves singing, playing and learning with the little ones entrusted to her care. “Teaching the children and seeing their eyes light up as we do favorite activities together or as they hear a story for the first time are highlights of my day.” Tonya earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Concordia University Nebraska, She and her husband, Doug, have three sons. She enjoys attending sporting events, concerts and her children’s activities, as well as spending time with her immediate and extended family.
Aaron Bressman, Worship and Music Leader
Aaron has been using his musical gifts to enhance worship as a member of the staff at Divine Shepherd since August 2012. Before that, he did so as a volunteer while working as a senior account manager at C&A Industries. Aaron attended high school at Millard South before going on to study at Nebraska Wesleyan and Bellevue University. At Nebraska Wesleyan, he admits, he often skipped class while teaching himself how to play like Harry Connick Jr. on an old piano in the lounge of his dorm. Those sessions “proved to be more valuable than I would have imagined at the time,” Aaron said. Aaron enjoys helping people of all ages develop their God-given musical gifts. Writing music is a growing passion for him. He loves spending time with his wife Sarah and their five children.
Cody Wendt, Facility Manager
Cody joined our staff in June 2014. He had served as maintenance service coordinator for West Corp. in Omaha for eight years, followed by 10 years as a project manager for a construction firm. “I enjoy utilizing the talents God has given me to ensure that His building remains a warm and inviting place for people to come to worship and grow in Him,” Cody said. He and his wife, Deb, Divine Shepherd’s ministry facilitator, were high school sweethearts in Kenesaw, Neb. They have three children. After a hard day’s work, Cody looks to relax in “the simple pleasure of peaceful fishing.” He and Deb have three children.
Deb Wendt, Ministry Facilitator
Deb provides vital communication, planning and logistics support for a wide range of ministries at DSLC, including worship, outreach, children, women and youth. “In helping with these things I feel like I am able to share the love of Christ with those who might not think they are loved because they are struggling,” she said. She joined Divine Shepherd in 2013 after serving 17 years in administrative support roles at West Corp. Deb’s husband, Cody, joined the staff here as facilities manager in 2014. They have three children. Deb enjoys the beauty of God’s creation in outdoor activiites such as running, camping, fishing and gardening. She is a Stephen Minister and a trained prison and jail ministry volunteer.
Jeannine Glessmann, Children’s Ministry Facilitator
Jeannine has been a member of Divine Shepherd since she was a student at Little Lamb Preschool! Now she teaches the children of DSLC and helps coordinate our children’s ministry. “I love teaching the kids because they are full of energy and questions,” she said. “It is so neat to watch as their faith grows right before my eyes.” Jeannine studied elementary education at the University of Nebraska-Kearney and served as office manager of her family’s daycare business for five years. She loves reading and watching sports, especially the Huskers, the Storm Chasers and the Kansas City Royals.
Vern Nemitz, Director of Outreach
Vern’s passion is to tell people about Jesus Christ. “A lot of people I talk to don’t know Jesus and I want to plant a seed to let the Holy Spirit do his job,” Vern said. “I want all people to go to heaven.” Vern started work at Divine Shepherd in the late 1990s after a three-decade career in business, 19 of it as owner-operator of the Western Bowl in Millard. He credits his wife, Teri, who has “stood by me in everything I have done in life.” Vern switched from full-time to part-time ministry in 2015, but with him, expect one thing to never change. He will keep reaching out with the Good News about Jesus.
Kathy Kistler, Office Manager
Now in her 21st year on staff at Divine Shepherd, Kathy serves as the friendly face to visitors at the front desk. She also helps keep the church’s financial records in order, finding joy when the numbers balance as they should, and keeping the office supplied and running efficiently. She also provides administrative support for the preschool. She looks forward to the warmer months of the year, when “riding my bike around Lake Zorinsky is an inexpressible delight.” Kathy has a son and daughter-in-law in Omaha and a daughter and granddaughter in Cortland, N.Y.
Darla Novotny, Executive Assistant.
Darla enjoys juggling – not balls, fruit or chainsaws -- but tasks, information and people! “My ‘Martha’ side comes out strongly in the favorite part of my job – logistics,” she said. She enjoys the behind-the-scenes, “girl Friday” aspect of pulling everything together to create a finished product or event. You can also find Darla managing the Divine Coffee and Books store off the atrium Sunday and Tuesday mornings and Wednesday nights. She and her husband, Charlie, have five children and eight grandchildren. She is an avid reader and enjoys crafts, travel and cooking.
Rev. Martin Greunke, Pastoral Care Assistant.
The word “retired” does not fit Pastor Marty, Divine Shepherd’s part-time pastoral care assistant. He visits members in the hospital and brings the Lord’s Supper to those who can’t make it to church for health reasons. Pastor Marty taught in public schools before entering the pastoral ministry, where he served four churches over 31 years. The last 14 of those, he was senior pastor of First Lutheran Church in Papillion. “I enjoy keeping busy in pastoral ministry that is people-oriented,” he said. “The word ‘retirement’ is not in the Bible.” He and his wife, Yvonne, have four children and 11 grandchildren. Pastor Marty likes sports, but don’t ask him to watch tennis or bowling.