District Youth Gathering Bible Study

Large Group Bible Study


Meet the speakers who will be leading our Large Group Bible Studies at the Gathering.  The letter on your wristband will determine which room and speaker your group attends.

Remkea Ockander
Remkea currently serves as youth director at Divine Shepherd in Omaha.  She has taught in Lutheran high schools in Missouri, Louisiana, and Texas and loves sharing and teaching others about her Savior.  She loves her nieces, nephews, and her cat and would love to show you her extraordinary skill of being able to rub her head while patting her belly!

Matt Wingert
Matt is the Director of Youth Ministry at Christ Lutheran in Norfolk. Matt is married to Angela, a Lutheran school teacher, and together they have a 2 and a half year old baby girl named Grace, and another on the way! Matt’s superpowers include unicycling, balloon animals, making his wife laugh, and eating Mexican food. Matt gets his super strength from the Word of God, Dave Matthews Band, and the love of his family.

 Rev. Mark Kiessling
The Rev. Mark R. Kiessling serves as director of LCMS Youth Ministry. In that role, he works closely with the LCMS Youth Gathering and supports the leadership, service, resourcing and networking functions of LCMS Youth Ministry. Through this work, LCMS Youth Ministry strives to support congregational revitalization and provides support for young people in Lutheran churches.

Bethany Werner
Bethany serves as Director of Children’s Ministry at Messiah Lutheran Church in Lincoln.  She graduated from Concordia University Nebraska in 2011 after completing her Director of Christian Education internship at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Louisville, KY.  She served there as DCE for Youth and Family Ministry for three years.  She married Michael in 2013 and he was called to teach band at Lincoln Lutheran the summer of 2014.  She took the call to Messiah after their move to Lincoln. 

Gary Thies
Gary is director of Mission Central.  Gary Thies of Mapleton, Iowa, took a leap of faith in 1994 and quit his job as Mapleton Bank president and became the first LCMS Mission Development Counselor. In that role, he visits LCMS congregations and individuals to inform and excite them about missions and to encourage them to adopt, financially and through prayer, a specific mission project or missionary. He also presents opportunities for people to become personally involved in missions through prayer support, volunteering their skills and abilities, full-time service, gifts, and offerings.


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