Ministry Staff

Ministry Staff

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Pastor John Bent

Pastor John Bent - Senior Pastor

email: - 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.

Pastor Ralph Boyer

Pastor Ralph Boyer - Associate Pastor

email: - 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 other sons, a daughter-in-law, and a grandson living in California. Ralph enjoys the outdoors and the skiing, hiking and fishing of the Flathead Valley.

Grace Bent

Grace Bent - Director of Music and Worship

email: - 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.

Kari McCrady

Kari McCrady - Director of Family Ministries & Education

email: - 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.

David Baker

David Baker - Director of Youth Ministries

email: - Phone Extension: 236

David Baker has been serving as Christ’s Director of Youth Ministries since July of 2012. Previously, his eclectic experience with higher education found him studying biology and psychology in Portland, nursing in Coeur d’Alene, and finally landed him at the University of Montana earning a degree in History and African-American Studies. During his time in college he developed a passion for youth ministry through a variety of residence ministries in Portland and Missoula, as well as 4 years of outdoors ministry with Camp Lutherhaven on Lake Coeur d’Alene and with Idaho Servant Adventures, a service and outreach program for high schoolers based in North Idaho up the Coeur d’Alene River.

David’s philosophy in youth ministry focuses on the power of Christ being a constant presence in youth’s lives. This means doing ministry in homes and schools, but never forgetting the power of the fellowship Christ has given us in the church. David invites youth of ALL ages (his weekly routine often involves coffee or lunch dates with “older youth” in their 50s or 60s) to take part in this fellowship. Call or email him any time for coffee or a meal, the first one’s always on him!

David grew up in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, but while not a native to the area, he will always remind people that he “got here as soon as he could!” Growing up basketball consumed most of his free time, and even today he loves getting into the gym and shooting hoops. He also enjoys running, hiking, fishing and hunting, as well as spending the necessary rest time in between those excursions reading, drinking coffee, playing golf, or simply enjoying an episode of his favorite TV show. David also enjoys live music, is trying to learn the banjo, and is a diehard Green Bay Packer fan by birth. Roll Cheese!

Christ Lutheran Church • 5150 River Lakes Parkway, Whitefish, MT 59937 • 406-862-2615

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