Ministry Team

Rev. Burt Garwood

Senior Pastor

The Lord brought Michele and I to Lord of Life in August 2008. I’m a missionary kid from the Philippines where my dad served from the late 70’s to the mid 90’s. This background drives my passion to build spiritual friendships where I can help people in their journey toward God and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

I graduated from Concordia University, Seward in 1995 and received a Master’s degree from Concordia Seminary St. Louis in 1999. I served as Associate Pastor at Holy Savior in Lincoln Nebraska and then at King of Kings Lutheran Church in Omaha Nebraska, as Associate Pastor, Director of Adult Ministries.

I met my wife, Michele, in January 1997 on a blind date. A few months into our friendship, she fell in love with Jesus and then with me! We were married in August 1998 after I returned from my internship in San Francisco.

Our son Elias is in preschool at Lord of Life Preschool. Our daughter Eliana was born in February 2015 and is working so hard to walk before she crawls. Parenting has been the greatest joy of my life. Michele is such a wonderful mother! I'm so proud of her!

I enjoy riding my motorcycles, playing xbox360 and PS4 (mostly the Call of Duty series) online with my friends around the country, exercising (never going to get huge like Arnold, but I want be fit for life), horsing around on the guitar, biking, billiards, entertaining our cat Buster Brown and climbing 14,000 foot mountains in Colorado every summer. Oh yea, and to my friends in Nebraska: I’m still watching the Huskers play football. Go Big Red.

I have a particular interest in helping men build a biblical definition of manhood and then watching them lead their families and influence their co-workers and friends from a solid foundation where Christ is their moral compass. I had the pleasure of cofounding with my buddy David Reddel in 2004.

I’m excited about our future here at Lord of Life as we Love God, Love Others and Serve the World by being “missional” in every situation of life.

If you’re visiting Lord of Life and want to know more about us, I have a standing offer for coffee any time you want. Just give me a call.


Lisa Hellyer, DCE

Director of Life Transformation and Missions

 I joined the Lord of Life staff in August 2000 and have loved every minute of it! As Director of Transformation Ministries I have the best seat in the house for watching life change in God’s people as we grow to know Him better, love Him more and follow Him passionately! If I had to narrow the list to the things I love most, it would look like this: I love the Lord, my family, friends, and God’s people; I love connecting with others over a cup of chai tea, and sharing with each other what the Lord is up to in our lives; I love coming alongside people as they seek to grow as Christ-like servant leaders in their home, workplace, community, church and world; and I love to laugh and have fun!

I am single and have no children of my own, but both of my sisters live close by and are members at Lord of Life. Being an Aunt to their children is my number one calling. There is nothing better than being an adult who can speak into their lives and walk with them through
good and bad times.

I grew up in south Florida and have been a crazy fan of the Miami Dolphins for as long as I can remember. After many years of disappointment, I still have hope and a strong desire to see them win the Super Bowl! I know it is possible. I think we can! I think we can! I
also enjoy playing golf, going to movies, and cheering for the Kansas City Royals!

Lisa received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Concordia University, Chicago in 1987 and completed her Master of Science in Family Life Ministry in 2005.


Tyler Tollefson, DCE

Director of Children and Student Ministries

I joined the Lord of Life family August of 2010 as the children and junior high ministries director. Before joining Lord of Life, I was the junior and senior high director at Our Savior’s Way in Ashburn, Virginia.

My beautiful wife Gentri and I met at Concordia University in Nebraska. Go Big Red! We both love watching football, especially the Cornhuskers, and during college basketball you can find me screaming at the TV for the Jayhawks!

I am originally from Olathe, Kansas so being back in the Kansas City area has been great. Gentri and I try to get out west to Salt Lake City as much as possible to visit her family and get some skiing, hiking, and fishing in.

I know Kansas isn’t the ideal place for mountain biking, but on my time away you can usually find me riding my mountain bike on trails around town or in Lawrence. I love to wakeboard but I’m not quite as good as I used to be.

