Meet Key Staff Leaders
Director of Missions and Outreach & Finance
My passion is proclaiming the gospel locally, nationally and internationally and recruiting individuals of all ages to do it with me. If the next generation is to spend a lifetime of bringing the gospel to the lost, no matter where those without the hope of Christ live, they must be taught at an early age. That is the reason age appropriate mission work is so critical. It gives people of all ages the opportunity to tell someone about Jesus on a mission. As confidence grows, gospel proclamation becomes easier and easier to share at home. I have found people need hope wherever I have traveled—South America, Africa, Central America, and Eastern Europe. Salem’s members bring that hope along with mercy care for people’s bodies.
I am passionate about making sure teenagers know the deep, wide, unconditional and transformative love Jesus has for them, regardless of their life circumstances. It is both a joy and a challenge to reach out to students in our community and local schools in order that they can discover and know that love. When I'm not working with students, I enjoy spending time with friends, with my husband Ryan, traveling, going to sporting events, and hosting get-togethers in my home. I love dark chocolate, baking, a good workout, the Texas Rangers, pumpkin-scented things, and snuggling with my cat, Maverick.
Missions & Outreach Coordinator
Salem Lutheran Church is a place full of life and learning! As the Missions and Outreach Coordinator, I have been able to be a part of many different ministry aspects during the short time I have worked at Salem. I joined the Salem family in May 2014 and have since enjoyed leading the youth in missions and organizing Salem’s expanding age-appropriate missions. It is a joy to help and watch our church congregation be empowered to make Jesus real, ONE life at a time. Also, as a 2013 graduate of Texas A&M University, I love anything that has to do with cheering on my Aggies! Whoop! A unique thing about me is my love to bounce and skip around Salem, using my energy to make people smile :)
I am Salem's Executive Director. I started here in July 2011 and moved here from Sugar Land with my wife and daughter where we had lived for 6 years. I love getting to hang out with students at football games, concerts, retreats and everything in between. My favorite food is macaroni and cheese and I have never been a fan of long walks on the beach; short strolls are okay though. If I could trade places with anyone in the world for a day it would be with a fighter jet pilot because that would just be really cool. When I am not at work, I enjoy taking walks with my family, working out, and watching college sports, especially anything dealing with Texas A&M! Whoop!
I feel incredibly blessed to be serving in ministry at Salem, particularly in the role of mentoring up-and-coming worship leaders and musicians in Student Ministries. After studying at Concordia University in Irvine, California and serving in their campus ministry, I graduated with a degree in music. I was blessed to be called to serve as a worship leader at Salem in 2009. Since then I’ve continued to be blessed EVEN MORE by meeting the woman of my dreams, Kirsten, and marrying her in 2012. We've wasted no time and are now raising 3 beautiful children: Grayson, Lilly, and Maya. When I’m not up at Salem I love home-brewing with my father-in-law, watching films, and diving whole-heartedly into various nerdy passions like Star Wars, Batman, Lord of The Rings, etc. the list could go on and on…
Mary Beth Gaertner
I came to Texas as fast as I could! As a native from Ohio and a product of public education, most of my 35 year career in education has been at the private school level. I have taught everything from pre-k to college level and love teaching them all. Having a positive influence on children and the opportunity to extend their thinking is my passion, especially when it comes to how God is at work in their lives. Forever a student, I lead the large team of early childhood and day school staff of 75. I am involved at the state and national levels of Lutheran education, providing seminars and offering mentorship to new principals. I have authored a book entitled "Way to Go," a research based strategy for establishing a positive relationship between parents and teachers. I have appeared on television and radio, sharing my passions for loving kids and parents alike! My professional awards include being named National Distinguished Principal for 2012 by President Obama and the National Association of Elementary School Principals. I have been married to Dean for 42 years, and together we have two wonderful daughters, two amazing sons in law, and six grandchildren. I love the beach, boating and reading for improvement! Go figure! I like working at Salem because there's never a dull moment. Some thing is always changing!
Director of Worship
Get to know me and you will see proof that Jesus REALLY does love people and Grace abounds! I am as broken as they come, yet I get to lead a team of broken people who work to create environments where people get to meet with God, and that is really awesome. I love Formula 1, music, football, tweaking, watching my wife go “all Aggie” during football games, and sharing snow cones with my daughter. Before entering ministry, I spent 16 years as an attorney in Houston doing commercial litigation…go ahead, ask me if I miss it!
Director of Financial Services
“What if..?” Is probably my favorite question to ask as I work with Salem members and dream about what could be accomplished on a grand scale for God’s Kingdom with a little bit of planning. Helping people discover the heart of God revealed through their generosity is the greatest benefit I enjoy in my role as a Christian gift planner. Over my long tenure at Salem, I have been privileged to watch God take Salem from a small, but passionate, country church to the exciting and vibrant ministry it is today, accomplishing it all through the power of His love for us in Jesus and the offerings of His people. In addition to giving, I like a good book, good humor, and good friends.
Minister of Missions and Outreach
Why do I love my job so much? Because for me, it doesn’t get any better than seeing a person turn on to Christ… or to witness another congregation get excited about sharing Christ. And as Minister of Missions and Outreach, I get to see this all the time — here in Texas and around the world. I enjoy sharing Christ here in our community and seeing others do it, too… and partnering with other churches in projects that help them reach out to their community. Salem has such a huge outreach heart… I love our church!
I was born & raised in Tomball, I am a lifelong 8th generation Salem member, making my daughter Adalyn a 9th generation member. Our roots run deep and it is so humbling & comforting all at the same time. It is such an honor to be able to serve at this amazing place so many call Salem and I call home. I began working in the Nursery in 1998 and was blessed to become the Director in 2007. I had the opportunity to grow up under and work with some of what we call “the best of the best” the greatest thing about it still to this day I get that amazing opportunity and we just keep adding to this dynamic team. I have learned so many valuable life lessons and have been mentored through so many trials and tribulations. The thing that always amazes me and I believe will continue to amaze me is God’s unfailing, never ending LOVE through it all. God can take this very broken person and turn it into good to serve his smallest children and so much more. One of my greatest passions in life is to teach and show God’s smallest ones how great His love for them is and that Jesus wants to be their very best friend no matter what. And that yes even infants can learn that Jesus loves them! The thing I love most about kids is that they keep it real they are honest and tell it like it is, kids are some of my favorite people to talk to. My other passion in life is my amazing daughter Adalyn who reminds me what life is all about daily; what a great blessing she is.
Director of Children's Ministry
I joined Salem’s staff as Director of Children’s Ministry in May, 2015. I am blessed to be married to Amy, and God has richly blessed our life through our twin boys named Jaden and Cody. We served congregations in Michigan and Montana for almost twelve years before coming to Salem. My passions are Jesus, family, being with people (especially kids!), all sports, playing guitar and singing, board and card games, Survivor, and the Detroit Lions and Tigers. My favorite part of ministry is teaching the stories and truths of God’s Word and applying them to everyday life. Two of my other random favorites are Cracklin’ Oat Bran and playing hide and seek.