Rodger takes great delight in paying attention to the extraordinary grace of God in the ordinary events of life. He thinks everything from the laughter of a child to church meetings (he goes to a lot of them), everything from the bark of a dog to life-changing crises mediate the grandeur of God‘s love in Jesus Christ for us. He wants Hillside Christian Church to excel at being the compassionate face of Jesus in the inner-Northland. His favorite Christian in history is Francis of Assisi, who said, ―Always preach the Gospel. Sometimes use words!‖ When he‘s not puzzling out church politics, writing sermons, or visiting hospitals, he and his spouse, Diane Hershberger, operate Stony Crest Urban Farm, where they grow organic vegetables for sale at Farmers Markets. With his collection of over 600 cookbooks, he says he can cook every vegetable they grow at least 3 different ways.
Associate Minister for Youth & Young Adults
Lara is passionate about finding ways to weave together ancient Christian stories & practices, contemporary needs and many generations of God‘s people. Consequently, she is thrilled to have been called to Hillside – a faith community that values the insight, questions and experiences of people from every age group. She considers writing and other creative practices an essential part of her ministry…along with summer camps, social media, and anything else that helps her keep up with tweens, teens and young adults! Lara‘s husband, Chuck Pickrel, is also a Disciples youth minister in the Kansas City region. You can find some of Lara’s written work at Chalice Press, The Thoughtful Christian Blog, and her personal blog – “Serendipity Soiree“.
Director of Children & Family Ministries
Shandra Yost is excited to be serving as the Director of Children and Families Ministry at Hillside. She currently attends Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri. Shandra grew up in Lincoln Nebraska and attended the University of Nebraska-Kearney. She grew up in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) denomination and takes great pride in being a Christian person. It is her joy and pleasure to work with children, youth and families, and she is eager to continue to strive to have an outstanding ministry, in which people experience God more fully. Please join us in celebrating all of the children of God at Hillside Christian Church.
Director of Music Ministries
Darin Parker has been teaching music, conducting choirs and music directing musical productions since 1993. He also enjoys tuning pianos in the metro area. When not trying to figure out some way to catch a Broadway show, he enjoys searching for the perfect balance of brewing hops and malt with his friends. Some of his interests include swimming, sushi, biking, camping and exercising with his kids, Charlie and Spike. He has a soft place in his heart for the Alzheimer‘s Association for which he annually raises funds and awareness by riding his bike 225 miles from Clinton, MO to St. Charles, MO.
Jill grew up in Independence where she was a lifelong, active member of the First Christian Church. She went to college at Texas Christian University and then to Brite Divinity School where she completed her Master of Divinity Degree. Following her ordination, she served the Eastgate Christian Church in Independence for 9 years, then the First Christian Church of San Marcos, Texas, for 2½ years.
When her husband, Eric, was offered a job back in Kansas City earlier this year, Jill decided to take a sabbatical from pastoral ministry to spend more time with their beautiful 4-year old daughter, Maddie. An outdoors lover, Jill is also a budding crafter and an awesome volleyball player!
Director of Outreach Ministries/Hope.wrx