Phone Extension: 227
John Bent has served as senior pastor at Christ Lutheran Church since June of 1991. Prior to that he served five years in his first call at Our Redeemer Lutheran in Nashua, MT. John also served 5 years on the staff at Lutheran Bible Institute of Seattle.
Pastor Bent grew up in rural Montana and graduated from Montana State with a degree in Fish and Wildlife Management. He still considers himself to be in the “fish and wildlife management” business! John has a Master of Divinity degree from Warburg Seminary in Dubuque, IA and has done a good deal of post-graduate work in the Doctor of Ministry program at Asbury Seminary in Wilmore, KY.
As senior Pastor, John’s role is to lead and assist the congregation in fulfilling it’s vision to bring the light of Christ into the world. He is specifically responsible to make sure the Word of God is taught accurately and the Sacraments are administered rightly.
On the personal side, John is married to Grace and they have two married daughters and five grandchildren. John enjoys playing guitar and banjo as well as golf and being outdoors.
Phone Extension: 224
Ralph grew up in a Lutheran pastor's family in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland. During high school and college he saw his future in the sciences and graduated with a degree in biology from Wittenberg University in Ohio. Stephanie and he met at college and were married in 1973.
As he was completing the biology degree he began to think that perhaps the Lord had something else in mind for him. Attending seminary helped him to answer that question and realize that while science was and still is a strong interest for him, that his calling is in the ministry. He graduated from Gettysburg Seminary in 1979 and served as an associate pastor in Poway, California.
He and the family moved back to Pennsylvania where he served as senior pastor of Christ Hamilton United Lutheran Church from 1982 until March of 2009. They moved to Columbia Falls in 2009 to be close to their son and daughter-in-law and grandson in Whitefish. They have two sons living in Oregon, one with a wife and son and daughter, and one with a wife and a son. Ralph enjoys the outdoors and the skiing, hiking and fishing of the Flathead Valley.
Phone Extension: 226
Grace Bent has served with the CLC staff as Director of Music and Worship since 2003. Her role is to oversee and develop the music and worship ministries of CLC. Her great joy is to usher people into the presence of the Lord through music and enable them to worship Him with all their heart.
Music has always been a part of Grace’s life. She grew up in a very musical family. She traveled for several years with her sisters doing Gospel music and outreach for Lutheran Bible Institute in Seattle, WA. Grace has a degree in elementary education from Seattle Pacific University and worked for 15 years as a Kindergarten/PreSchool teacher, before coming on staff with CLC.
Born and raised in Minnesota, Grace has been married to Pastor John for 33 years. They have lived in Whitefish since 1991. They have two married daughters and five amazing grandchildren.
Phone Extension: 225
Kari McCrady has been on staff at Christ Lutheran church since December, 2002, first as Director of Youth Ministry and currently as Director of Family Ministry. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Youth Ministry and had her first taste of full time ministry at Shepherd of the Valley in Apple Valley, MN. The Lord eventually called her and her husband to Montana to work at Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp and the position at CLC opened up soon after.
Kari has enjoyed transitioning into a different aspect of ministry as her young family grows. She and Mark have a daughter, Linnea, and a son, Gavin, who continue to teach them what’s most important in life. Kari has a passion to provide opportunities for families to grow in Christian faith together at CLC and is grateful to be part of this amazing community.
Phone Extension: 236
Kendra O’Brien has been on staff at Christ Lutheran Church since October 2018 as the Director of Youth Ministries. She graduated from the University of Wyoming with a Bachelors in Communications and Marketing. She got her first opportunity to work in youth ministry while on staff at Outlaw Ranch in Custer, South Dakota summer 2017. After working as an intern for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Atlanta, Georgia the Lord placed the call for youth ministry in Montana on her heart.
Not long after that she found this position at CLC and moved up here, without hesitation, a few short months after that. Some of Kendra’s passions include missions, outreach, reading, hiking, fishing, skiing and spending time with friends and family. Kendra was born and raised in Colorado where her parents, Michael and Maria, and older sister Seymone still currently reside.
In the mid 1980’s, Kelly and his wife, Kathy, and their children decided to move permanently to the Republic of the Transkei in South Africa to commit their lives to reaching the unreached among the Xhosa tribe.
The Lord has worked through their ministry over the following 25 years to reach tens of thousands of Xhosa people. With the Lord’s help, the Kosky’s have started over 100 Xhosa speaking churches and established a Xhosa Bible School which opened in 2001.
Kellys has over 100 Xhosa leaders whom he is currently discipling and who are in great need of structured Bible training.
Kelly is the Director and Founder of Transkei Victory Christian Ministries, which reaches out to the rural tribal Xhosa villages and the men who live in the city shack towns. He is also the Director of African New Life Ministries, which focuses on the Xhosa people living in the ghettos.
For more information see Kelly's website: