MEet Our Team

  • Rev. Dr. Roger Grimmett

    Lead Pastor

    Originally from Brighton, IL, Roger has been appointed as our lead pastor, effective July 1, 2017. His previous position was as the District Superintendent of the Mississippi River District of our conference, supervising 72 churches in the district. He is excited to be preaching, teaching, and leading this congregation. He is passionate about leading people into a relationship with Jesus Christ and discipling them into fully devoted followers of Jesus. Married to Brenda, they have two grown sons - Blake and Nathan. He enjoys working out, putting things together, reading, and having spiritual conversations with people.  

    Follow Roger on Facebook here.

    Email Roger.

  • Rev. Mike Whitaker

    Associate Pastor

    Mike grew up in the tiny little town of Neoga, IL, graduated from the University of Illinois, and then spent 7 years in Colorado. In addition to normal pastoral duties, Mike specifically oversees the Small Group Ministry, and has a passion for sharing the love of God with others and helping Christians deepen their faith. "I love my family, music, sports, anything outdoors, and pie...yes, lots of pie."

    Follow Mike on Facebook here or Twitter @Reverend_Otis.

    Email Mike.

  • Rev. Nicole Cox

    Associate Pastor

    Born and raised in Effingham, IL, Nicole went on to graduate from Illinois Wesleyan University and then completed seminary at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. Her deepest passion for ministry lies in helping people realize that Jesus loves them more than they could imagine and that, because of that love, we are called to change the world. Nicole is married to Steve, who is a musician and audio engineer by trade. They have two of the cutest kids ever – Aubrey and Corbin. Nicole loves music, books, tv, movies, and she has a small obsession with the Beatles (so much so that she convinced Steve to go to Liverpool as part of their honeymoon).

    Follow Nicole on Facebook here or on Twitter @RevNicoleCox.

    Email Nicole.

  • Lana Salomonson

    Executive Director

    Lana grew up in the Soybean Capital of the world - Decatur, Illinois - but has lived in Springfield for the past 25 years. As the Executive Director of Springfield First, she oversees the facility and church campus, personnel, and the budget. Lana is married to Scott, has "the best son in the world," and an awesome dog named Max. She is also passionate about this church, God, and all things having to do with water! Lana enjoys swimming, traveling, swimming, watching the Cubs win (occasionally), swimming, and playing with her dog. (Did we mention that she loves swimming?!)

    Email Lana.

  • Brennan Pappas

    Director of Technical Arts

    Brennan is a Springfield native and has attended this church for the past eight years, the last three of which he served in various positions on our team. He has a passion for connecting people to God through the tech booth and in worship. Brennan loves being around family and friends in all atmospheres. He enjoys bowling, paintball, biking, running, baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Green Bay Packers.

    Email Brennan.

  • Carli Burton

    Director of Senior Ministries

    From Lincoln, IL, Carli aims to motivate Christian growth in others and to help all generations of our church feel cared for and loved. Her goal is also to shift our basic assumptions about aging, realizing that it involves heightened opportunity for spiritual development. "I love my job, word games, and family time."

    Email Carli.

  • Chase Carlisle

    Director of Worship Arts

    Chase is originally from the South but has since lived in several different parts of the country. He graduated with a degree in music from Truman State University and has been serving in music ministry ever since! Before living in Springfield, Chase served at a church in Memphis, TN (the Birthplace of Rock and Roll!!). As the Director of Worship Arts, he oversees many of the elements that go into each weekend service. He oversees the Technical Arts ministry and is involved with the pastoral and creative planning teams. He has a passion for unity in the church and a vision to support a growing culture of worship in the local church. He is married to Elyssa :) and, holding to his southern ties, they are the proud owners of two healthy Bloodhound pups (Jasper and Tillie).

    Follow Chase on Facebook here or on Twitter @chaseacarlisle.

    Email Chase.

  • Elyssa Carlisle

    Children's and Youth Choir Director

    Elyssa has lived in central Illinois her whole life and has been in Springfield for 11 1/2 years. She serves Springfield First as the Children's & Youth Choir Director, the Youth Handbell Choir Director, and a smattering of other jobs. "My passions lie in loving people & showing my youth how much God is crazy for them! My vision is for them to use their God-given gifts to better His kingdom, to experience His Presence in such a way that worship becomes daily and His truth becomes reality." She loves people, kids, chocolate, coffee, seeing youth praise Jesus, missions overseas, and the Director of Worship Arts (yeah, she and Chase are married).

    Email Elyssa.

  • Matt Cleveland

    StudentLife Director

    Matt is originally from Vincennes, IN. He attended college in Greenville, IL, and has served in churches in Sandusky and Davison, MI. Matt oversees the StudentLife ministry, grades 6-12, helping teenagers to discover Jesus, develop a foundational relationship with Him, and build them into leaders who can bring others to Christ. He is passionate about guiding and mentoring teens in their walk with Christ, worshipping, and teaching others about Jesus. Matt loves spending time with his family, Hannah, Peter, Gloria, and Philip. He also enjoys watching any movie that has a superhero, lightsaber, or hobbit, along with building and collecting Legos!

    Email Matt.

