About Us

  • District Superintendent

    Rick Thompson     |     gld@gld-efca.org     |     574-299-9711
    Rick and Jan Thompson met at Wheaton Graduate School and their first year of marriage was on campus at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.  After thirteen years serving the Hope Evangelical Free Church of Dubuque, Iowa, God called them to Moscow, Russia from 1992-1997 as the EFCM Eurasia Director and a senior pastor of Moscow Bible Church. Rick served as the EFCA district superintendent in Texas from 1997-2004 and now with the Great Lakes District since April of 2004.  { READ MORE }

  • Director of church Multiplication and Admin

    Brett Gleason     |     brett@startchurches.org     |     847-840-6686
    Brett is a member of the Orchard EFC and serves as Director of Church Multiplcation and Administration for the GLD.  Brett grew up in West Des Moines, Iowa.  He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from the University of Iowa in 1996 and a Masters of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in December 2002.  Brett and his wife Stephanie have four children and reside in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.

  • NORTHERN ILLINOIS REGIONAL SUPERINTENDENT

    Daniel Grell     |     dgrell49@gmail.com     |     512-626-4194

    Daniel began ministry in 1974. An MDiv graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, he served as Associate Pastor, Senior Pastor, missionary in Austria, Germany and England, and in mission leadership at the EFCA Headquarters in Minneapolis. As regional superintendent his desire is to wisely serve the EFCA churches in Northern Illinois drawing upon his various experiences in ministry.  Daniel and his wife, Gloria, also a graduate of TEDS, have five children and eleven grandchildren.

  • THE LAKES REGIONAL SUPERINTENDENT (MIchigan)

    Harvey Pflug     |     harvey.pflug@gld-efca.org     |     513-235-8824

    Harvey graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He and his wife Jenny joined the staff of Campus Crusade, serving for 31 years in college ministry, Athletes in Action, International ministry and in Human Resources. He also completed a Masters in Biblical Studies at the International School of Theology. For the past 14 years he has served as an Associate Pastor, Executive and Lead Pastor at Faith Church in Milford, Ohio. Harvey & Jenny have three married children and seven grandchildren. His passion is to minister to pastors, and church staff and leaders creating healthy environments for effective ministry.

  • HEARTLAND REGIONAL SUPERINTENDENT  (EASt IL, IN & OH)

    Bob Blahnik     |     bobb@gld-efca.org     |     317-997-3812

    Bob is a graduate of Iowa State University and worked as a US Army Officer and businessman before obtaining his M.Div. in Counseling from Denver Seminary. He has served as a Christian Counselor, Senior Pastor, Retreat Leader for Sonscape Retreats and most recently as Associate Pastor of Faith Church in Indianapolis. He currently serves as the Heartland Region C Superintendent which includes churches in Western Ohio, Eastern Illinois and Indiana. Bob and his wife Jeanne have 3 married children, 6 grandkids and live in Brownsburg, IN.

  • HEARTLAND AREA SUPERINTENDENT (CENTRAL IL)

    Mark Balmer     |     mark.balmer@parkhillsefc.org     |     815-232-6159

    Mark originally joined the pastoral staff of Park Hills EFC in 1997 and initially served as the high school youth pastor.  Prior to being on staff there, he served at an Evangelical Church in Sarasota, Florida and Twain Harte, California.  Mark has a B.A. degree from Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia and extensive post graduate work in Biblical Studies.  Mark assumed the Lead Pastor position at Park Hills EFC in the spring of 2007.  He and his wife, Charmaine, have five children.

  • CHICAGOLAND ETHNIC AREA SUPERINTENDENT

    Bill Reed     |     therxrev@aol.com     |     708-846-3320

    Bill served South Suburban EFC as a tentmaking pastor for 16 years before joining the staff of the GLD as a regional superintendent. His many years of ministry  with the GLD (since December 1999)  have been extremely gratifying as he has been able to pursue and bring to fruition his driving passion of being a pastor to pastors.  { READ MORE }

  • CHURCH PLANTING CATALYST

    Luis Martinez     |     luismartinez777@gmail.com     |     515-708-4000

    The Puerto Rican from New York City meets Susan, the Swedish/English gal from Lee, Mass. and they got married in England while Luis was serving in the Air Force during the Viet Nam War. You can understand why God called them to Multi-ethnic ministries in the EFCA.  Luis & Susan have served (since 1979) in five churches in California, on National EFCA Teams (Hispanic, Diversity) and as Multi-Ethnic Director for the Central District (2007-June 2014). Since he has a “green card” signed by President Bill Hamel, he has the joy of serving in the Great Lakes District as Church Planting Catalyst.   Luis and Susan look forward to building relationship with the 15 churches and church plants in the Indy area.  He has a vision to plant other ethnic ministries and equipped pastors and leaders in their ministries.

