Meet the team.

Don Long

Directing Pastor
It has always been, and will always be my mission to live into the vision God has given to share the gospel of Jesus Christ in life-changing ways, no matter what.  I will do whatever it takes to share the good news  (except becoming a Cardinals fan… Cubbie blue blood runs in my veins).  God never fails to be faithful in promising, if we will give ourselves completely to God (heart, soul, mind, and strength), God will do mighty things in and through us.
Favorite Food: Homemade Chicken & Noodles
Favorite Movie: O Brother Where Art Thou
Favorite Verse:  1 Corinthians 9:22-23

Emily George

Director of Children and Family Ministries
I moved to Illinois from Virginia Beach, VA 8 years ago.  Why, you may ask.  The answer is simply family.  I moved here with two children in tow along with my mother, father, sister, and her mini Noah’s Ark.  Three years later, I had a daughter, Layla.  My children mean the world to me.  Kailey , Bryson , and Layla are truly blessings from God.

I am constantly kept on my toes with an array of issues ranging from what college should one attend, to getting a driver’s license, to leaping from furniture like a monkey from my three children.  Multi tasking genius should’ve been my name, but for now I go by mom, MOM!, momma, or mommy.  That’s all depending on who is calling and how urgent the need is.  I've had quite the spiritual journey, and I'm embracing all the change in my life and allowing God to once again take control to lead me in the direction I'm meant to be. 

Wyatt Lenhart

Student and Family Minister
I graduated from Lincoln Christian University in May 2020 with a degree in Youth and Families Ministry. Also, in May 2020, I got married to my lovely wife, Katelyn! And my wife and I have the most adorable dog in the whole world. I am passionate about helping students find their identity in Christ and having fun while doing so. In my free time, I like to play soccer, watch tv, and play video games. 

Jason McAtee

Worship Director
I’ve made my living touring and singing gospel music all over the US for 7 years. Before that, I led Worship for a few churches for 11 years. One of those churches was with Pastor Don. When I was 15 years old I was playing baseball with some friends behind the church, I broke the church window so I knocked on Don and Becky’s door to confess. Don was new to the church, but had heard I was learning to play the bass and he said, “You can pay it off by playing bass for the praise team on Sundays.” This changed everything for me and I found a new passion for the Lord through music. Pastor Don allowed me to grow as a Music Director and make mistakes along the way. I truly believe I wouldn’t be the musician I am today without Don. I also own a studio where I will produce, mix and master tracks for artists. I have an amazing 3 year old son named William! You will find me performing on the weekends at different places and leading Worship on Sunday mornings! It’s really cool to be back where it all started. 

Jodi Jones

Associate Director of Music
Jodi grew up on a Texas Longhorn ranch in the mountains of Colorado, where she used her dad's machine shed as her concert hall and put on concerts nightly for all of the farm animals.
Jodi has taught/directed K-12 and adults in Colorado, Montana, and Illinois in choir, band, hand bells, music theory, history, pep bands, jazz bands, chamber groups, Madrigals, honor festivals; and has traveled to Asia and Europe to perform famous choral works. She now lives in Lebanon with Tom, Aria, their three dogs (Bear, Smokey, and Annie Oakley), three cats (Dexter, Mumford, and Bella-mew), and a few Bobwhite Quail.  Jodi loves exercising outdoors, ranching, socializing, traveling, swimming, and being with friends and family. 

Debbie Harrison

Office Manager
Debbie is no stranger to O’Fallon First as she and her husband Rich have been members of the church for 28 years; raising two sons in the church along the way.  Debbie has served on numerous church committees and has been involved with children’s church, Sunday school classes, volunteered in the nursery, served as a confirmand mentor, and has participated in many mission projects.  

Debbie brings many years of work experience with her and feels like this job may have been a gentle push from God nudging her in the direction He wanted her to go.

Diane Cooper

Mar 2010, I started working for O'Fallon First UMC.  I felt honored knowing this mission would use my God-given gift of accounting to help the church with their financial needs. Accounting has always been a passion of mine, and I feel God put me in this place with a purpose to help others.

Following a stroke in 2011, I wasn’t sure of God’s plan, but as Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”  I knew God must not be finished with me yet because He gave me the strength and determination to  rehab, and work my way back. He allowed me to continue my work, making a difference for O'Fallon First.  It was not an easy journey, but one I that has been very beneficial.

My husband, Paul and I were married in 1987. We followed the Army for 20 years and he retired in 2007.  We have 2 daughters, 2 sons-in-law, 1 wonderful granddaughter, and 2 fabulous grand-dogs.

Ken Gustavson

Office Assistant
Ken has been part of the OFFUMC staff since 2021 when he was hired as the office assistant.
He and his wife Lue are active members of O’Fallon First participating in missions, small groups,
and many other activities.

Ken’s hobbies include playing the guitar and woodworking. He shares his love of the guitar by
being part of Jame and the Jammers, our Guitar Ministry that plays in church on occasion. He is
a talented woodworker and has a mechanical background from his past career in elevator
construction. Ken is always happy to help with projects around the church, whether it be
building a shadow box, fixing a faucet, hanging a wipe board, or helping teach our youth the
proper use of power tools before they head off on their summer mission trip.

When asked what he enjoys most about working at O’Fallon First, he said “It’s the people. It’s
such a giving group. It seems like somebody is always helping out, lending a hand, donating
things and money. I like to think of myself as a giving person, so I feel like I belong here”.

