Board of Directors

President – Rev. Dr. Steve Turner

Rev. Dr. Steve Turner was elected President of Iowa District West in 2015.  He previously served as second vice president (2000-2015) and has been a member of the Iowa District West Board of Directors since 1994.  Prior to being elected president, Rev. Dr. Turner served as senior pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Algona.  A 1985 graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, President Turner has served in Iowa District West from the time of his first call to the multi-point parish of Trinity, Marcus & Pilgrim, Quimby. Other service includes chairman of the Iowa District West Committee on Lay Ministry; chairman of the Rural Ministry Task Force; chairman of the district Stewardship Committee; Floor Committee chairman for 1991 District Convention; pastoral delegate to the 1989, 1998, and 2004 Synod conventions; past president/member of the Lutheran Family Service of Iowa Board of Directors.

First Vice President – Pastor Paul Egger

Rev. Paul Egger has served as pastor of St. John’s in Galva since 2001.  He previously served congregations in central and southern Illinois.  He is a 1990 graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne and has served as 2nd vice president of IDW since 2015.  He was a circuit visitor from 2009-2015; a pastoral delegate to the Synodical convention (1995, 2007, 2016) and served on a floor committee at the 2016 Synod convention.  He has and is currently serving on several district committees including youth, education and Pastors Conference planning.  He has served as circuit Bible Institute presenter since 2011 and continues to be involved with many community events and committees.  He has been married to his wife Steph for 36 years and they have six children.

Second Vice President – Pastor Jonathan Riggert

Rev. Riggert has served as pastor of Trinity, Cherokee, since December of 2010.  He previously served as associate pastor at Holy Cross in Saint Cloud, MN, for over five years.  He graduated from Concordia, St. Paul in 2001 and from Concordia Seminary in Saint Louis in 2005.  He has enjoyed serving Iowa District West in various ways including as dean of the IDW Senior High Youth Gathering (2012-2016), chaplain at Camp Okoboji for many years, pastoral delegate to the Synod Convention (2013, 2019), and most recently on the IDW Board of Directors as Chairman of the Youth Services Committee (2015-2022).   Within the Cherokee region, he has served as president of the Cherokee County Ministerial Association and as Post 5 Chaplain for the Iowa State Patrol since 2012 along with chaplain duties for Cherokee Police, Sheriff, and Fire Department.   He is blessed with 20 years of marriage to Jocelyn and three children which he enjoys the opportunities of coaching them and other youth through all the local sport seasons.   

Secretary – Pastor Richard Merrill

Pastor Richard Merrill is a 1991 graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  He has served in Iowa District West since his first call as assistant pastor at Zion, Humboldt in 1991.  He currently serves as pastor of the multi-point parish of St. John, St. Paul and Immanuel, Charter Oak.  Pastor Merrill previously served as Mapleton Circuit Visitor from 2010 until he was elected to District Secretary in 2018.  He served as the chairman of the Stewardship & Finances floor committee at the 2015 District Convention and was a delegate to the 2019 Synod Convention.  Since 1997 he has been an active member of the annual Cub Week staff at Camp Okoboji and served on the committee for the 125th Anniversary celebration of the Charter Oak community.

Treasurer – Scott Ernst

Scott Ernst is a CPA and shareholder in Ernst Swedean & Associates, P.C., Sioux City, IA. He and his wife Brenda are members of Redeemer Lutheran Church, Sioux City, IA since 1981. He has held the position of President, Treasurer, and Elder Chairman numerous times at Redeemer and sings in the adult choir. He is also treasurer of the Downtown Kiwanis Club and Whispering Creek Golf Club in Sioux City.

Chairman – Terry Allers

Terry is a native of Keystone, Iowa and was baptized and confirmed at St. John Lutheran in Keystone. Terry married Joleen in 1967 and after graduating from Iowa State University in 1970, Terry and Joleen moved to Fort Dodge, Iowa. In 1979 Terry established Allers Associates Architects and was blessed to have an educational addition for his church, Good Shepherd Lutheran, as his first project. At Good Shepherd, Terry has been active in numerous leadership opportunities. He has also volunteered as co-business manager for Youth Week at Camp Okoboji, PTL Chair at St. Paul Lutheran School, LCEF Architect, and chair of Lutheran Family Service’s Board of Directors.

Chairman, Missions Committee – Pastor Joshua Lowe

Born and raised in Southwest Missouri, Rev. Lowe graduated from Concordia University Nebraska in 2003 and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis in 2008. He is currently pursuing a PhD from Concordia, St. Louis in systematics. Prior to serving at Trinity, Hawarden (2017-present), he served at Trinity in Blue Hill, Nebraska (2009-2015). He has also served on the Alumni Council at Concordia Seminary and was a delegate to the 2016 LCMS Convention. He currently serves as secretary/treasurer of the Hawarden Ministerial Alliance.  He is married to Corinne and the father of three. Pastor Lowe enjoys playing the organ and gardening.

