Gene Witte

Lead Pastor

Gene grew up outside of Faribault on Cannon Lake.  Gene was exposed to the gospel through his childhood and as a young teen he made his “best decision ever” when he asked Jesus Christ to become his Rescuer from rebellion and sin.   During his youth he was profoundly impacted through his parents’ choice to do foster care in Rice County.  Gene shares that one of the early life lessons he learned was the disastrous effect the choices of a man can have upon his family.  Gene’s passion is to see gospel seeds sown in the life of another, and then germinate and grow into a transformed life that is surrendered, controlled, and made brand new by Jesus.  Gene desires to make his life ALL ABOUT JESUS.

He earned a Masters of Divinity from Central Baptist Theological Seminary.  Gene credits his passion for making disciples of Jesus to a couple of Marine Corp guys who served with the Navigators.  He loves to teach the Bible, discuss theology and challenge others to take that next step for Jesus.  He also enjoys cooking on his Green Egg, boating and snowmobiling with family and friends.

Gene married the love of his life Cheryl in 1988.  They have four daughters, two son-in-laws and two of the cutest granddaughters in the universe.  Gene & Cheryl have enjoyed serving the faith family of First Baptist since becoming pastor in 1988.  The Witte family mission is To treasure God above all else daily and invite others to do the same.

Allen Nevalainen

Associate Pastor

Allen was born up on the Iron Range of Minnesota, but grew up in Rochester, MN from Jr High through the first couple of years of college.  His formal education was in Visual Arts where he earned my bachelor’s degree from Bemidji State University.  It was in Bemidji where he met his wife, Jaime.  They got married in Nov of 1999 and  lived up north until Allen graduated from college.  Spending a few years in Rochester they eventually moved to the Cities where he spent most of his working career in the corporate world of Software.  They now live just south of Kilkenny and enjoy spending time outside, hanging with friends and playing games.  Allen is an avid musician and enjoys playing his banjo any chance he gets.

Chris Bush

Office Manager

Chris has served as our Office Manager for over 20 years.

She keeps our office organized and running smoothly and the flow of communication open between those who come through the doors and the staff as a whole.  In her down time she enjoys swimming, connecting with other women or just breathing in the sun.  She is always up for a coffee, so stop by the King’s Café and she’ll make you one.

Chris and her husband, Tracey, have three sons and live in Elysian.