Pastor Ben is a disciple of Jesus Christ. a husband and father, a pastor and missional thinker, and encourager and a big fan of movies and sports. He was born in Denver, Colorado and lived in the cities of Evergreen, Colorado, Santa Fe, New Mexico and also in Albuquerque.
In 2003, Pastor Ben began his pastoral formation at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. His one-year vicarage internship was served at Trinity Lutheran Church and School in Sawyer, Michigan. He has previously served as sole pastor of Grace Lutheran Church and School in Corona, California, sole pastor of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Pueblo West, Colorado and associate pastor of small groups and family life at Summit of Peace Lutheran Church in Thornton, Colorado. He has been serving St. John’s and the La Grange community since August of 2017.
Pastor Ben received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New Mexico in May of 1995, majoring in English with a concentration in Creative Writing and minoring in Film Studies. He received a Master of Divinity degree from Concordia Seminary in May of 2007. He was one of ten students out of 165 in his graduating class during the 2006-2007 academic year at Concordia Seminary to receive the Reverend Marvin E. Kuhlmann Homiletics Endowment award for excellence in preaching. Pastor Ben and his wife Melissa have also completed the Leadership Essentials cohort of the Pastoral Leadership Institute.
Pastor Ben loves to preach and teach God’s Word, to encourage and equip God’s people and to creatively and strategically think of ways for God’s people to engage the surrounding community and culture in a post-Christian world.
Pastor Ben currently lives in La Grange Park with his wife, Melissa, and their two children, Grace, who attends Lyons Township High School, and Owen, who attends St. John’s Lutheran School.
Pastor Ben loves hanging out with family and friends, reading, writing, cooking, watching good movies and television shows, exercising, getting outdoors and folding origami. His favorite sports teams are the Denver Broncos, the Colorado Rockies, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Chicago Bears and the Chicago Cubs.
Assistant to the Senior Pastor
Mr. Mark Stapleton teaches 8th grade religion and serves as the Assistant to the Senior Pastor at St. John’s. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Education from Western Illinois University. After teaching middle school for seven years, he became a certified real estate appraiser, and still continues to work as an independent appraiser. In 2006, he decided to enroll in the Lay Ministry program at Concordia Mequon, Wisconsin. He graduated from the program in 2010 and was installed as a Commissioned Minister of Religion at St. John’s Lutheran Church. With his wife, he oversees the Comfort Dog ministry at St. John’s and is primary caregiver/hander for Angel.
Director of Music Ministries
David is a native of the Chicago area. He was raised in Evanston, Illinois, and then in Barrington, Illinois, where he lived primarily. David has enjoyed a rich diversity of worship and music traditions during his career, which has now spanned thirty years as a professional church musician.
Having held significant positions with the Episcopal, ELCA Lutheran, and Presbyterian Churches, he possesses a wide and varied knowledge of the importance and influence of all traditions and approaches to sacred music that exist in worship today. Of greatest importance to him is to use the power of music to glorify God. He is also a strong advocate of enriching and broadening the Worship experience by utilizing musical gifts of parish members.
David holds a Master of Music degree in Church Music from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he was named the 1990 recipient of the William H. Barnes Scholarship for organ performance. His graduate instruction in organ came from Wolfgang Rübsam. He received his undergraduate degree from Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana, where he studied organ with William Eifrig and Philip Gehring.
David currently lives in Willowbrook with his wife, Nancy Purcell Lincoln, a Chicago-area soprano. Together they have a daughter, Alexis Nicole, born March 1, 2003.
Church Office Manager
Michelle has served in the LCMS since October 2001. She started out as the Church Secretary for St. Peter Lutheran Church in Schaumburg, Illinois. She was promoted to Executive Administrator in 2007 and worked closely with Reverend David P. Hudak and Reverend Bill C. Cate.
In July of 2013, an opportunity came to serve Lutheran Church Charities in Addison, Illinois. Her position began as Executive Administrative Assistant to President Timothy Hetzner. During her time at Lutheran Church Charities, she saw the need for an Event Coordinator, and in January 2014, she created and filled that position.
She has extensive knowledge with Church duties and serves with a compassionate, approachable and dedicated attitude. Michelle and her husband, John, currently live in the Midway area and have three children, Victoria (21), Shay (16) and Alanna (12). She enjoys spending time with family, reading and crafts.
Sharing Jesus with children has been a part of Sherrie Smith’s life for a very long time. Teaching Sunday School and Bible School for many years has prepared her for her ministry here at St.John’s. She has her degree in education from Concordia, Chicago and has taught in Lutheran elementary schools and is also presently teaching two year olds at Zion, Hinsdale’s Early Learning Center.
She enjoys serving with the Lutheran Women in Mission (LWML) and taking short term mission trips. There is nothing better than seeing the joy on children’s faces when they first hear of Jesus’ love. She also enjoys ministering to people through music. She has two daughters and a son and has been married to Bruce for 30 years.
Here at St. John’s she coordinates the Sunday School program and Vacation Bible School and assists with confirmation. She organizes service opportunities for families and fun events for the children. Sherrie is thankful for the many volunteers that make this very important ministry possible.
Angel is an LCC K-9 Comfort Dog at St John’s Lutheran in La Grange, Illinois.
She interacts with people at churches, schools, nursing homes, hospitals, events, and in disaster response situations. LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs are friends who bring a calming influence, allowing people to open up their hearts and receive help.
Angel’s Bible verse is Hebrews 1:14,”Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”
Angel was born on December 16, 2013, is affiliated with Lutheran Church Charities and is a Female golden retriever.