God's mission is carried out through a priesthood of all believers. As Lutherans, we believe that church leadership is shared between our staff and lay leaders.
- St John’s dedicated and active staff includes ordained Senior and Associate pastors, Director of Music, Director of Youth, Church Administrator, Office Assistant, and Sexton.
- Equally important is the lay leadership, providing oversight over worship and music, evangelism, outreach, congregational care, learning, property, finance, stewardship, communications and mutual ministry.
Our staff provides the spiritual and the day-to-day leadership of St. John's. They are central to the mission of our congregation.
Rev. Nancy Christensen, Senior Pastor
Rev. Nancy Christensen is the Senior Pastor at St. John’s. Prior to joining St. John's, she served as associate pastor of Worship, Education and Youth and Outreach at Cross and Crown Lutheran Church in Chamblee, GA. Other positions Pastor Nancy has held include assistant to the Bishop of the Southeastern Synod; Mission Developer and Pastor at Epiphany Lutheran Church in Suwanee, GA; Director of Education and Youth at Christ the King Lutheran in Norcross, GA; and Director of Youth Ministries in the South Carolina Synod. Before attending seminary, Pastor Nancy taught language arts in middle school.
Pastor Nancy is an Atlanta native, a graduate of University of Georgia and the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. She explains that her ties to St. John’s go back many years. Her youth groups used to stay overnight at the retreat center. In the late 1990s, when she was involved with the Synod’s efforts to ignite a ministry in the Little 5 Points neighborhood, she reconnected with St. John’s. More recently, she has guest preached here. Now, the Holy Spirit has guided her back to this congregation to this call. We thank God for these blessings and look forward to this new chapter in our church life.
Rev. Beverly Brown Shaw, Associate Pastor
When considered for candidacy in the ELCA, I was asked to come to St. John’s Lutheran Church for an interview. I sat with Megan Jones in a closed-in porch. I remember how beautiful and majestic the whole building was. And I remember how warm and welcoming Megan was. Little did I know that the journey that I traveled to become a called and ordained minister of Word and Sacrament in the ELCA would bring me back to St. John’s Lutheran, right where the journey began! The building is still majestic and beautiful and the members are still warm and welcoming.
I was born and educated in Atlanta, GA. I was born into a faith filled home, the oldest of four children. I am the mother of two children and the grandmother of three. After receiving my primary and secondary education from Atlanta Public Schools, I graduated from Spelman College, Georgia State University and the Interdenominational Theological Center. I attended The Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary with which I am affiliated. I have been uniquely prepared for my journey with the church as I have worked from the pantry to the pulpit and have enjoyed every minute of it. I have been a member of the board of WELCA, the Southeastern Women of the ELCA, and currently serve on the Board of Directors of Lutheran Services of Georgia. I am passionate about my family and the church and its mission. But my greatest passion is my desire that all people should know the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus.
Ministry is not my first career. While raising a family, I worked with the underserved community of Fulton and DeKalb counties as a Registered Nurse, and as a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer with the Regional Perinatal Center at the Grady Health System. While there, I was appointed a clinical associate for the Emory School of Medicine. Upon leaving Grady, I started a small business that provided sonographic testing to doctors’ offices in north Georgia.
I have been the first of many things in my life. I was the first child born to my parents, the first girl to play in my elementary school band, the first woman to lead one congregation, and the first African American to lead another. But the first I am most proud of today is my first call, Associate Pastor, St. John’s Lutheran Church – another first!
Jeanette Burgess, AIM, Director of Music
Jeanette Burgess hails from the Midwest, where she graduated from Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD and became a band director and private instrumental instructor. She moved to the South in 1982 and was commissioned as an Associate in Ministry in 1987 with a specialization in Music and Worship. Prior to arriving at St. John’s, Jeanette was called to congregations in Marietta, Grayson, (Director of Music), and Savannah, GA (Director of Music, Worship, and Education). She came to St. John’s in 2000 and after a few stints as our interim Director of Music, eventually settled into the permanent position. Her full-time call is as Administrative Liaison for Leadership in the Office of the Bishop of the Southeastern Synod, ELCA. There she deals with candidacy, call process, and keeping the roster records for the synod.
