Staff/Leaders

Kaw Prairie Community Church is led by staff, the Vision Team and the Board of Trustees. To learn more about each of these groups, click the links below:

Church Staff: click here.

Vision Team: click here.

Board of Trustees: click here.


Church Staff

KP Staff003Dan McKnight – Lead Pastor

While pursuing his education at Michigan State, Dan worked as a resident assistant and delivery boy; through seminary as an ESL / GED teacher and a security guard on Chicago’s West Side (bullet proof glass and all)! While not fighting bad guys, Dan served as a student pastor in Chicago’s inner West Side and in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. After being ordained, Dan served as youth & evangelism pastor in the Northern suburbs.

Despite all the formal education, Dan never did become the architect he dreamed to be as a child. Dan considers himself quite lucky to share his life with wife Laura, and sons Jeremy and Eli. When at home in Shawnee, he especially enjoys laughing, traveling, learning new things, watching German movies, getting a little, but not too much exercise, working on the yard or anything he can do to spend time with his wife Laura.

Dan’s favorite Bible Verse is John 3:17.

KP Staff010German Portillo – Worship Director

As Worship Director, German’s responsibilities include music, bands and the technology systems to make it all work, the prayer and care ministries as well as the usher, communion server and alter care teams. Having started at Kaw Prairie in 2008, German has been an integral part of the leadership team for many years.

Originally from Maracaibo, Venezuela, German studied at Warner University in Florida. From there, he served in Youth Ministries in North Carolina and Wichita, Kan.

As a child, German wanted to be an engineer. Today his passions are his children, biking, lifting weights, video games and movies.

The verse that resonates with German is Psalm 139. His Spiritual Gifts include Teaching, Leadership, Hospitality and Wisdom.

The Portillo family resides in Shawnee.  German and his wife, Summer have two children: Reese and Lucy.  

KP Staff014Colene Homa – Children and Family Ministries Director (Birth – 5th Grade)

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 and her son, Joshua, currently attends college in Columbia, Mo.

KP Staff023Emily Nelson Dixon – Director of Youth Ministries (6th – 12th grade youth)

Emily has been with Kaw Prairie since 2013, but has followed her calling to serve God through our youth and their families for more than 14 years. Having previously worked as Youth Leader / Assistant Christian Educator for 3 years as well as Director of Youth Ministries for an additional 10 years in other communities, Emily brings a tremendous amount of passion and experience to Kaw Prairie.

With a childhood dream to be a Broadway star, Emily now enjoys music, theatre, time with friends and family and cookies. She attended Northwest Missouri State University and Columbia Seminary before serving in youth ministry.

Emily’s spiritual gifts are; Leadership, Wisdom, Encouragement and Administration. And the verse that most speaks to her is Zephaniah 3:17.

Emily calls Parkville, Mo. home but currently shares her life with her husband Christopher in Olathe. They are blessed with two daughters, Esme and Eloise.

KP Staff018Diane Lee – Connections Director

After working with two previous churches as Director of Assimilation, Diane began serving Kaw Prairie in 2006. She is responsible for the First Impression and Missions teams and the assimilation process. 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.

KP Staff027Andrea O’Keefe – Office Manager

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.

Despite not growing up to be a rock star, Andrea has succeeded in her other aspirations of gardening and time spent outside, travel, spending time with family and friends and enjoying music, concerts and theatre.

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