John Brown, Senior Pastor
I grew up in a small rural Iowa town but not with a typical farm town mindset. My early years shaped me into a truth-seeking, music loving rebel with a poet’s rhythm and a philosopher’s beat.
My attitude toward the Lord and my concept of God were negative and narrow. I did not make room for a divine creator in ‘my universe’ and I had no use for his Book, which I considered to be a bunch of fables and fairytales. I had no thought of every going to church or relating to God. He however, had other ideas.
My wife asked me to go to church with her and our two little ones and of course I refused. She said if you love me you will go with me. I was without choice because I did love her so with great reluctance I went to church. A series of events followed and a day later, sitting in the pastor’s office, I had an encounter with the Living God. In a micro-second the Lord revealed to me that the truth I was seeking was not a philosophy of life but a person. In an instant I knew that Jesus was the truth and that I had been wrong about Him from the outset. I was magnificently changed, forgiven and empowered that day in March of 1974. He revolutionized my life and I have not gotten over it yet! Thank God!
John grew up in Griswold, IA and attended college at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, MO. He was dramatically saved in the spring of 1974 at the age of 24. In addition to pastoring the church, John serves on the servant leadership team of the Citywide Prayer Movement in Kansas City, and as a regional director and board member for the Midwest Minister’s Fellowship — an organization representing dozens of churches and pastors in the Heartland.
John has served Harmony Vineyard since 1993 and has also pastored in St. Joseph, MO as well as done youth ministry and Christian radio. John offers a unique blend of Biblical insight, practical wisdom and timely humor that captures the attention of his listeners opening a way for the Holy Spirit to apply the truth to their hearts. John and his wife Kathie were married in 1970 and have two married daughters and five grandchildren.
Listen to Pastor John’s story
Doug Day, Executive Pastor
As the son of a Baptist preacher, I grew up going to church three times week — sometimes more than that. (Sounds like fun — I know.) I had an honest experience with Jesus as an eight year boy when a missionary visited our church. Somehow, my heart knew that God was real, He wanted to be my friend and He had special dreams for my life. As a teenager I engaged in lots of fun and spiritually invigorating activities with my friends from church. These were exciting and memorable times, to be sure.
However, as I matured through college and had the opportunity to travel overseas, my faith was tested. I all too easily slipped into a lifestyle of self-centeredness, making my desires and impulses the measure of personal happiness. Selfishness can lead a person to do some pretty ugly things. Fortunately, I was mercifully protected from myself time and time again, but not so much that I don’t have my genuine regrets. Here’s the funny thing. You’d think that a good church kid could easily go back to God, ask for forgiveness and all would be made right. That’s what you’d think, but that’s not always the case. For me, this wasn’t easy at all. The truth is that a person who walks away from a relationship with God is often more self-condemned than others.
The sense of my unworthiness was over-whelming. Questions raged through my mind like, “Do you actually think God will take you back after you simply walked away?” “After all God did for you, how could you even consider that He’d be kind to you now?” It was true — I was completely undeserving of God’s acceptance and forgiveness. It was true — I had simply walked away from the single best friend I’d ever had. The truth of my personal failure was staggering. What I’d not counted on, though, was far more staggering.
Through a series of events, I was reacquainted with the unconditional love of God as my Father. Jesus tells a story in Luke 15 about the extravagant love that a Father had for his son, who had made some pretty bad choices. This was my experience, too. I’ll never forget the day that I was confronted with the almost unintelligible truth of God’s extravagant love for me — in spite of my personal failures and mistakes. I came to know and enjoy God’s love in a more meaningful way than ever before. And, it is the knowledge of His commitment to me that continually causes me be pause, shake my head and say it again, “Staggering.” Do you know the love of God this way? You can.
Doug joined the Harmony staff full-time in August of 2008. Before then he served as Harmony’s Worship Pastor for more than ten years in a part-time capacity. He continues to hold a position on the eldership team and has been part of Harmony since 1990. Prior to joining the church leadership team on a full-time basis, Doug worked at a marketing firm for 15 years holding the position of vice president of field marketing and overseeing one of the agencies strategic divisions. At heart, Doug is a leader who greatly desires to serve within a community of authentic believers and to see God’s purposes fulfilled in his lifetime. He adores his family and has an amazing wife, Julie, and two spectacular daughters, Abigail and Megan.