  • HISPANIC MINISTRIES

    Ricardo Palmerin     |     ricardo.palmerin@efca.org     |     630-670-7531

    Ricardo and his wife Josefina served as national staff of Inter-Varsity CF of Mexico by four years and they were planters of the First EFC of Mexico 1988-1996. They have two children. Ricardo earned his Bachelor degree in Engineering and diploma in Theology in Mexico City, and he earned his Master of Divinities from the Northern Baptist Seminary in 1999. He is serving with the Great Lakes District as Director for the Hispanic Ministries, and he is part of the national leadership team of the EFCA Gateway Theological Institute.

  • CHURCH  CONSULTANT

    Knute Larson     |     knutelarson@gmail.com     |     330-618-6316

    Knute likes the title "coach" for his ministry with pastors and churches around our GLD, but also when he teaches pastoring at Trinity, Grace, and Moody.  He pastored 43 years, the last 26 at The Chapel in Akron, Ohio.

  • DIRECTOR OF MINISTRY TO WOMEN

    Gloria Grell     |     gloria.grell@gld-efca.org     |     512-626-9616

    For more than 30 years Gloria has enjoyed mentoring younger women, teaching women God's Word, equipping women to fulfill God's purposes, and leading women's ministry teams. She earned a Masters of Divinity degree in 1985 and a Doctor of Ministry degree in 2016, both from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Gloria serves the leaders of Ministry to Women in our district by encouraging, consulting, and equipping them for their ministries. She and her husband Daniel have five adult children and eleven grandchildren.

  • Pastors' wives

    Jan Thompson     |     jancthompson@gmail.com     |     630-881-7050

    Jan and her husband Rick, our GLD Superintendent, live in the Chicago area. Initially, their shared vision for ministry led them to Iowa and Moscow, Russia to establish churches. Then the Lord led them to the EFCA Texas, and now Great Lake Districts Superintendent roles. Jan is the team leader of the GLD Pastors’ Wives’ Ministry with the goal to connect, encourage and resource each one. She enjoys writing and leading retreats and seminars. Rooted Woman of Valor, her first published book, is available on Amazon. 

  • DIRECTOR OF STUDENT MINISTRIES

    Dan Sommer     |     dsommer@thechapel-efc.org     |     269-921-5491

    Dan graduated from TIU in 1995 with a B.A. in youth ministry and has since served in full time student ministries for more than 20 years.  He presently serves as Pastor of Student Ministries at The Chapel EFC in Saint Joseph, MI.  He has been serving as the Director of Student Ministries of the GLD since 2013.  His passion is to see Youth Pastors thrive in their local church context and their student ministries maximizing leaders to reach and release the emerging generation with the gospel.   He and his wife, Jen, have two daughters.

  • Stewardship

    Brian Ogne     |     brianogne@elknet.net    |     262-215-5011

    Brian is the former Executive Director of Timber-lee Christian Center.  He served in that role for over 30 years.  He holds the title now of President Emeritus. His current role is “Connecting People with Ministry” through Ogne Resources, LLC, serving churches and para church ministries in Stewardship/ Development in the Great Lakes District. Brian's mission is "honoring our past, cultivating our present, and preparing for our future".  Brian and Barbara Ogne attend and serve at Calvary Community Church in Williams Bay, WI.

  • CREDENTIALING & CHURCH PLANTING ASSISTANT

    Susan Eclov     |     susan@gld-efca.org    |     847-295-7707

    Susan serves as the credentialing assistant and church planting assistant to Brett Gleason. She has worked in this capacity since 2006. She is a graduate of Trinity College and married to Lee Eclov, senior pastor of Village Church of Lincolnshire EFC.  They have one son, Andy.

  • Accounting

    Mathew Mathai     |     mmmathai@comcast.net     |     574-329-9733

    Mathew has served the GLD since 2003. Prior to this, he taught Computer Applications and Accounting Software. Mathew and his family immigrated from India to U.S twenty five years ago and now live in Osceola, IN.  He earned his Master's Degree in Commerce from Bhopal University, India and also has Associate Degrees in Computer Information Systems and Accounting from Ivy Tech Community College, South Bend, IN.  He and his wife Ammu have been married for thirty six years and have two children, Sherin, Monsu and two grand kids.

  • gld Office

    Amanda Bruney     |     gld@gld-efca.org     |     574-299-9711

    Amanda has worked for the Great Lakes District since August of 2002.  She has a Bachelors degree from Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana.  Amanda and her husband Jeff have 2 children, Mya and Gavin, and reside in Northern Michigan.