About us

Meet Our
Staff

Word of Life Lutheran Church in Surprise, Arizona, is a proud member of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS). We welcome all to come worship with. 

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Pastor Dave Martin

Lead Pastor

Dave & Elisabeth were married in 1987 in Troy, MI and Dave was ordained that same year as well.

 

Dave loves: Spending time with Elisabeth and their children, Music, Exercise and Hiking in the beautiful southwest.

Dave received his Business Administration degree from Wayne State University, Detroit. His desire to help and serve people took him to Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, later furthering his ministry preparation by completing a Doctorate in Church Management at Trinity International University in Deerfield, IL.

  

Before coming to Word of Life in January of 2012, Dave served for 12 years in Troy and 13 years in Plymouth, MI.

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Ericca Stoetzel

Director of Preschool

Learn about our school here >>

Ericca enjoys spending time with her family, walking at the park, and watching football, especially the Iowa Hawkeyes! She has 3 grown children and two grandsons.

 

In her quest to serve children and their families through ministry in a Christian school setting, Ericca attended Iowa Wesleyan College completing her National Administrator Credentials for early childhood education. She has worked in administration for more than 15 years and has served as teacher and leader in Christian education for more than 30 years.  Ericca has been blessed to be an important part in helping to build Christian schools in both Iowa and Arizona. 

The words of Jesus in Matt. 18:5 sums up Ericca’s focus, passion and direction for life and ministry. “Whoever welcomes a little child in My name, welcomes Me.”

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Becky Brewer

Business Manager

Becky and her husband, Mike, live in Surprise. They have two married sons with families. (One in Colorado, the other Surprise). Becky and Mike enjoy spending time with family – especially their three young grandchildren.

 

Becky retired from the banking industry in 2004 and almost immediately began a 2nd career in church business management. She joined the staff here at Word of Life in 2012 and has been a fantastic ministry addition.

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Gabby Vargus

Nursery Attendant

Gabby has 4 children and 5 grandchildren, they are the love of her life.

 

She has 30+ years of experience in childcare and teaches preschool at Word of Life. Gabby has a God given love for children. Her greatest joy is teaching children about Jesus and showing them God's love each and every day.

Rachel Nelson

Communications and Video Coordinator

Rachel is a Financial Math Teacher at Valley Vista High School.  She has been teaching for 14+ years, and has a degree in Communications/Theatre Arts and Mathematics in Secondary Education.  She also has 2 Masters Degrees in Education.  throughout her career she has dabbled in technology, and found that she was rather good at constructing and editing videos.

Rachel has 2 children and a loving husband.  She is originally from Michigan.

Chris Cornum

Coordinator for Special Needs Ministry

As members of the Word of Life community for 10 years, Chris and her husband Rick have been married for 47 years. They have 2 children and 2 precious granddaughters. Chris enjoys cooking, creating seasonal crafts, entertaining friends and family, and trips to her Prescott get away with her husband.

Chris Cornum is a retired paraprofessional educator with 26 years of experience serving Special Needs Children affected with Developmental Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Her role as a Lead Paraprofessional in the Washington Elementary School District also included training other paraprofessionals and providing classroom support for teachers implementing teaching strategies for their mainstreamed students. Chris believes in advocating for Special Needs Children to have opportunities to participate in activities with their peers.


Chris completed a 2 year course of study towards certification as a Developmental Disabilities Specialist in May of 2000. She then received specialized training for High Functioning Individuals with Autism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in June of 2001. In December of 2004, she was the recipient of a Mini-Grant for a communication program and materials for preschool students with autism and communication disorders.


As members of the Word of Life community for 10 years, Chris and her husband Rick have been married for 47 years. They have 2 children and 2 precious granddaughters. Chris enjoys cooking, creating seasonal crafts, entertaining friends and family, and trips to her Prescott get away with her husband.

Preschool Staff:
What We
Believe

God is three persons in one (Trinity): The Father, who created and sustains the world; the Son, who lived as a perfect human being and was also God’s Son who died, and rose from the dead; and the Holy Spirit who brings faith and works God's will in the world.  Matthew 28:18-21

The Bible is the Inspired, Inerrant, and Infallible word of God, spoken through human writers. It is the sole authority, guide and standard for all that we do. 

2 Peter 1:20-21; 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Sin exists in every person. It is the cause of the bad things people do to each other.  Romans 5:12, 18-19

Everyone will have existence after death - either in heaven or hell - forever and without end. God has a plan to end the world, when He will judge everyone - both the living and the dead.  Matthew 25:31-46

Grace Alone - God loved the world, though we do not deserve His love. He sent His Son to love the unlovely and save the ungodly. Ephesians 2:8-10

Faith Alone - Jesus has provided for our forgiveness and life; those who hear this promise and believe it, have what it offers. God “gives” faith through the promises that he gives in the Bible.  Romans 1:16-17

Scripture Alone - The Bible is the only source that shows God's will and the only basis for faith.  2 Timothy 3:16-17

Baptism (for children and adults) and Communion are a means by which God gives people His grace.  The Bible never says God’s promises only hold true for adults or for those who are able to understand. Our right standing with God does not depend on our decision to come to Him, but rather on His coming to us and our allowing him a place in our life. Acts 2:38-39; Matthew 26:26-28

God is loving and that He offers forgiveness and eternal life as a free gift because of Jesus Christ. Salvation Is a free gift. We believe that no matter how hard we try, we cannot earn God's forgiveness or a place in heaven. It is a free gift we receive only through faith in Jesus Christ.  Galatians 2:15-21; Ephesians 2:8-10

BOARD of 
Ministry Directors

Don Miller - President

Gary Murray - Vice President

Bruce Bertram - Secretary

Allen Marsh - Treasurer

Tom Dombrovski

Pat Mihm

Bob Schmidt

Doug Sonnenberg

John Yancy