Josh Vahle is our Senior Pastor. He and his wife Julie have have been married since August 2003, and both grew up in Quincy through high school. God has blessed them with three children on earth, Samuel (8), Adelaide (5), and Jerram (2), and two others who are already with Jesus in heaven as a result of two miscarriages they experienced. Josh loves being known by Jesus in close friendship (John 15:15), playing and snuggling with his children, and dating Julie (when they make time for it!) to deepen their life-long partnership forged and strengthened by God as best friends. He also enjoys playing tennis, hanging out with friends old and new while enjoying good food and drink, and learning from all kinds of books by listening to them through his phone.
Josh also loves serving Jesus as a Pastor and Equipper of God’s people at The Congo, seeking to live his whole life as a humble, gentle, willing, joyful, thankful, prayerful, bondservant of Jesus, imperfect yet always learning and growing by God’s Sufficient Grace to boast in his weaknesses so that the power of Christ would rest on him (2 Corinthians 12:8-10; Mark 10:42-44). Josh admits he is most definitely a work in progress and would appreciate your prayers as he seeks to fulfill The Calling God has placed on his life.
Josh began his service at The Congo in June 2018 following in the beautiful footsteps of Chuck Hetzler, our previous Senior Pastor. God used Chuck’s prayerful and gentle leadership to powerfully revive First Union Congregational Church from 2013-2018. Josh’s desire is to continue to build upon the re-built spiritual foundation laid down by Chuck, Bruce, Dan, and each of the rest of God’s chosen precious people at The Congo, which is Jesus Christ Himself (1 Corinthians 3:5-17).
Josh has served in full-time ministry as a Pastor since 2008 when he received a Master of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, with an emphasis in Pastoral Counseling. Before this, he received a Bachelor of Arts in 2003 from Concordia University Wisconsin majoring in Pastoral Ministry. Josh first served as a Campus Minister to college students at The University of Iowa from 2008-2013 working for Reformed University Fellowship (RUF), the Campus Ministry of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). RUF is also the ministry God used to help Julie become a true follower of Jesus during College at The University of Missouri-Columbia, before Josh and Julie started dating. In 2013, God Called Josh and Julie to move to Chapin, South Carolina (just outside of Columbia) where Josh served as an Assistant Pastor (Spiritual Life Pastor) at Chapin Presbyterian Church. Josh and Julie are deeply grateful for the beautiful friendships God gave them and the invaluable lessons God caused them to learn during their time in Iowa City and Chapin.
Josh is passionate and committed to helping everyone at The Congo learn to be taught personally by God Himself through His Word and the Personal Mentoring of The Holy Spirit (Isaiah 54:13; John 6:44-45; John 14-16), and equipping/training all of Jesus’ followers for their own works of ministry as “priests” who are “the kingdom of God” as “The Body of Christ” building itself up to maturity (Ephesians 4:11-12; Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 2:4-9; Revelation 1:6), with the result of everyone growing together and learning to love Jesus and obey all He originally commanded His disciples in light of Matthew 28:18-20, John 14:15-27, 15:7-17, Mark 1:17, Luke 10:25-37, Matthew 7:11-14, John 13:34-35, and Matthew 9:35-10:1, so that God would use us to send out an abundance of disciple-making disciples as laborers into God’s Harvest Field wherever they live, work, and play, and to the ends of the earth (starting in our neighborhoods in Quincy, Acts 1:8), bringing in a Great Harvest, a Disciple-Making Movement of people, re-born out of Heaven as new creations (John 3), adopted children treasured by God (Galatians 4:4-7) and stored up Heaven as a part of His worldwide church family, as He Promised would happen in John 4:31-38; Luke 8:15; Matthew 6:19-21; 7:7-11; John 7:37-39; Ezekiel 37 & 47; Matthew 25:31-46; and Luke 11:11-13. Nehemiah 8:10. Zechariah 3:6. Hebrews 12:1-4. Philippians 2:10-11. Isaiah 49:5-6. All Hail King Jesus!!!
Dan North is our Pastor for Youth and Young Adults. He and his wife Amy, a physician with Blessing Physician Services, moved to Quincy three years ago. Dan earned his Masters of Divinity at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School with an emphasis on pastoral ministry, and in the years before he took his current post at First Union was extensively involved in both volunteer and professional capacities. The passion of his ministry is to prepare the Youth of First Union to take on the mantle of leadership in God’s Church; challenging and equipping them to become strong voices and positive actors in their world for the King Jesus Christ.
Bruce Rice is our Pastor for Spiritual Care. Bruce brightens everyone’s day! As an endless source of God’s joy and energy, Bruce is also Executive Director and Underwriter of WGCA Christian Radio Station. Bruce enjoys tennis, golf, delights in the closeness of his large family, and treasures spending time with his wife, Maxine. BR and “Mix-Max” have enjoyed ministering together since 1967. They are truly a great gift of God in our congregation.
Whitley Luteru, our Director of Children’s Ministry at The Congo, is a Quincy native and became the Children’s Director in January 2018. She is married to Gabe Luteru and together they have three children: Anyka (9), Warren (4), and Quinn (2). Whitley Graduated from Evangel University with a B.S. in Psychology, and a Minor in Biblical Studies. Whitley has been involved in children’s ministry at a young age, from nursery care at 11 years old to starting a pre-teen ministry in Oklahoma in 2016. If you spend any time with Whitley, you will quickly realize that she is an embodiment of Jesus’ love for the little children in Matthew 19:13-15