Emmanuel members reserve the right to vote on matters that affect them and delegate authority to called and appointed leaders.

Chris Studenski

Founding and Senior Pastor

Pastor Chris provides visionary and supervisory leadership for ECC’s staff and congregation. He received his formal education from Bethel Seminary and was ordained by the Evangelical Covenant Church. Prior to founding ECC, Pastor Chris served at a Gospel Mission in Minneapolis, on the Board of a Children’s Home in Mexico, at a small church in New Ulm, at a mega-church in Arden Hills, and on the back of a garbage truck in Mendota Heights. Today, he enjoys spending time with his family, serving our church, being outdoors, competitive sports, devouring leadership books, and paying others to haul his garbage away. Pastor Chris lives in Shoreview with his wife Laura, their two girls, and their two dogs.


Between May 4 and June 15, Pastor Chris will be taking an extended time off. Some traditions call it a Sabbatical, while the Covenant often refers to it as a Ministry Renewal Leave. Our conference of the Covenant denomination encourages pastors to take time like this every five years or so to refresh for the next season of ministry with their congregations. We wish Pastor Chris and his family the best during this time and look forward to his return to teaching in June.

Email Chris

Elder Board

Emmanuel members call a Senior Pastor and elect Elders to serve as representatives of the church. Together, the Senior Pastor and Elders comprise our Elder Board. This plurality of carefully vetted leaders ensures healthy checks and balances. The Elder Board is charged with the responsibility to see that our common mission is pursued and that ministry is carried out in a wise, God-honoring way.

Email the Elder Board

  • Tim Golie

  • David Hanson

  • Dan Owen

  • Deb Runke

  • Sharon Steen

  • Jon Taylor

    Elder, Elder Chair
  • Patrick Thielen

    Elder, Financial Officer
  • Nancy Ann Yaeger

    Elder, Secretary

Directional Leadership Team

The Directional Leadership Team works together to set priorities and make decisions that are aligned with our mission, vision, and values. Their primary responsibility is to our church as a whole. Their secondary responsibility is to the departments they represent.

Our Staff

Emmanuel is blessed with an amazing staff! Our staff members are empowered to build teams and carry out ministry.

Community Life

  • Jason Peterson

    Worship & Community Life Pastor Email Jason
  • Susan Ward

    Director of Operations, Group Life Coordinator Email Susan

Kids, Tweens, Teens


Worship Arts

Pastoral Relations Committee

The Pastoral Relations Committee (PRC) administers the Senior Pastor’s performance review and may be called upon to mediate specific congregational concerns.

Email the Pastoral Relations Committee

  • Mary Lakner

  • Jeremy Marr

  • Jeremy Rockford

  • Deb Runke

  • Tim Stenerson

Nominating Committee

The Nominating Committee prayerfully submits candidates for Emmanuel’s representative boards and other open positions assigned to it by the Elder Board and/or Senior Pastor.

  • Bruce Anderson

  • Curt Folkestad

  • Tim Golie

  • Penny Johnson

  • Dori Juliette

  • Aaron Lenz

  • Natalie Schmidt

  • Annette Walker

  • Michelle Westerlund

Our Members

Emmanuel members have been baptized (as an infant, child, teen, or adult), profess Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and look to the Bible as their standard for belief and conduct. Prior to becoming a member, individuals also complete our Explore Membership course and sign a Membership Covenant. We offer our Explore Membership course about once every six months. Contact Pastor Chris to learn more.