Wes Parker, Worship Arts Pastor
I grew up in a wonderful home and I am very blessed to have a father and mother who loved and affirmed me. My dad was a bi-vocational music minister in Southern Baptist churches & my mother was very involved in that ministry with him. So, Sunday mornings, Wednesday & Sunday nights our family was at church. I guess you could say, “If the door was open, we were there.” I remember as a 7 year old, being in church and singing the words “I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus, the Nazarene and wondered how he could love me, a sinner, condemned, unclean.” At that moment, God gave me a realization of His great unconditional love for me and my unworthiness to receive His love. I knew that God’s love had reached out to me and rescued me from my own sin and selfishness, that Jesus had paid the price for my sins by His death on the cross and that His great love was calling me out of my spiritual darkness into His light.
I knew that I was a Christian from that point on, but other things crowded out my spiritual senses and I wasn’t living my life as a follower of Christ. However, at age 16, I had a life changing encounter with the Lord and I became a follower of Jesus.
I have never regretted for one moment my decision to follow Jesus and living life as a Christian has not been dull or problem free. The exciting thing about the Christian life is that God brings change from the inside out; He changes our hearts with His powerful, unconditional love and helps us deal with issues, attitudes and negative patterns that need to change in our lives. If you haven’t experienced God’s amazing love, I encourage you to pray and ask Jesus to reveal Himself to you.
Deborah Shanks, Administrative Pastor
My earliest memories include being at The Salvation Army Corps (church). I am told I started attending church at the age of 3 years. Witnesses report that I was an active and talkative pre-schooler. The love and acceptance of those ministering to me in this very small rural Canadian setting made a significant impact upon me. By the age of eight years, I remember thinking I wanted to be just like the Officers (Pastors) and do what they were doing.
That became my first awareness of being called into ministry. Kindness, fun, love, and involvement made deep impressions upon me. I became aware of my need for Jesus around 7 years of age and became a junior member of the church. Membership required that I promise to pray, read my Bible, abstain from tobacco, alcohol, and other injurious habits. While I don’t think I understood all the words, I did work at staying true to my promises. My early teen age years were spiritually challenging because of the influence of school teachers.
By eighteen I had determined that I would obey and commit my life to ministry full time with The Salvation Army. Over the twenty-one years with the Army, I learned how much I needed to depend upon the Lord to deal with the ministry challenges. There were huge learning curves and very challenging moments where spiritually I was stretched beyond comfort, yet the Lord was faithful. 1997 was the year I married Don and moved to Kansas City area. Waiting to obtain my Permanent Residency status I had a few years sabbatical which I thoroughly enjoyed.
In 2002 I was led to start a mentoring ministry to women in the Northland called New Creations in HIM Ministries, Inc. Along with that ministry I joined Harmony’s ministry staff as Children’s Pastor and then moved over to my current position as Administrative Pastor. Through all the various ministry opportunities the Lord has proven faithful in the dark and challenging experiences as well as the exciting, fun, and stretching times. God is good all the time; all the time God is good. He has proved Himself to be faithful in every circumstance.
Ryan Snow, Youth Pastor
My story as a spiritual mutt had it’s beginnings at birthplace in Cincinnati, OH— my mom was of conservative Jewish descent (we can trace our family line back to being direct descendants of Aaron and Moses) and my father was from Catholic origins. I wasn’t sure which way was “up” as far as Jesus went- was He God’s Son or wasn’t He? I was raised in a loving but confused family spiritually that either way was not very devout in their respective faiths. There definitely was a reverence for the sacred but not much guidance on which way was the Way.
