Mike Shields became the Superintendent of the Central District in 2020. He has 27 years of ministry in the EFCA prior to becoming Superintendent. He received a Masters of Divinity and an MA in Counseling Psychology, both from TEDS, and is presently completing his Doctor of Ministry from Talbot School of Theology. In addition to serving in two Central District churches, Glenwood EFC (1991-1994) and Indianola Community Church (1996-2002), Mike served as Lead Pastor in Kearney, NE and Lakeville, MN. During part of his tenure at Indianola Community Church Mike also served as Vice Chair of the Central District Board of Directors.
Rhonda Nichols joined the Central District staff in 2005 with undergraduate specialties in accounting and mathematics, along with corporate experience in the areas of flex plans and COBRA administration. She is responsible for the administration of the office and will be your first point of contact when you call. Rhonda handles the large district events, our newsletters, various other communications, scheduling, and hundreds of other items that make us work efficiently. She is the first person to call if you are unsure whom to contact with your question.
Larry Austin has served the district in his role of church health since the fall of 2008. Prior to that he had served for 23 years as the Pastor of Adult Ministries at First Evangelical Free Church in Ames, Iowa. Larry is recognized nationally as a superb ministry trainer and a leader in understanding and application of church health principles. Larry is responsible for helping our churches and pastors to multiply ministry by focusing on discipleship, on the mission of their church, on developing spiritual leaders, and through helping them negotiate change.
Rev. Brad Wos joined our staff in December 2016. Brad came to know the Lord through the Navigator Ministry and has been deeply impacted by the vision for disciple making and evangelism. Following marketplace ministry at Citicorp, Panera Bread and in Information Technology, Brad followed the call to serve Jesus for 14 years in South Africa and the past 4 years in St. Louis. Through these ministries Brad has developed a heart that is passionate to reach the many cultures that are making their home in the “heartland” of America, our Central District.
Todd Brooks was raised in Jefferson City, Missouri. He is an alumnus of the University of Missouri-Columbia. During his years there he became involved in CRU, joining the staff and serving at Truman State University in Kirksville.
Todd’s wife, Katie, was raised in St. Louis. They were married in 1992 and served on CRU staff at Truman until 2002. While in Kirksville, they became members of Grace Community Bible Church, an Evangelical Free Church, and remained active there for over ten years.
During their years in Kirksville they welcomed 3 children into their growing family. They moved to the St. Louis area in 2002 to study at Covenant Theological Seminary where Todd completed his MDiv. They also added their 4th child, Sara, as a precious seminary surprise. Sara is still at home with Todd and Katie, and a freshman in high school. Their oldest Jacob works in central Missouri. Older daughter Maggie is a senior at Mizzou, and younger son Lucas is a freshman at Vanderbilt University.
Ten months into his studies Todd left the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ and began a pastoral internship at Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church. Todd became the leader of a daughter congregation, which was launched in the City of St. Louis in 2006. Todd currently serves as pastor of that congregation, Immanuel Evangelical Free Church, which became a member church of the Central District of the EFCA March 2012.
On May 1, 2019, Rev. Jerry Carlin joined the team at the EFCA Central District to serve as Regional Church Health Coach for Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas. The region that Jerry serves currently includes about 20 Central District churches.
Jerry comes to us after twenty-five years at The Springs Church in Springfield, Missouri, where he served as the original Church Planter and Senior Pastor. He previously served as lead pastor at churches in Illinois and Colorado. He graduated from John Brown University, received his Master of Theology (ThM) from Dallas Theology Seminary, and his Doctor of Ministry (DMin) from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
Jerry works out of Springfield, Missouri where he lives with his wife Donna.
Randy grew up in northwest Iowa and attended the University of Iowa where he met his wife Cindy. After working at University Hospitals for three years, Randy and Cindy moved to Dallas where he attended Dallas Theological Seminary (ThM). Randy served at Pastor of Christian Education in a church in Garland, Texas during his time in graduate school.
Following seminary, Randy served as a youth pastor in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. In 1986 he became a senior pastor in Rock Valley, Iowa. In 1992 he was called to Cedar Hills Evangelical Free Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He led the church to relocate and receive the new name, Stonebridge Church, in 2008. Randy served 27 years as lead pastor in Cedar Rapids. He received his Doctor of Ministry (DMin) from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School during his tenure.
Randy retired from Stonebridge Church in August 2019. Randy and Cindy recently celebrated their 42nd anniversary and enjoy spending time with their four children and six grandchildren. Randy also likes to bike, hike and read theology. He currently serves as Associate Director of International Workshops for Simeon Trust.
Randy is excited to partner with the EFCA Central District as Regional Church Health Coach. He looks forward to encouraging and equipping pastors and church leaders in eastern Iowa and globally with Simeon Trust.
Dan has been on staff with the District since 2015. Prior to that, he served 29 years as a Youth Pastor with 27 being in the Free church in Davenport, IA. Dan came to know Christ in 1979 through Bob Nieuwendorp (a long time church planter in the Central District). Dan learned early on that when your gifts and abilities intersect with your passions, you’ve found your “sweet spot”. Dan’s “sweet spot” combines the burden he has for the lost with his ability for building/rebuilding ministries. Dan is responsible for re-booting the church plant in West Union and utilizing that church into a home base for developing Interns who would then plant churches in NE Iowa.
Art Smith joined us in May, 2019. Art came to know Christ as a Catholic teenager and in his 20’s joined the Johnston Evangelical Free Church (now NorthPoint Church) after seeking a church that taught the Bible as primary authority. Art retired at the end of 2018 after 35 years working in Technology at Wells Fargo. In his own side-business, he has done website design, social media development and general communications work for 10 years.
In 1990, Art was part of the core group that started Valley Church in West Des Moines. He has served on the District Church Planting Board a total of 10 years, has served on the District Board of Directors and as a Deacon at Valley Church.
Art has a passion for healthy churches, and desires to help churches with communication, operations, and collaborating/networking with other churches. He lives in West Des Moines with his wife Renea.
John Ritland joined our team in 2008. John had served as an engineer for Boeing and took an early retirement to help our church planting efforts. He had long served as a dedicated lay person in the EFCA and had a strong desire to join in where God was working. Serving in church planting for John is both a passion and a gift. He serves alongside Al Frank in his mission to plant churches.
Gary Shaw joined the Central District team in March of 2010. Gary’s experience as an engineer and a builder gives him exactly what is needed to help a young church take the important steps toward a first building or remodeling project. Gary has served as the building chairman of two different churches as they built new facilities, the most recent being the multi-million dollar expansion of the Ankeny Evangelical Free Church. Gary is available to assist churches in understanding the steps necessary to have a successful project as well as to help them find and utilize district volunteers.
Calvin Swan served as the Superintendent of the Central District from 1999 – 2020. Prior to that he served as a youth pastor, solo pastor, and for 13 years as the senior pastor of Mulford Evangelical Free Church in Muscatine, Iowa. He received his D.Min and M.Div from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and is also a graduate of Wheaton College. His responsibilities are to assist the Superintendent during Mike’s early time in his new role.