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Staff

Dan McKnight, Pastor

Except for the occasional overly big word that betrays his geeky bona fides, Dan's a pretty normal guy. He's on fire for seeing the Holy Spirit change lives with Jesus' love, so he & Laura moved to Johnson County from Chicago in 2004 to plant a church to do just that. Dan has the spiritual gifts of apostleship, teaching, and leadership, as well as a love of Scripture and a lifelong dependence on Jesus Christ. He loves playing Windmill of Death in the neighborhood pool with his boys, watching free Redbox movies with Laura, irreverent late-night TV shows, loud parties with good food, and Biblical word-studies. Dan and Laura live in Shawnee with their well-mannered sons, a high school freshman and a 5th grader, and their ill-mannered dog.  Email Dan here.

German Portillo, Worship Director

German (pronounced 'Herman' since he's from Venezuela—long story!) is crazy about music as a form of worship and about worship altogether. He's passionate about being in a community of faith that embraces struggle, questions, and the pursuit of truth. German also works with Kaw Prairie's high schoolers in the Sunday night WILD ministry. He and his wife Summer live in Shawnee with their two preschool girls, and he's eager to touch Johnson County with the love of Jesus. He loves Taco Bell, video games, and giving his kids piggyback rides. Email German here, or read his blog.

Judy Hamner, Ministry Administration Coordinator

After serving three years as our Children & Family Ministries Director, in January 2011 we asked Judy to take 'a new seat on the bus' and bring her fun spirit, spiritual gifts, and well-honed corporate management skills to the administrative side of ministry. She's become our full-time Ministry Administrative Coordinator (which acronyms out as MAC, of course, which is particularly galling to Judy, who's a loyal Windows & Excel-meister).  Originally from rural Iowa, Judy loves serving "on the Prairie" to bring organization, structure and process to a church she loves for not having overly much of them!  Judy lives in Shawnee with her husband, Paul, and their two daughters. Email Judy here.

Diane Lee, Connect Director

Diane has a big voice and bigger smile for such a small body! And she coordinates the leaders of the marketing, welcoming, and congregational care ministries.  She & Jim have two grown daughters, one grandchild and counting, and they live in western Lenexa. Diane may not be the first person you see on a crowded morning at Kaw Prairie, but she very well may be the first person you hear! Email Diane here.

Colene Homa, Children & Family Ministries Director

A veteran in ministry, Colene has served in several capacities in the church: worship, graphic design, communications, youth and -- her favorite, of course -- children's ministries! Though baptized and confirmed in an ELCA (Lutheran) church, Colene has spent most of her adult life and ministry in the United Methodist tradition. One of her greatest loves is Vacation Bible School.  She believes that it should be an experience that kids will remember for years to come.  "It's an opportunity to plant seeds we may never see bloom.  God is working on each child, so we'd better do our best for Him!" Colene has a son, Joshua, who lives in Columbia, MO where he is is attending college. Email Colene here.

Emily Nelson Dixon, Student Ministries Director 

Emily Nelson Dixon has been doing youth ministry since 1999. She was at her last call in Overland Park for 10 years. She feels called to serve God by serving youth and their families. Her passion is helping young people understand how much God loves them just as they are. She is blessed to have the support of her husband Chris and daughter Esme. Emily is stoked to be serving Kaw Prairie! Email Emily here.

Mark Chrislip, Adult Discipleship Director

Mark's a businessman after God's heart who came to Christ as a young adult—and has been eager to study, practice, and mentor godly leadership ever since. He leads the Cultivate (Adult Discipleship) Cluster, overseeing adult classes, workshops, and small groups. Currently, Mark's also President of Kaw Prairie's Vision Team, nurturing the precious work God's done already at Kaw Prairie in just a few short years. Mark & his wife Diane have three grown children, six grandchildren, and lots of wildlife around them in rural Eudora. Email Mark here.

Brad Martens, Safety Team Leader

Brad’s journey to Kaw Prairie began on a hot summer day about six years ago when a very hot Pastor Dan came walking through his parents' neighborhood, sharing the Lord and his vision for Kaw Prairie Community Church. At the time his wife, Ana, and then-teenage son, Drew, were involved with another church, but he often reflected on his conversation with Pastor Dan on that hot summer day. Fellowship at the Christmas service at the barn and Ana's encouragement resulted in their family joining the Kaw Prairie family about three years ago. Brad brings his 22 years of law enforcement experience to the safety team. Email Brad here.