God began moving in my heart somehow the summer before my 8th grade year via a dream I had and some other circumstances; and later on that school year I met the guy who became my lifelong best friend and eventually led me to Christ in a fairly charismatic church when we were in 9th grade. From there it was on- I became very entrenched in my pursuit of Jesus- I was very rough around the edges (many who know me will suggest I still am!). But I could not deny the power of change that had occurred in my heart and that which was still and still is pulling at my heart— I wanted to tell everyone about it and still do! I felt called from day one to tell and teach others about Christ’s love. So upon graduation of high school I enrolled at the artist formerly known as Cincinnati Bible College (now dubbed Cincinnati Christian University) and then proceeded to work at a few Vineyard Churches. I told you I was a mutt! It was in my Jewish roots I discovered the timelessness of God, in my Catholic teachings the Unity of the Body, in the Charismatic/quasi-Pentecostal church that I encountered the Holy Spirit, in the Church of Christ that I found the need for sound doctrine and in the Vineyard where I found the balance of the “Radical Middle”. So here we are.
Finally, after 6 years in part-time and full-time youth ministry and then 7 years of full-time work as a Real Estate Appraiser in the business world while learning how to be a Godly husband and dad, I am back in the full-time youth ministry, literally halfway across the country, here at Harmony along with my amazing wife, Karla and our three sweet and dear children, Olivia, Elijah and Sophia.
I was raised in a Christian home in Los Angeles, CA. My dad was a deacon, and my mother was a Sunday School teacher in a Missionary Baptist Church. I remember going to church every time the doors were open. But just going to church wasn’t really enough for me. The Holy Spirit began to deal with me about where I would spend eternity. I struggled for two nights with this because I knew that I was lost and needed Jesus as my Savior. I didn’t know exactly how to express my needs to the Lord., but I wanted Him to come into my heart and life and be my Lord and Savior. I will never forget that time and place in my life.
After a few years in college I served my country in Viet Nam with the U.S. Navy. After that I went to work for the airline industry and worked there for 43 years at Continental, TWA, and American Airlines. Eventually my job led us to Kansas City, Missouri.
In 1989 I encountered a whole new dimension in my Christian life when I experienced the fullness of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2, Romans 5:5). In October 1990 the Lord called me into the ministry. I knew I needed to further my education, so I attended Southwestern Assemblies of God University in
Waxahachie, Texas through correspondence classes. I received my licenses and ordination with the International Ministerial Fellowship in Minneapolis, MN. My first ministry position was as Adult Singles Pastor at Harbor Church Assembly of God in Lomita, CA. I next served as Associate Pastor and director of small groups for the First Assembly of God in Wilmington, CA. At the same time I was employed by TWA in Los Angeles. We thought everything was great, and it was until TWA decided to move us to Kansas City, Missouri. But the Lord had great plans for us!
We pastored New Joy Fellowship in Gladstone, Missouri for six years. While doing this, I was also chairman for the American Airlines Christian Employee Resource Group (CERG), Kansas City. I was then elected National President for CERG, 2006-2007.
After attending Tiffany Fellowship Assembly of God for a few years, the Lord led us to Harmony Vineyard church.
Since 1988 I have been married to my bride Linda. We have two sons and one granddaughter. The Lord has been so good to us.
Roger Hanson, Elder
Roger’s life was changed for eternity when he experienced the salvation of Christ in 1974 in his home town of St. Joseph, Mo. He and his wife, Sylvia became a part of Harmony in 1994, where he serves as a part of the eldership. His oversight and responsibilities at Harmony include the Communion service team, Sunday morning pre-service prayer sessions, and head over the monthly Revelatory Gifting group meeting. In the business community, Roger is a manager for a prominent steel fabrication firm. Roger and Sylvia have been married for over forty years and have a daughter and two granddaughters.
Tim Gerdts, Elder
Tim serves on the eldership team and has been part of Harmony since 1987. Tim provides oversight to the computer and web operations at the church as well as the Phase II, Phase III, and Phase IV ministries. Outside the walls of Harmony Tim is Vice President of a food brokerage company called Harvest Midwest.. Tim is married to Andrea with whom he was the privilege of raising their 5 wonderful children (Samuel, Emma, Claire, Abigail, and David).