  • Paige Cooper

    Director of Connections

    Paige is from Alton, IL, and graduated from college at SIUE. In her ministry, she connects people to Christ by helping them find their place in the Springfield First family, whether through small groups, serving opportunities, membership, and more. She is passionate about sharing the love of Jesus with others in any capacity. Besides being a St. Louis Blues and Cardinals fan, Paige also enjoys spending time with family, being outdoors, serving, theater, music, singing and dancing (in private), and attempting to be crafty. And she smiles A LOT!

    Email Paige.

  • Dr. See Tsai Chan

    Associate Director of Music Ministry

    See Tsai is originally from Hong Kong but now teaches music at Blackburn College. When she's not in Carlinville instructing students, she's running our traditional music ministry and directing the choir. She loves making music, coffee :), reading, family time, zumba, and swimming.

    Email See Tsai.

  • Stacy Kuhlmann

    Director of Children's Ministries

    Stacy was born and raised in Springfield. She moved to Rochester in 1994 and lives there with her husband and 3 daughters. In her role as Director of Children's Ministries, she is responsible for all things related to ministry for ages birth to 5th grade. She is passionate about the growth and development of children in this uncertain world. Stacy loves books, games, movies, and animals. She and her family have a dog, 3 cats, fish, a leopard gecko, a chinchilla, and a bunny!

    Email Stacy.

  • Aaron Havard

    Director of IT & Technical Assistant

    Aaron was born in Springfield and has lived here for his whole life. His job is to take care of all the little "bugs" in the servers and make sure that computers run smoothly for other staff members. He is passionate about helping others grow in the Lord. He also enjoys listening to music, running sound at events, and watching movies. Feel free to stop by and say hello sometime!

    Email Aaron.

  • Dennie Canny

    Facilities Manager

    Dennie grew up in several small communities in Central Illinois. His father was a United Methodist minister in what was the Central Illinois Conference at that time. As the church's facilities manager, he is responsible for seeking quotes on major repairs, overseeing projects, performing minor repairs, and working with volunteer groups within the church. He has a passion for sports, particularly Fighting Illini basketball and football, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Chicago Bears! Dennie loves to travel, golf, cook, and listen to music. More than anything, though, he enjoys spending time with his wife and family - especially his new granddaughters Haddie and Autumn!

    Email Dennie.

  • Jenny Hutcherson

    Financial Administrator

    Jenny spent 14 years in Georgia before moving to Springfield in 2008. She considers it is an honor to be working behind-the-scenes and ensuring that people's gifts to God through Springfield First are handled in the way they intended. She also edits the Good Tidings newsletter and updates the church website. Jenny loves spending time with her husband Jeff and their three boys - Sam, Ben, and Nathan. She also enjoys quilting, reading, baking, and watching detective shows on TV!

    Email Jenny.

  • Kristi Osmond

    Administrative Assistant

    Kristi was raised in Springfield, then lived in the Chicago suburbs before relocating back to Springfield in 2004. Her job includes creating the bulletins each week, reserving rooms for meetings, scheduling volunteers, and much more! Kristi is married to Mike, and they have two daughters, Jenni and Kati. She loves spending time with them, working on home improvement projects, reading, the beach, and all things Disney!

    Email Kristi.

  • Molly Bettis


    Molly lives in Petersburg where she has been a self-employed accountant for 22 years. She and her husband Kevin have 3 children - Erin, Brandon, and Ryan. Molly also serves as treasurer of several volunteer boards and is the treasurer for Petersburg United Methodist Church. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking and baking, entering local and state fair baking and floral competitions, gardening, her book club, traveling, entertaining, and attending her kids' many activities.

    Email Molly.

  • Rachel Dempsey

    Print Shop

    Rachel lived in Taylorville for 13 years before moving to Springfield. Her job involves all printing projects. She loves showing God's love to everyone she meets and ensuring that they know they are welcome and have a place. Rachel enjoys spending time with friends, reading, and playing with her awesome dog Bill!

  • Renoldo Gayton

    Lead Custodian

    Renoldo was born and raised in Springfield and is the 13th of 13 children in his family! In his job, he cleans and maintains the church facility and grounds. He is passionate about God, family, and doing the best he can. Renoldo enjoys fishing, spending time with grandkids, working on cars, and fixing things. He is eager to help, and we are happy to have him on our staff!

  • Sharon Sweeney

    Executive Assistant

    Sharon wears her hometown, St Louis, MO, as a badge of honor - home of the Cardinals, The Hill, and Ted Drewes Frozen Custard. She moved to Springfield in June of 1995 with her husband and daughters, and started working at Springfield First one month later. Her primary responsibilities are to support the pastors, and keep track of a multitude of lists, calendars, and events for staff and members. She also coordinates weddings, helping brides and grooms have their "perfect" wedding at Springfield First. "Being in the main office and often the first person a guest meets, I like to provide a little 'sunshine' to those I encounter. I believe that a smile or encouraging word is contagious, and I'm passionate about making a difference in a person's day simply by seeing the best in a situation or the best in others." She loves spending time with her husband Jim and their daughters - Shannon (married to Mike) and twins Sydney and Sierra, and with her new grandson Aiden. "Oh, and I love reality shows!"

    Email Sharon.

  • Zach Pappas

    Technical Arts Assistant

    Zach has lived in Springfield for all his life. He works on videos and slides and helps to make the services run smoothly. He is enthusiastic about working for the kingdom of God, helping people to make a connection with God during services, and encouraging volunteers to work for God's purpose. Zach enjoys making videos, recording music, bike riding, and being in church as much as possible!

    Email Zach.