Salem Lutheran Church


Dave Whetter
Senior Pastor

Pastor Dave has been serving at Salem Lutheran Church since October 2009. He graduated in 1981 from the University of the Pacific with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. He then spent the following 20 years in a successful business career in which he literally traveled all over the world. In the fall of 2001, he “retired” from his business career and entered seminary at St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, until he could move to Chicago to attend Luther School of Theology. Dave’s first call was as the Associate Pastor at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Overland Park. Dave and his wife, Jill, have three grown children and two grandchildren. They love spending time with their family; however, they also love being empty nesters. In their free time, Dave and Jill love to spoil their grandchildren, travel, and cook gourmet meals at home together.

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Heather Lewis
Director of Worship and Music

Heather Lewis has been the Director of Music and Worship at Salem since 2010, and was the song leader and pianist at a Saturday evening worship service 2004-2009. Heather has a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State in choral music education and a master’s degree from University of Maryland in piano performance, and teaches piano lessons in her home. She lives in Olathe with her husband Brad and three children, Casey, Brandon, and Faith. Heather directs the adult choir and children's choir, youth special music and drama, and coordinates and leads music in all services. She also directs children's musicals and Christmas programs every year. Salem’s music is enthusiastically offered in worship by all ages, and welcomes all levels of experience.

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Mikki Lawrence
Office Administrator

Mikki is excited to be here at Salem, and is looking forward to getting to know the people of Salem Lutheran Church! She graduated from the University of Kansas and spent her professional career in Kansas City ad agencies. Her most recent stint has been as a stay-at-home mom. Mikki lives in Lenexa in a lively household with her husband, three kids, her mother, and three dogs. She enjoys baking, reading, traveling, and, every now and then, a little piece and quiet.

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Shari Van Baale
Communications Coordinator

Shari started as Communications Coordinator at Salem in early 2017. Her job duties include the weekly bulletin and e-newsletter, creating slides for worship, maintaining the Salem website, and the annual directory, as well as other publications throughout the year. She has also worked at a Methodist church since 2010 doing a similar position. She has a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Iowa. Originally from the Chicago area, she has lived in the Kansas City area since 2007. Her hobbies include reading, hiking, walking, and enjoying nature with her family. She lives in Olathe with her husband and two children.

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Emily Nelson Dixon
Director of Teen Ministries and Outreach

Emily Nelson Dixon has worked in youth ministry for 19 years and has served youth groups of all shapes and sizes. She feels passionately about helping young people and families experience profound encounters with God. She's a coach and teacher with Youth Ministry Institute because she loves sharing her experiences to help other youth ministers find great success in their jobs. She is married and has two hilarious, sassy girls who make her laugh daily.

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Taylor Grooms
Child Care Coordinator

Taylor is excited to grow and connect at Salem Lutheran Church! She is currently a senior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, studying music therapy with hopes to work with at-risk adolescents and in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). With instrumental focus on guitar, piano, violin, and percussion, she hopes to incorporate music when working with the children here at Salem. Taylor grew up in Olathe, and currently resides in Kansas City, MO.

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