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.
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. In the past she has served dutifully as Administrative Liaison for Leadership in the Office of the Bishop of the Southeastern Synod, ELCA. There she was involved with candidacy, the 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.
Janjay Innis, Director of Faith Formation
I come to St. John’s as a wanderer who has been able to find and feel at home in all the places that God has led me. I was born in Kansas City, Missouri, when my dad came to the United States as an international student. After seminary, my parents were intentional about doing ministry with their people and so I spent my early childhood in Liberia, West Africa, where my faith formation began. Though I left Liberia through a traumatic experience escaping its civil war, being Liberian and African is very much part of my identity.
I grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts. After high school, I earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Master of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology. Post seminary, I served as a Global Mission Fellow, The United Methodist Church’s young adult mission program as a Social Justice Advocate at Tacoma Community House, a nonprofit that offers wraparound social services for refugees, immigrants and low-income families in Tacoma, Washington. In that work, I helped Tacoma Community House integrate social change into the dynamic social service work they were champions of through the implementation of immigrant advocacy and civic engagement programs. My work as a Social Justice Advocate is something I am still unpacking because it was where faith theory, sometimes confrontationally and at other times effortlessly met the practice of faith.
Before coming to St. John’s, I served as Nurture Pastor at The Nett Church, A United Methodist congregation in Lilburn, Georgia where I oversaw faith formation and pastoral care for the congregation and the community.
Though I was raised and shaped by the United Methodist Church, I am looking forward to learning more about the Lutheran Church; but beyond denominationalism, I am looking forward to creating a space with you, where people can belong, wrestle with faith authentically and can grow in the love of God and neighbor. Faith formation is a lifelong journey and I am grateful to be on staff at this dynamic church, comprised of dynamic people with whom I am excited to accompany on this journey. With Christ above, beneath, in front, behind, beside and within us as inspired by the old Celtic blessing, we will succeed in creating a glimpse of heaven on earth.
Glen Eckman, Church Administrator
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.
Heather Wallace (Chair)
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.
Lisa Dickman Jackson
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.
The treasurer reports to finance on income and spending, and is responsible for making sure payments and salaries are made.
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.
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.
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.
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.
At-Large Council Member
At-Large Council Member
At-Large Council Member