Staff & Leadership

Dan McKnight

Dan McKnight

Lead Pastor

Dan’s the founding and lead pastor at Kaw Prairie, responsible for vision, strategy, preaching and staff management. After growing up in Illinois farm country, his family moved to the Chicago suburbs in his early teens. He got his BA in Pre-Law (Constitutional Democracy) & English at Michigan State, then worked his way through seminary as an ESL/GED teacher and a security guard on Chicago’s south side. He served two years as a student pastor on the city’s west side, and then married his high school sweetheart Laura Blair McKnight.

They spent a year together in Frankfurt, Germany on his pastoral internship, and upon getting his M.Div. and being ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, they moved to the north Chicago suburbs, where Dan served as a buoyant and balding youth pastor. He used some of those student-wrangling skills to plant a dynamic ancient-future church in the western suburbs, where he pastored until late 2003.
Responding to a call to church-plant a second time-- this time with a dedicated core group in Johnson County, KS-- Dan and Laura moved here in 2004 with their two small sons Jeremy and Eli. Laura works now at Donnelly College, son Jeremy at Hereford House, and Eli with on homework with his earbuds in. Dan enjoys traveling, skiing, learning new things, watching German comedies and cop shows, getting a little exercise (first half-marathon in 2015!), and working in the yard. Mostly though, he loves laughing and playing with his family-- and regular dates with Laura and quiet time with the Bible and a beverage.

Dan’s favorite Bible verse is John 3:17, and his favorite foods are gyros and smoked salmon. Not at the same time.

Bryan Thompson

Bryan Thompson

Music and Creative Arts

As Worship Director, Bryan’s responsibilities include music, bands, video production, graphic, and web design as well as the usher, communion server and altar care teams.

Originally from Panama City, FL, Bryan studied at Gulf Coast College in Florida and Evangel University in Springfield, MO. He served on staff at churches from Portland, OR to Phoenix, AZ. In 2013, he and his wife planted a church in St. Louis, where they stayed for two years.

Bryan’s passions include his wife Kristin (also on staff), his daughters Grace, Hope, and Noel, and his obsessive hobbies include writing, movies, and discovering new podcasts.

The verse that resonates with Bryan is Isaiah 40:31.

Chris Miller

Chris Miller

Youth, Young Adults, and Missions

Chris is the Director of Youth, Young Adults, and Missions. Joining the team in late 2015, Chris and his wife Sally have hit the ground running in building a strong team of youth volunteers and getting to know students in the Kaw Prairie Community.

Originally from Springfield, MO, Chris recently completed his Master’s of Divinity and is currently in the process of becoming ordained.

Chris and his wife Sally lived in Chicago, IL previously where he served on the World Vision team. Chris is still actively involved with World Vision, and - furthering his drive for mission in the world - uses his experience to motivate youth and young adults (and older adults) to get involved in what God is doing in the world and make an impact.

He and his wife Sally have a four-year-old daughter, Ollie. They live in Overland Park.

Colene Homa

Colene Homa

Children and Family Ministries

Colene has dedicated much of her life to Youth Ministries. With more than 15 years helping inspire children and families through the United Methodist Church, she has served as worship leader, graphic designer, communications and in children’s ministries.

Calling Rapid City, SD home, Colene attended Missouri Southern University and St. Paul School of Theology. Her Spiritual Gifts include Administration, Faith, Wisdom and Teaching. But as a child she just wanted to be the boss!

When not at Kaw Prairie, Colene enjoys ancestry and sci-fi. One of her greatest passions is Vacation Bible School and the chance to help cultivate children through Christ. Her favorite Bible verse is Deuteronomy 6:4-9.

Colene resides in Lenexa.

Andrea O’Keefe

Andrea O’Keefe

Business Operations

Andrea began working at Kaw Prairie in 2013 and currently serves in multiple roles including Office Administration, Finances, Facility Management, Facility Rentals and overall staff support. Prior to joining Kaw Prairie, Andrea served as a corporate accountant for two years and in Office Administration for 10 years at a Lutheran Church.

With her hometown in Lenexa, Kan., Andrea attended the University of Kansas. Her Spiritual Gifts include Administration, Faith, Hospitality and Teaching Wisdom. 2 Timothy 1:7 is the Bible Verse she is drawn to the most.

Andrea and her three children – Katie, Max and Nathan – live in Olathe.

Kristin Thompson

Kristin Thompson

Next Steps and Small Groups

Kristin Thompson joined the Kaw Prairie team in the fall of 2015, and has brought groups and next-steps assimilation to the forefront of Kaw Prairie. Her passion is getting people to find their biggest friends and supporters. The best way to connect people spiritually is to connect them relationally.

Kristin builds those relationships in two ways - small community groups that meet in homes, coffee shops, and more. And the second is through Next-Step Classes. These classes include adult discipleship courses like Alpha, Financial Peace, and family development classes. And groups organically form after these classes.

She is the wife of Bryan, our worship director, and mother of Grace, Hope, and Noel.

Diane Lee

Diane Lee

Community and Congregational Care

After working with two previous churches as Director of Assimilation, Diane began serving Kaw Prairie in 2006. She is responsible for the Usher and Setup teams and assimilating people into Christian community at Kaw Prairie through classes like Pie with the Pastor, Kaw Prairie 101, and Membership Classes. If you’ve ever stepped foot in Kaw Prairie, you know Diane.

Diane attended Western Illinois University and calls Royersford, Penn. home. Her primary hobbies are reading and hanging out with family.

Her Spiritual Gifts are Hospitality, Leadership and Administration. Her favorite Bible verse is Romans 13:9-13.

Diane and her husband Jim reside in Lenexa and have two grown daughters, Wendy and Suzanne, and five grand children.

Shawn Simpson

Shawn Simpson

Media and Production

Shawn began as Production Coordinator in January 2016. He leads the tech team including Display, Camera, Sound, and Lights.

Before coming to Kaw Prairie, Shawn worked extensively as an audio producer and production engineer in Nashville and served churches throughout the US as a production director.

In addition to being husband to Amy and their three boys, Shawn is currently training in a second degree in Broadcasting and can be heard hosting college sports radio for Johnson County Community College.

Kathryn Largent

Kathryn Largent

Childcare

You may not see Kathryn on the main stage on the weekend, but she is probably the first face you’ll see when you walk into KP Monday through Thursday.

Originally hired to set up childcare for staff and events for Kaw Prairie members and attendees, Kathryn also became the cafe supervisor and morning Barista at the Kaw Prairie Cafe. Come to Kaw Prairie in the morning and Kathryn will serve you a caffeinated (or decaffeinated) treat.

She lives with her husband Erik and their daughter Mackenzie.