Working a job and a half, there’s not much time left to play, but when she gets the chance, Jeanette enjoys reading, art, drama, and shamelessly catering to her blind cat, Keeters.
Myrna Lance, Office Administrator
Myrna Lance is a native Atlantan who has been attending St. John's since the late 1950s. She became church secretary in late 1979 and hasn't looked back. She briefly considered becoming a real estate agent and earned her license but chose to stay at St. John's instead. She likes working at St. John's because she greatly enjoys meeting people and ministering to them. Myrna and her husband Bob have two grown children and seven grandchildren. When not answering phones, creating bulletins, preparing mailings, and being the keeper of St. John's collective memory, Myrna enjoys reading, spending time with her family, and going to the beach. While she has no current retirement date set, it is something she plans to do, just not too soon.
Judy Louie, Administrative Assistant
Judy Louie joined St. John’s in March 2012 as a part-time office support staff member. At the time, she had retired after spending 30 years with AT&T, Lucent and then Alcatel-Lucent. Her primarily role is to maintain our database of church membership and monetary gifts in support of the church Financial Secretary.
Soon after starting at St. John's, Judy was recruited by Goodman Networks, a private wireless communications company, as an Operations VP. She frequently travels to Dallas and other offices. In addition, Judy volunteers at MedShare; a nonprofit that recovers surplus medical supplies and equipment from US hospitals, healthcare distributors and manufacturers for redistribution to underserved healthcare facilities overseas. Born in Hong Kong, Judy calls Philadelphia her home town where her Mom, sister and other family members live. Judy and her partner, Joanie Slotter (a St. John's member), have lived in Atlanta since 1999. P.S. Judy and Joanie celebrated 20 years of togetherness in 2013!
Clyde Payton, Sexton
Clyde Payton has been the part-time Sexton at St. John's since 1998. His primary role is to keep the sanctuary and mansion clean and prepared for worship and the other activities that take place during the week. He also works as a cosmetologist and a musician. Clyde characterizes St. John's as someplace special because of the friendly and caring people who work and worship in this house of God. In his spare time, he enjoys playing in his band and having fun with family.
St. John's Church Council, comprising the pastors, the congregation President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Financial Secretary, ministry chairs and at-large members, serves as the governing body of the congregation. The Council meets on the fourth Thursday of the month; all are welcome to attend.
The secretary is responsible for taking the minutes at each council meeting and for taking notes at other official functions.
Community service is an integral piece of St. John's identity and mission. Our outreach team organizes and conducts numerous service activities throughout the year and helps support other nonprofit organizations.
Theological education is a key part of spiritual formation for all ages. Learning ministry is responsible for planning, coordinating, and conducting Learning Hour (Sunday school) activities and other educational events.
John Yates E-mail
With a 100-year old building, you can bet property is a fully-engaging ministry! The team helps maintain the grounds and keeps our building sustainable.
John Yates E-mail
Stewardship refers to our collective support of the mission through our gifts of time, talents, and money. The Stewardship Team helps us to reflect on what is needed to support the mission, as well as to encourage and coordinate giving and service.
The "E-team" is charged with inviting our neighbors to share in God’s love, welcoming new guests, and initiating new members. They also work to increase our presence in the community.
This team focuses on providing support and care for members of the congregation. This support includes meal trains, visitation, prayer chains, and celebrating the lives and personal ministries of our members.
Finance ministry is responsible for tracking income and expenditures for the ministry of the whole church. This important work involves the crafting of an annual budget and creating forecasts based on donations and spending.
The treasurer reports to finance on income and spending, and is responsible for making sure payments and salaries are made.
The Communications Ministry reaches the congregation and our communities through media in order to inform, inspire, and invite connection in the life and mission of the Church. Through printed newsletters, bulletins, weekly email blasts, our website, blog, and other media, we help to keep everyone up-to-date on events and encourage participation. We often partner with other ministry teams, providing fundamental support to their efforts by facilitating effective communication.
Worship + Music
The Worship & Music Ministry Team is responsible for planning and coordination, in consultation with the pastors, all congregational worship events including special services throughout the church year. The team also provides for the proper care, use and maintenance of the communion ware, the altar furnishings and vestments. The team is responsible for recruiting, supervising and providing training for the lay worship assistants.