Living Grace Vision Board

The Vision Board (also known as the Congregational Council) are elected leaders and active members of Living Grace Lutheran Church.

These men and women are responsible for the long term strategic, financial, overarching programatic goals of our church. The Vision Board meets approximately once each quarter for prayer and discussion about the ways the holy Spirit is working in the congregation, and the ways our ministries align with that work. They have been charged with the scriptural responsibilities of Elders found in 1 Peter 5:2-3:  “Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example.”  If you have a question about the Vision Board, please contact Pastor James at

Ashli Brehm grew up going to a small Methodist church in Wilber, Nebraska. She always had a love for music in church and was the loudest kid in the children’s chorus. She graduated High School at the turn of the century and attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she studied Advertising and Adam Brehm.

Prior to having children, Ashli worked full-time in non-profit and decided that staying home would allow her to be a lady of leisure. She quickly discovered babies are not leisurely. She has always had strong faith but her faith has grown stronger through life as different obstacles have come into her world. She and her husband Adam and three sons {no, she is not sad that she has three boys and no girls}, Barrett (~8), Jonah (5), and Harrison (3) have been blessed to be members of Living Grace for the last 4.5 years. The family’s favorite things about Living Grace are: The youthful energy, the kindness in the congregation, the community and true friendships, Josh’s music, seeing faith in action, and the donuts.

Ashli believes that Living Grace truly is a positively different religious experience and hopes that those who attend the church will feel the warmth and kindness of the hearts that sit in the congregation. And through those feelings, she believes the congregation will grow in members but also in faith. The words in scripture that she lives through can be found in Matthew 17:20, “Jesus told them. ‘I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.’”

Laura is from Dawson, Minnesota where she grew up in a traditional Lutheran church.  She has a Master’s Degree in social work and is currently working as the Division Director of Risk Management for CHI Health.  She is married to Corey and has two kids–Aidan and Emilie.  Laura was led into social work by love of service to others, something that continues today.  She loves helping to create opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus in promoting justice in our community, and she is the leader of our Engage team.  She has also been involved with the Connections team and Worship teams in the past and loves how there are so many various ways to get involved and get to know the church family better.

Laura and her family have been coming to Living Grace since September 2008.  They were originally drawn to the church because of the relevant, real-life messages and unique sense of community.  Having grown up in a small church, Laura likes the individual relationships and focus on ministry that Living Grace is able to provide.  Her dream for the future of Living Grace is that our community can grow in numbers but retain the “small-town” feel and continue to focus first on how to bring Jesus to people in relevant ways.

One of Laura’s favorite Bible verses is Esther 4:14 “Perhaps you were born for at time such as this.”  It’s a good reminder to look around in life and really discern–how did I get here and what is the purpose, how can God use me if I let myself be open?

I grew up in suburban Chicago, Illinois.  I have been married for 45 years to Barbara, whom I met on a blind date while attending Purdue University.  Barb and I have 2 adult daughters, Laurie Miller and Jill Vollmuth.  Laurie lives in Carmel, Indiana with her husband Adam and children Zachary and Abby.  Jill lives in Omaha with her daughter Grace and  is a member of Living Grace.

Barb and I have been attending Living Grace for about 2 years.  We had been members of Rejoice! Lutheran, so we were familiar with Living Grace but didn’t decide to visit until after Jill decided to join.  It was important to us to be able to worship with our daughter and granddaughter.  Barb and I have become good friends with many of the “more senior” members and now I look forward to getting more involved and hope my experience will be helpful to the continued growth of the congregation.

Regarding work, I am the Vice President of Human Resources for NorthStar Financial Services Group, LLC (NorthStar) and a member of the Board of Managers.  I oversee Human Resources, including payroll administration, benefit programs, recruiting, compensation administration and performance management for NorthStar and all subsidiary companies.  I graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Management with a concentration in Computer Science.  I obtained a Master of Business Degree from Loyola University with a concentration in Marketing.  I have over twenty-five years of human resources experience working in the retail, technology, banking and financial services industries. Outside of work, I enjoy running, bicycling and golf.


Eric and his wife Donna and daughter Olivia are members of Living Grace. He is President and Chief Executive Officer of Immanuel and oversees Immanuel’s ownership and management of seven senior living communities. Eric also serves as a Board member for Lutheran Planned Giving Services. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Pennsylvania State University and was a New Jersey Certified Public Accountant.