Chairman, Human Care Committee – Pastor Tom Vanderbilt

Rev. Tom Vanderbilt is a native of De Witt, Iowa. He graduated from Concordia University Chicago in 1993 and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis in 1997. Pastor Vanderbilt has previously served congregations in Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Michigan and as an Army Chaplain on active duty. He’s been at Mt. Calvary in Indianola since 2019. He is currently serving also as the Dean of Youth Week at Camp Okoboji and the LWML Zone Counselor for Des Moines East. 

Chairman, Stewardship Committee – Pastor Russ Senstad

Rev. Senstad has served as senior pastor at Redeemer, Sioux City since 2001.  He previously served as Associate Pastor at Redeemer from 1996-2000 and as Sole Pastor of Immanuel, Adair. He graduated from Concordia, Saint Paul in 1988 and from Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis in 1992.  He has served as a Synod reconciler, Dean of Junior High Week at Camp Okoboji, Board of Directors at Camp Okoboji, Circuit Visitor for the Sioux City Circuit, on the IDW Pastor Conference Planning Committee, LWML Zone counselor in the Adair circuit, and on the IDW Board of Directors as Evangelism Chair from 2000-2003.

Chairman, Christian Education Committee – Pastor Ben Dose

Rev. Ben Dose has served at Zion Lutheran Church in Arcadia since 2008. Prior to that, he served at South Shore Trinity Lutheran Church in White Bear Lake, MN from 2003-2008. He graduated from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis in 2003. He has served on Camp Okoboji’s Board of Directors since 2009 as an ordained member and currently serves as the Vice President. He also served on the District Board of Directors from 2012-2015 as the Youth Services Committee Chairman. He has served on the Junior Youth Gathering Committee and as the Circuit Visitor of the Carroll Circuit. He is a husband to Rebecca and father of four.  

Chairman, Youth Services Committee – Pastor Ryan Roehrig

Rev. Ryan Roehrig has served at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Carroll since 2020. He previously served as pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Alta, Iowa for four years (2016-2020). He graduated from Concordia-Seward in 2012 and from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis in 2016. He has served on various district event committees and groups. He has served as Secretary of the District Pastors Conference and a member of the Kapfer Symposium Committee. Pastor Roehrig has served on the Junior Youth Gathering Committee as well as a member of the Youth Services Committee. He has served as pastoral delegate of the 2013 Synod Convention. He is married to Brianne and father of four.

Ordained Minister-At-Large – Pastor Merle Mahnken

Pastor Merle Mahnken has served as pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Schleswig since November 1996. Prior to his election to the IDW Board of Directors, he served as the Denison Circuit Visitor for 22 years. Before coming to Immanuel, he served as the Associate Pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, Wayne, Nebraska, where he also served part-time as a campus pastor at Wayne State College. He is a graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis (1991), Concordia College, Ann Arbor (1987), and St. John’s College, Winfield, Kansas (1986). Pastor Mahnken was a dairy farmer for eight years before attending college. Baptized at the age of ten days, he was blessed with faithful Christian parents, attended a Lutheran parochial school, and marvels at the lovingkindness of God for a sinner such as he. He is an avid gardener, loves to cook and is a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Blues. He is married to Chris, and they have two grown daughters, Sarah and Hannah. Pastor Mahnken’s favorite Bible verse is Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Commissioned Minister-At-Large – Merrilee Sump

Miss Merrilee Sump is Executive Director/Principal at Unity Ridge Lutheran School in Denison, Iowa. She has served schools in Indiana, Missouri, and in Iowa District West for the past 27 years. Miss Sump has served as the National Lutheran School Accreditation Commissioner in IDW since the late 1990s and is currently Vice President of the Iowa Lutheran School Tuition Organization Board (ILSTO).  School improvement and financial development are two areas of interest for her.

Lay Member-At-Large – Dr. Mark Schulz

Dr. Mark Schulz spent his youth as a farm kid near Germantown, Iowa.  He graduated from Iowa State University in 1970 with a degree in Veterinary Medicine and joined a veterinary practice in Hartley, Iowa.   He spent 36 years in a growing practice working with and serving the people of Northwest Iowa.  Mark and his wife, Sue, have lived on an acreage beside the veterinary clinic since they moved to Hartley.  They raised three children and now entertain eight wonderful grandkids.  Mark has attended one LCMS convention and multiple IDW conventions at Camp Okoboji.  He has held most congregational offices at St. Paul’s Lutheran in Hartley, and some multiple times.  Serving others in the name of his loving Savior and Lord is one of Mark’s passions.

Lay Member-at-Large – Tracy Stetzel

Tracy is a member of St. John Lutheran Church in Casey.  Raised in California and Arizona, Tracy came to Iowa in 1975 to attend Iowa State University. She has been a member at St. John for 43 years. Her family includes husband Larry, son James, daughter Leah and her husband Adam, and granddaughters Rosalyn and Vivian. Tracy has been active in the LWML since 1980, serving in various Society, Zone, and District offices, as well as the LWML National Mission Grants Selection Committee from 2015-17. She served on the Iowa District West Missions Committee during her term as the LWML IWD Vice President for Gospel Outreach and Special Focus Ministries. Tracy currently serves as LWML Society President at St. John and is a board member for the Casey Public Library.