Nancy Lawrence

Nancy is no stranger to the United Methodist Church.  Her childhood and teen years were lived in a parsonage with her minister father, mother, and nine siblings. Nancy was born in  West Virginia and has lived in Louisiana, Ohio, Kentucky, California, and Illinois. She has also moved 26 times in her journey as a minister’s daughter and wife.  
Nancy has been involved in church music since she was 12 years old.  With a bachelor’s degree in Music Education, Nancy taught in public schools for 15 years, served as a Director of Music in the UMC for 10 years, and served as the organist/pianist in every church where her husband was pastor.

Heather Hernandez

Director of the Learning Tree
Children are my passion. I knew from an early age that God was calling me to teaching in some capacity.
I started working with children as soon as I turned 18 at my church preschool as an assistant and have
never looked back! I continued my education to be qualified to both teach and be a director. Early on,
my goal was to one day be in the public school system. Doing what you love all year long, with every
summer off sounds amazing, doesn’t it?! God had other plans, I fell in love with the preschool age and
my heart began to change. I knew it was a privilege and an honor to work in a Christian based
preschool. That is where I have been for 24 years now and for that I am so thankful. “In their hearts
humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.
” Proverbs 16:9

I have been married to my husband Ed for 11 years and we have our daughter, Nora, who is 9 and
makes our world go around. I never knew I had the capacity to love someone the way I love that spunky
girl. Being her momma is my greatest blessing. We have two dogs, a chihuahua (Buttons) and a
cockapoo (Elle) along with the king of the castle, our cat Jynx. For fun we love to take walks, have family
game nights, and watch movies. Some of my favorite things are breakfast for dinner, music of all kinds,
and listening to the rain when I don’t have to get out in it. Quality time is my love language and
spending time with family fills my cup.

Becky Long

Communications Coordinator
I have been a part of O'Fallon First UMC since 2016, but I have been a part of the United Methodist Church since birth.  The people of the UMC introduced me to the love of Christ, nurtured me in my faith, and held me in prayer. I have been creating graphics, social media posts, videos, and designing and updating the website off and on for several years and I am happy to have the opportunity to be able to consistently help get the word out about the wonderful ministries of this church and continue to connect imperfect people to a perfect God.

Jesus calls all of us who believe, follow, and imitate him to love God with all that we are and love each other the best that we can. This is my mission and I am glad to have the opportunity to go into the (digital) world and plant the seeds of love and light in Christ.

Mike Cochran

Head Custodian
Mike is our full-time custodian. He’s responsible for the clean, safe, and sparkling hallways, rooms, and bathrooms, plus a host of other duties that no one notices, including replacing ceiling tiles! Mike currently resides in Belleville with his mother and an American bulldog called “R.J.” (short for Roscoe Jr.).
When Mike isn’t taking care of the church building or his mother, he can be found relaxing in his kayak, fishing for bass.  Mike also likes to do woodworking in his spare time.  Mike is adept at fixing things. He enjoys the satisfaction of getting things back in working order.
I asked Mike what he likes about working at O’Fallon First.  He said, “I like working with happy people.”  You will find that Mike is a happy guy, too! 

Dylan Depp

Worship Production & Tech Supervisor
Well, hello there!  I have been a part of the 1UMC staff since 2021.  During most of the week, you can find me at the highschool across the street, where I'm employed full-time.  In my free time, I enjoy listening to & playing music, watching internet videos, tending to my bonsai tree, Myrtle, hanging out with my school co-workers, cosplaying as Saitama from One Punch Man, as well as re-watching Godzilla & Star Wars movies for the umpteenth time.  I'm grateful to be a part of the O'Fallon area & love the work I do for the community.

Best Wishes, Dylan Deppe

Church Council

Administrative Ministry
Chair of Church Council:                                                Jennifer Howsare
Recording Secretary:                                                         Debbie Harrison
Chair of Finance Committee:                                       Susan Rogers
Treasurer of Finance Committee:                             Rick Clayton
Chair of Staff-Parish Relations:                                  Heather LoBue
President of the Board of Trustees:                         Penny Pejka
Lay Member of Annual Conference:                       Neil James

Lay Ministry
Lay Leader                                                                                   Bob Craddick
Chair of Missions Committee                                        Joan Bowman
Student Ministries Representative                           Camden Kimmel/Glass Lobue
Congregational Care Team                                              Kerry Turk

Lay Leadership Teams

Trustees Penny Pejka
Steve Lewis
Ken Wiechert
Ron Garrison
Ryan BrewerVicki Whitener-Lepanto
Ken Gustavson
Rebecca DoehringLarry Morrison
Jay Noffsinger
Staff/Parish Relations Heather Lobue
Kent Strang
Jo Campbell
Susan Bowers
Kristy Riggan
Sheryl Juenger
Dave Roberts
Scott Doehring

Finance Committee
Susan Rodgers
Sydney Hagen
Bob Boyko
Mel HollandWes Harris
Lue Daniels Gustavson
Missions Committee Joan Bowman
Roger Baskett
Evan Stewart
Jim Wilkerson
Carolyn Lewis
Mary Harris
Gina Scrivner
Daniel Cox

Charlotte Bain
Committee on Nominations and Personnel
Rich Harrison
Jeanne Dillaplain

Bruce Bowman
Carolyn Day
Congregational Care Team Kerry Turk
Carolyn Day
Nancy Frazier
Ann Clayton
Jennifer Howsare
Helen Smith