Lead Pastor Chris & Kathleen Holck
Southern Oaks Campus Pastor Sam & Cheri Benson
Dr. Sam Benson and his wife Cheri have been in ministry for over 50 years. They have led several congregations through major expansions and today they are more excited about the future than ever before. Sam uses inspired preaching to stir the hearts of his audiences to
purposed-filled action. He is a pastor, evangelist and missionary evangelist. He frequently speaks in churches and business and ministry organizations. Sam began preaching the Gospel in 1967 and has traveled to the nations of the world with his message. Cheri is an insightful teacher of the Scriptures, entrepreneur and a certified Life Coach. She is in demand as a women's conference speaker and is a mentor to business and ministry professionals. On January 21, 2001 at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Pastor Sam was awarded the Ecclesiastical Degree of Doctor of Divinity (DD). This degree was conferred by the Mid-Atlantic Conference of the Methodist-Episcopal Church and the National Clergy Council.
Elder Chairman Bill & Mary Ann Hicks
Elder Tom & Bonnie Albert
Elder Jerry & Glenna Brown
Jerry Brown was born in Providence, Rhode Island. His father was a Baptist minister at the first African American church in Providence, and his mother was a social worker. While in elementary school, Jerry’s family moved to Westfield, N.J., where he concluded his secondary education as co-captain of Westfield’s cross country and spring track team. He went on to earn a B.S. in mathematics at Morgan State University in Baltimore and was commissioned a second lieutenant through MSU’s ROTC program.
Jerry’s business career began in sales with Johnson and Johnson, and continued with Unilever where he advanced to vice president of customer and business development.
Jerry fully committed his life to Jesus Christ in September 1980. Since then, he has served on a mission board, taught Sunday School, and participated in Community Bible Study, Bible Study Fellowship, Navigator programs, and a Precepts Bible Study.
Since moving to The Villages in 2009, Jerry has engaged in One-to-One Discipleship, Real Life Discipleship, Community Bible Study, and Engage Bible Study. He also has volunteered in a mentoring program at Leesburg High School and has been active in Encore Groups at Live Oaks Community Church, where he also serves as an usher and elder.
Elder Michael & Barbara Cooper
Michael Cooper became a Christian while in junior high during a church camp in northern Indiana. But his real growth as a believer didn’t begin until he went away to college and recognized during the first week of his freshman year that he could not make it by himself. That’s when a fellow student shared Matthew 6:33 with him: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided to you.”
“For me it was like someone threw me a life preserver, and I grabbed hold of it,” he recalls. “I had asked Jesus to be my Savior in junior high, but now as a freshman in college, I was asking Him to be the Lord of my life.”
Upon graduation, Michael went on to teach high school science for 39 years. He and wife Barbara have three sons and eight grandchildren. “Life has had its ups and downs, but God has continued to be faithful to His Word,” he says.
Elder Patrick & Linda Nuss
Pat Nuss moved from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, to Green Bay when he was 12, and grew up attending Catholic schools. After college at nearby St. Norbert, he served three years with the Army in Korea and Viet Nam, attaining the rank of captain and receiving both the Army Commendation Medal and the Bronze Star.
Pat met wife Linda while in graduate school at the University of Wisconsin. They married in 1968 and eventually settled in Bloomington, Minnesota, where they raised four children. After several successful entrepreneurial endeavors, Pat concluded his career as a self-employed executive search consultant.
Pat and Linda both received Christ in 1975 as the result of a Bible Study Fellowship study of Romans. “I was surprised to learn that salvation was not a reward for anything I could do,” Pat recalls, “but was made possible as the result of what He did.”
Soon the couple joined an Evangelical Free Church where Pat served as an elder, church chairman, and teacher. He also joined the Elim Care board of directors, which brought him to The Villages in 2013 to help explore the partnership LOCC now enjoys with Trinity Springs. Today, Pat and Linda, proud grandparents of five grandchildren, belong to an Encore Group at LOCC, where Pat also serves as part of the GPS leadership and teaching team.
Elder Bill & Ruth Olthoff
I was born.and raised in South Holland, IL, the son and grandson of farmers. I accepted the Lord as my personal savior at the age of ten at Bethany Camp at Winona Lake, IN. I graduated from llliana Christian High School where Ruth and I started dating. I then attended Wheaton College and graduated with a degree in Economics and Business. Ruth and I were married during college and after graduation I took a position as a loan officer at a bank. Two years later I began farming with my father and eventually moved to Bourbonnais IL. where I have farmed for over 50 years. Ruth was a stay at home mom. She also worked in evangelical outreaches. Eventually she went back to school for a degree in accounting helping with the books in our farm operation as well as working for an accounting firm for twenty years. Ruth and I have been blessed with four children, eighteen grandchildren, and 6 great grandchildren. We both grew up in the Reformed Church but joined Calvary Bible Church which became an evangelical Free Church where I served as Elder for forty years and fifteen years as a choir director. Ruth taught Precept Bible studies for a time and we were involved in a small group ministry. We purchased in The Villages in 2004 and we are snowbirds for six months as I still farm. We longed for a church in The Villages that had Bible expository preaching and were thrilled to be involved with LOCC from the beginning-thanks to Roger and Betty Augenstein. We served on the Provisional leadership team with them. I believe at live Oaks Community Church is a gift from God where He is changing lives in Christ forever. I was involved for several years serving agriculture on the boards of Illinois Farm Bureau and Country Financial. I continue to serve on the Kankakee County Board. I serve on the Board of Regents of Trinity International University and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School where I will finish my ten year term in three years. Proverbs 3:5&6 says ''Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and He will direct your paths." For Ruth and myself He certainly has.
Elder Dan & Helen Rude
Elder Rick & Debbie Vielhak
Elder Rich & Donna Wells
Rich Wells received Christ at 21 years old during what he describes as one of the darkest times of his life. He calls it his “Damascus Road” experience, “me heading in one direction and God’s grace delivering me from the grip of the enemy.”
For the next 22 years he not only immersed himself in church work, but also traveled with mission groups to Poland, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.
Rich married in 1972 and had 12 children with his first wife. He considered the local tree service that he founded in 1974 not only to be a means to support his family, but also a “tent-making” job that supported his love of sharing the gospel with others. He sold the business shortly before moving to The Villages in 2016.
Rich married his wife Donna in 1998, and together they share 35 grandkids “who we adore and are so blessed to see them growing up in Christian homes.”
“I don’t deserve all the good in my life, and I remain as one who has been broken,” Rich says. “All praise to the Lord for His redeeming love.”