Jay Nilsson

Jay was born and raised in Omaha – living here most of his life.  He attended the University of Nebraska at Lincoln earning a degree in Business Administration/Finance.  He and Katy married in 1998, and God has blessed them with four awesome kids:  Sophia 7, Cecilia 7, Jack 10 and Ella 12.

When he’s not with the family, Jay works at PayPal as a Director of Marketing.  He’s worked in a variety of finance and marketing roles within banking, consulting and the payments industry over the past 22 years.

Jay and his family joined Living Grace in 2010.  He’s served on the Marketing and Facilities Vision Committees, taught in Grace Place, subbed for Pastor James for a few sermons and was Katy’s “Go To” person when she coordinated volunteers at Living Grace.  Directly from Jay “Living Grace is such a unique church.  We all joined and have stayed for a variety of reasons.  For me, it’s pretty simple.  We make it easy to go to church with a positive message, a great Pastor, and a fun, laid back congregation.  I’m excited to participate in the development of these experiences and helping new people discover what a great thing we have going in the West Omaha community.”

Mike is from Millard where he was baptized and confirmed at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. He is married to Julia, they have two boys, Graham (4 yrs) and Isaac (2 yrs). He has a Master’s Degree in Information Security and is currently working as the Director of Information Security for Boys Town. Mike is grateful for the opportunity to serve as a member of the Vision Board. He also serves on the setup crew for Sunday worship and can occasionally be found running the sound board, or volunteering in the nursery.

The Welna family joined Living Grace in 2013. They originally came to the church at the recommendation of some trusted friends who were already members of Living Grace. They decided to become members because of the welcoming community, opportunities to serve, and the family-like relationships that were quickly developed. Mike strongly believes that Living Grace, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, will continue to be a powerful institution for our church families, local community, and throughout the world. It is Mike’s hope that Living Grace will continue to provide a welcoming, authentic worship experience while serving the youth and families through our diverse ministries and opportunities. 

Mike’s favorite Bible verse is Romans 8:38-39. 

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

The verse conveys the unwavering persistence of God’s love and reminds us that regardless of our life circumstances, or where we’re at in our personal faith journey, God loves us, died for us, and will never leave us.

I was born and raised in Lincoln, after meeting my Husband Steve I moved to Omaha about 15 years ago. I grew up in the Lutheran church and so did Steve, when I moved to Omaha we joined St. Paul’s and were married there. A couple of years ago we were looking for a new church home, I knew of Pastor James from the church he served in Avoca Nebraska so we decided to try Living Grace, and we loved it. We immediately felt welcome and were surprised by the amount of connections we already had with some of the members. I am the Accounting Supervisor with Immanuel, and Steve and I have an 11 year old son Owen.

I have recently completed my Bachelors Degree in Accounting, and am now looking forward to more spare time to get involved in the community and church so the Vision Board is a great way to do this. I work everyday for a Lutheran organization so I feel very blessed being able to incorporate God’s mission into my work and home life.

Each of us has different talents and gifts, and this verse from Peter speaks to me about serving: “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms”. (1 Peter 4:10) I am looking forward to using my gifts in this opportunity to serve Living Grace and expanding its mission in all the ways that God may call.




Mutual Ministry Team

The Mutual Ministry Team keeps the pastor and staff advised about the conditions within the congregation and to interpret to the congregation the ministry of the professional leaders.

They evaluate the ministry of the pastor and staff and serve as the personnel committee of the congregation. They also support the congregation by assessing and address misunderstandings within the congregation, staff and leadership. As agents of reconciliation, they support the congregation in times of conflict. They also serve as a discussion group or “think tank” for the pastor and staff.

Scott grew up in Grand Island Nebraska. Following high school, Scott went on to receive a BA in psychology from the University of Nebraska. Shortly after graduating he met his beautiful wife Jenn. After a few moves across the country, Scott finished his Master’s Degree in Educational Research and Psychology. A couple weeks later, in May of 1999, Scott and Jenn were married. He and Jenn moved back to Omaha in the fall of 1999. Two short years later they were blessed with their first of two children, Addison. Five years later Eli entered the world and their family was complete.

