The USMB Youth Commission oversees all things youth ministry for USMB nationally including vision, networking, and developing. The commission is formed of various people who have a passion for youth in a wide range of locations and positions.
We represent each of the United States Mennonite Brethren Districts.
Kyle has over 13 years of experience in youth ministry and has worked as the Student Ministries Pastor at First MB Church since February 2014. He is the Chairman of USMB Youth (National Youth Commission) since 2012. He married his lovely wife Katie and they have two fun and energetic daughters.
Russ Claassen is the District Youth Minister for the Southern District Conference, Youth Pastor at Koerner Heights Church, and point person for the USMB Youth Worker Network. He lives in Newton, Kansas, with his lovely wife, Chandelle, and their two sons, Sam & Dellen.
Christy is works in education at Brooks middle school, an inner city school in Wichita, Kansas. Her passion for youth is obvious both in her school where she is the librarian but also in her involvement with youth in the Southern District. Christy served as a small group leader at First MB Church in Wichita for nine years and moved from working with youth at the church level to district level, serving on Youth Commission. She has directed Southern District Youth Conference (SDYC) for several years as well as serving as youth commission chair.
Derek is an Undergraduate Admissions Counselor at Fresno Pacific University. He graduated from FPU in 2015 with a degree in Biblical and Religious Studies and has grown up in the MB church in the Central Valley of California.
I have grown up in the church and prayed for Jesus to be my saver with my grandmother in pre-school. But I fully understood what following Jesus meant when I was Baptized at the age of 13. Currently, my husband and I are serving as youth leaders in Mission, Tx and have continued to see Gods faithfulness in our lives.
Wendell Loewen teaches at Tabor College in the areas of youth, church and culture. He also directs FaithFront – a leadership program for high school students. Wendell, a speaker and youth ministry consultant, has also co-chaired two National Mennonite Brethren Youth Conventions. His heartbeat is empowering a new generation of Christian leaders who are willing to follow Jesus Christ daily, radically, and totally in life. Wendell and his wife Shelly live in Hillsboro, Kansas.
Jeral Gross has served on the National Youth Committee for Estes 03, Anaheim 07, San Antonio 2011, and Named 2015. He has been connected to youth ministry since 1996 serving as a youth leader, teacher, mentor, and chairman of the Central District Youth Committee. As a past banker with 16 years of experience, he serves the committee well with his experience in financial matters and contract negotiation. He and his wife Andrea live in Mitchell, SD where he manages a Title Company and is an Appraiser. They are expecting their first child in January 2015.
Anthony is a native Montanan who studied and was discipled in the city of Chicago. He now serves as youth pastor in the multi-cultural community of Huron, SD. He is blessed beyond what he deserves with an amazing wife & 4 daughters!
Neil Bontrager is a seasoned film, television and new media producer. Neil leads the Sperra Studios team to create media for the entertainment, educational, commercial and non-profit markets. He has extensive experience in film production, both behind the camera, in the edit suite and as a producer. Neil is a 1989 graduate of Tabor College, Hillsboro, KS with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. He has also done post graduate work in theology and leadership at Bethel Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota. Neil’s first career was in student ministry. He was on pastoral staff and led the student ministry at First Mennonite Brethren Church in Wichita, KS for over 10 years. During his tenure the student ministry experienced unprecedented development and growth. Neil’s work with the USMB Youth Commission and the National Youth Convention is informed greatly by Neil’s passions for faith, student ministry, media and live experience. Neil is married to Kim and they have two children: Hallie is a sophomore at John Brown University and Jonathan is a freshman at the Classical School of Wichita. Neil and his family are active members of First Mennonite Brethren Church, where Kim is on staff as the Creative Arts Director. Neil loves great art, inspiring music, travel, history, fast cars, artistic cooking and creating purposeful environments and experiences.
After 15 years as a pastor in the Southern and Central districts, Stephen is now a "mobilizer" with MB Mission. His team resources churches and individuals toward living on mission locally, nationally and globally. He and Mary K. live in Denver and have two grown children, Aby and Jacob.
Lee Waldron is a Residential Educator and Sports Chaplain at Tabor College. He resides on campus with his wife, Sara Jo, and their three children. They are members of the Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church where Sara Jo serves as the full-time Youth Pastor. Lee and Sara Jo are co-activity directors for the Southern District Conference Senior High Youth Camp held every summer.