I am excited about leaning into the lives of the children, families, and leaders at Lord of Life to draw them closer to a relationship with Christ.


Meghan Willeford

Director of Early Education Center

I am so excited to be a part of the Lord of Life family. The Education Center and Church have a fantastic reputation in the community and I am thrilled that God has opened the door for me to
be a part of this team.

For the past 9 years I have been on staff at Little Scholars Early Education Center at Overland Park Community Church. I spent 3 years teaching in various classrooms and have been the director for the past 6 years. I'm passionate about teaching children Christ's love, and helping parents bring Christ into all aspects of their child's learning. I love the ever-changing mind and growth of preschoolers. Each day is an adventure!
I was born and raised in the Lutheran Church in Minnesota, and I believe Minnesota lakes are one of God's finest creations.  I love to water-ski, fish, paddle-board, and boat with my family. I also enjoy running, reading and I always have at least one home improvement project going.

I met my husband, Brent while at the University of Kansas and we've been married for 17 years. We have four children - Samuel is 14, Charlie is 12, and our twins Joe and Hanna Lee are 9. We spend a lot of time racing between sports, FCA, Church and school, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

I look forward to meeting each and every one of you, and will work hard to carry on the greatness that Susan, the teachers, and all of the families have brought to the Lord of Life program.


Warene Stinemetz

Director of Finance & Administration

My employment at Lord of Life began in March of 1997. At that time I filled the role of the part-time bookkeeper. Today, I work full time in the areas of finance, administration and facility management. I also enjoy volunteering as a small group leader with the high school youth group.

My husband, Philip, and I met in college and married in 1982. We are both native to Kansas. In our early years of marriage we moved every five years and have called Iowa, New York, and Indiana home. In fact, we still own the first house we ever bought in Des Moines. We have two grown children and two granddaughters that I spend as much time as possible with.  

I have a passion for animals, especially cats, construction, sports, and the outdoors. I love to play volleyball, hike, boat, camp, spend time with my family, and vacation with friends.




John-Scott Young

Worship Leader

I joined Lord of Life in August of 2015 as the primary worship leader. I’m very honored to have the position of leading people in the simple act of beholding God and responding in worship. It’s my goal to be transparent like a glass window and to let Light of the World shine through the music, leading people to a place of true worship and awe of Jesus. 

I grew up in LaGrange, Georgia where my father and mother still reside. I was raised in a Christian home and my church background is from many various denominations. I have been either leading worship or playing on worship teams for the past 15 years, and since October of 2012 to July of 2015, I have led a Lutheran congregation in worship. 

My passion is music and specifically in the area of songwriting. I have been writing songs for about 15 years. I love writing songs that can be either true or fictional stories of other people’s lives. When narrating stories about people you inevitably find the themes of brokenness, sincerity, and honesty. These are themes that I value aesthetically in music and so I strive to convey these in my writing. 

As far as education, I have previously studied music at LaGrange College and now am headed towards finishing my Psychology undergrad at UMKC with the intent to further pursue a Master’s in Occupational Therapy.

I love most anything to do with the outdoors. I love any and every variation of fishing, especially fly-fishing. I grew up bow hunting in the tall pines and humid weather of Georgia, so that’s still one of my favorite, therapeutic, recreational activities. Some of my most memorable prayer times were in a deer stand actually. I love the mountains, rivers, lakes… anything that inspires wonder as a result of seeing it. I am the quintessential, stereotypical coffee snob. I will absolutely enjoy your company and conversation, but not over a bad cup of coffee. That’s a joke. Just as long as you allow me to at least acknowledge how I genuinely feel about the cup of coffee I will sacrifice the scruples my personal taste for the greater good of your conversation.  

I think the most important thing to know is that I genuinely know and love Jesus with all my heart and I want to do His will for all the days of my life. Part of that is loving you, so I’d love that opportunity. 

Come join us as we love God by loving others and serving the world!


Ministry Team

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