Scott is the owner of Client Psyence, a human capital consulting firm and recently received his PhD in Human Capital Management. Scott has spent the majority of his career helping companies manage their human capital. When Scott isn’t with his family, he enjoys playing golf, watching golf, reading about golf, looking at golf equipment…you get the picture.

Scott grew up Methodist and Jenn was raised Catholic. For many years he and Jenn struggled to find a church in Omaha they could call “home.” That is, until they found Living Grace. Scott and his family were part of “Launch Sunday” at Rowher Elementary School in 2007, and have attended ever since. Living Grace is more than their church, it’s part of their family. As much as the church has done for Scott, seeing the impact Living Grace and its community of members and in his children’s lives is priceless, and he can’t thank Pastor James and Living Grace enough.


Being born and raised in Omaha, I attended college at Creighton, where I met my wonderful husband, Grant. We have been married for over 7 years and have a delightful two-year old son, Rex. I work as a School Psychologist (conducting special education evaluations and collaborating with parents and teachers to develop academic and behavioral interventions) at an elementary and middle school in Westside Community Schools.

Although I was raised in the Catholic faith, my husband (who is Lutheran) and I explored several churches before finding out about Living Grace Lutheran Church. Once Living Grace met the cut for us (literally, we had a rating scale), we have been proud to call it our home church. Attending church had never been a particularly fulfilling experience for me until joining Living Grace for worship and making connections with other families. Participating in Alpha, attending connection events, and currently serving on the Creative Worship and Mutual Ministries teams have strengthened my engagement in Living Grace. It is my desire to help Living Grace grow and continue its unique and important mission to touch the lives of other families, as it did ours.


I was born and raised in north Omaha and have a passion for diversity and social justice. I attended Trinity Lutheran Church all my life and taught there for 30 years. I served on church council in a variety of capacities, and served as a member of the call committee (18 month process) when we sought a new pastor. I have been married to Mike Pieper for 39 years and have two adult daughters: Lauren who is married to Brian Roeder — they are the parents of the loves of my life, granddaughters Pieper and Brinlee; and Leslie who is married to Ken McQueen — they are talented musicians/actors that live in New York City with my grand-dog, Alashanee.

I have been employed as the HR director for the past 12 years at the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce — a civic organization whose mission is to be the catalyst organization that ensures Greater Omaha is a vibrant place to do business, work and live. I had my own small consulting business for a few years prior to joining the Chamber, and spent 25 years before that serving the Omaha Housing Authority in a variety of capacities including HR and training.

I left Trinity in 2010 to join Living Grace as that is where my daughter and grandchildren were worshipping. I am passionate about the importance of God in the lives of children and I am pleased to serve Living Grace as a member of the Grace Place teaching team. My favorite Bible verse is Matthew 19:14 “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” It speaks to the importance role Jesus plays in the lives of children.

I am excited to be a member of here and to do what I can to help move Living Grace into the future. As a member of the Bridge Team, the Grace Place teaching team and the Mutual Ministries Team, I hope to share the gifts that God has given me and serve Living Grace in the coming months and years.

I was born and raised in Homewood, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. My family moved to Omaha when I was 19, and I transferred to the one and only Husker nation. I received my bachelors in psychology and started my Master’s program at UNO. I was married and we moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, where I finished my Masters of Social Work degree from Arizona State University. We missed the seasons, and our families, and eventually moved back to Omaha. We were lucky enough to have Grace in 2001.

Ever since I graduated I have been employed at QLI. QLI is a nationally renowned center of excellence for brain injury and spinal cord injury rehabilitation and care. I have held several positions there and currently work with staff development and resident social services on our long-term care campus.

Grace and I came to Living Grace in 2013. We loved it from the first time we visited! We loved the positive atmosphere, fun service, and meaningful sermons. Grace loved the close relationships she made with kids her age, and I quickly began getting involved in everything. I am very passionate about our youth program, and love working with the Senior High group, or YOLO. I also am a member of the Connections Team and Mutual Ministries team. I love spending time with the other women of Living Grace at Lady Peeps in book studies as well.

My favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not worry about anything, instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all he has done.” I want to live my life praising God and being the best mom I can be. I also want to continue to help Living Grace be a place where everyone feels the love of God the same way Grace and I have.