Meet the Team!

From our founding in 2001, we have been committed to a multiplicity of diverse leaders. We don't believe the church is best served by the limited gifts and character of one person. Rather, we trust the Lord has gifted us with many leaders, men and women, who each offer their gifts for the building up of the body of Christ. (Read a little more about our commitment to a multiplicity of leadership here.)

Below, you'll meet our 3 main teams: our ministry team and our shepherd team give oversight to our central ministries and overarching vision as a church, while our deacon team supports and builds up the 5 house churches that are spread out throughout the north/northwest suburbs of Chicago.

Pastors and ministry Team Staff

  • Juliet Liu, Co-Pastor

    Juliet has served as a pastor at Life on the Vine since 2014. She is a 2nd generation Vietnamese Chinese American, and married to Sheldon; they have two sons who are now able to reach things on high shelves for Juliet.  Juliet is a current Doctor of Ministry student at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary on Northwestern's campus, a graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (M.Div, 2005) and an alumna of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign (B.A., 2001).  Prior to coming to Life on the Vine in 2010, she ministered as a college campus minister with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, the Director of Worship at Northshore Chinese Christian Church (2005-2007), and Director of Chapel at Trinity International University (2007-2009). She also taught periodically at Trinity International University as an adjunct faculty member of the Christian Ministries Department. Juliet currently serves as Chair of the Board for Missio Alliance, offers spiritual direction, and enjoys speaking and writing about spirituality that is both contemplative and justice-centered, the joy of men and women fully partnering together for the kingdom, and the gospel and racial justice. 

  • Susanne Calhoun, Co-Pastor

    Called to co-pastor at Life on the Vine in the winter of 2021, Susanne is married to Jeff Calhoun and they are raising two energetic daughters, Eliana and Eloise. Susanne received her PhD in Historical Theology from Wheaton College in 2018 and is a graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (MA in Church History, 2007) and Trinity International University (BA in Christian Ministries, 2003). Susanne has served as an adjunct professor in Christian Doctrine and Christian Ministries at Trinity International University (2016–2020). At Life on the Vine, she has ministered as a co-youth pastor since 2018, a pastoral fellow in 2019, and a shepherd since 2020. Previous ministry experience includes two decades of mentoring young women, four years as a research assistant and volunteer coordinator for the Office of the Senior Pastor at The Chapel (Grays Lake, Illinois), three summers as a camp counselor at Arrowhead Bible Camp (New Auburn, Wisconsin), and three stints as a student and a leader with Youth With A Mission at training schools in Britain and the Middle East.

  • Stacey Hohbein, director of local mission and integration

    Stacey and her husband, Gary, live in Hoffman Estates. Stacey grew up in Rock Island, Illinois and then studied at the University of Illinois, where she got her Bachelors in Psychology and East Asian Studies. After graduating from the University of Illinois, Stacey worked at a campus church in Champaign/Urbana for 12 years. During her 12 years working in campus ministry, Stacey spent many summers participating in mission trips to Japan. In 2012, Stacey moved to Japan as a career missionary with SEND International where she served with Intervarsity Japan. Due to an injury, Stacey returned from the mission field in 2015, at which point she landed in the Chicago area. She spent about five years coaching and training missionaries before transitioning into her role at LOV. Stacey met Gary in 2018 and they were married in 2019. She recently graduated from Northern Seminary where she obtained a Masters in Theology and Mission.

  • Tim PFLUG, Director of Music and Artist-in-residence

    Tim graduated from Trinity International University in 2005. He has worked in local school districts to make technology, information, and systems work better for teachers and students. As Artist in Residence at LOV, Tim helps to engage our community with art and physical symbols that help us experience and explore our faith. This often involves curating the artwork on our walls, encouraging the artists in our community, or leading us through meditations on art from time to time. Additionally, Tim serves as one of our Music Team Leaders. Tim is married to Lindsay, and they have three kids in Highwood, IL. 

  • Zach Wright, Director of youth and family mInistry

    Zach joined the team in 2023 as Director of Youth and Family Ministry. Zach has a BA in Bible and Communications from Moody Bible Institute and an MA in Theology and Mission from Northern Seminary. Prior to his time at LOV, Zach worked for 7 years as a worship pastor in Chicago, and he has worked with youth for over 15 years in various contexts. Zach lives in Palatine with his wife Jocelyn, their son Emmett, and two dogs: Chovi and Rooter. 

  • Leah Strom, Director of Children's MInistry

    Leah has served as Director of Children's Ministry since August of 2019. Not only does Leah have many years of children's ministry experience, she works as an Instructional Coach in District 62 (Des Plaines) where she gets to be a teacher to teachers. Along with her vast experience as an educator, Leah brings her passion for creativity and her warm nature to our children and to the parents and volunteers she trains.

  • Eric Bangeman, Liturgical Arts Coordinator

    In addition to being Managing Editor of technology and science website Ars Technica, Eric serves as our head liturgist and liturgy team coordinator at Life on the Vine. Eric earned an M.A. in Theological Studies from North Park Theological Seminary. Since September of 2018, he has helped coordinate and train the liturgists who shape our prayers and worship at Life on the Vine. Eric is married to Kerry Bangeman; they have a daughter, a son, and two dogs in Park Ridge, IL.

  • Dina Lindemann, Treasurer

    Book keeper, geo cacher, mom of two bright young people, wife of the multi-instrumentalist Hans Lindemann. Dina has served as Treasurer to Life on the Vine for an untold number of years (although she probably knows the exact number since her job is all about numbers). 

  • Jill Carlson, Administrative COordinator

    Bio coming soon...

Shepherd Team (Elders)

The shepherds of Life on the Vine, together with the pastor(s), oversee and guide the community toward the ongoing fulfillment of its calling and vision together.

To that end, shepherds are consistently engaged in the process of:

  • Shepherding

  • Disciple-Making and Equipping

  • Deepening Community

  • Mobilizing for Mission

  • Spiritual Discernment

  • and Organizational Governance.

In the offering of their own gifts, Shepherds are not the ones who do the ministry of the church alone, but they help equip, empower, and release all members of the church into the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

  • Brian Sutherland

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  • Jana Sundene

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  • Jeff Andrews

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  • Heather Cordero

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  • Marie Butson

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  • Tim Vanlaningham

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  • Sheldon Waite

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House Church Deacons

"Deacon" is an ancient term, often translated as "servant" or "minister" in the bible. Deacons in the New Testament are often associated with the leadership of house church communities - and that is what they represent here at Life on the Vine as well. Deacons offer their gifts of pastoring, nurturing, and hospitality for the building up of our house church communities.

We have 2 house church communities, and the groups are named by geography: North and South.

  • Laura Moon - South

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  • Jeff Andrews - North

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  • Kristin Andrews - North

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  • Ed Casey - NORTH

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