Staff

John Hill

John Hill

Senior Pastor

John Hill is the senior pastor at First Church. He loves to laugh, enjoys good stand up comedy, as well as great burgers. He has three daughters and one son. John is married to Kristin. They met at church and it was love at first sight. She is an incredible woman who loves Jesus and His gospel. John is a firm believer that when we follow Jesus, the best is yet to come for us, and no matter where we are at in our lives, in Christ, we can live guilt free and grace full. Pastor John and Kristin would love to meet you, please feel free to introduce yourself on a Sunday morning (or anytime you run into them)!

John can be reached at pastorjohn@first.church.

Alyce Wendt

Alyce Wendt

Executive Director of Ministries

Alyce Wendt is the Executive Director of Ministries at First Church. A young, passionate woman, Alyce came to First Church seeking to fulfill God’s call upon her life to inspire and serve His people. With her B.A. in English Literature and Religious Studies from Calumet College of St. Joseph, she is eager to help the Church’s ministries grow and thrive, creating a welcoming atmosphere infused with life and excitement for the Lord. Alyce is married to Dakota, and they reside in Wheatfield with their black lab, Teal. Alyce loves being outdoors, singing Disney princess songs at the top of her lungs, and being a part of First Church’s band on Sunday mornings. You can spot Alyce easily (she’s 6’2’’!) in our lobby before and after services, and she’d love to connect with you and help you get plugged in to one of our many wonderful ministries. “Saved People Serve People,” and Alyce has committed her life to doing just that.

Alyce can be reached at alyce@first.church.

Kristin Hill

Kristin Hill

Hebron Campus Director

As First Church Hebron Campus Director, Kristin does more than wrangle Pastor John in. With more than 10 years of ministry experience, she’s obsessed with innovating new ways of creating amazing discipleship content that’s absurdly useful and effective. 

She also loves meeting new people and sharing her faith because she never wants to stop helping people find the peace she has found solely in Jesus.

Kristin can be reached at kristin@first.church.

Grant Allen

Grant Allen

Worship & Music Director

Grant Allen joined the First Church staff in 2012. Raised in Texas, he went to the College of the Ozarks in southwest Missouri where he got his B.A. in music ministry and in Spanish. Grant has served in music ministry in various denominations from Methodist to Southern Baptist to Catholic. He has a heart for unity of the Church in Christ. “I want to see all people come and worship God so that when they leave a worship service; they will see God as more awesome than when they came.”

Grant’s wife Lora also has her degree in music from the College of the Ozarks and teaches piano and violin. They have three daughters and a son.

Here at First Church, Grant wants to make sure that members of the Body of Christ are doing what God made them to do within the church. So if you have desire to get involved in worship in any capacity, please contact Grant through the church.

Grant can be reached at grant@first.church.

Aleah Witvoet

Aleah Witvoet

Impressions Director

Aleah Witvoet is the Impressions Director. She is very detail oriented, ambitious, has a huge heart for others, and loves meeting new people. Aleah wants to serve others and share the good news of Jesus so that they, too, may become passionate followers of Christ. She attended Kent State University and Ivy Tech Community College and graduated with an Associate’s Degree, as a CST. She is originally from Ohio and now resides in Wheatfield with her husband Jay and two dogs Ace and Boomer. Aleah loves the outdoors, antique shopping, and spending quality time with others.

You can contact Aleah at aleah@first.church.

Zachary Fraley

Zachary Fraley

Youth Director

Zachary is the Youth Director here at First Church. A native Texan, Zachary is excited to be on the team here in Indiana! He is Heaven bent on reaching the next generation for Christ, and equipping them to share their passion for Jesus.

Zachary came to Christ when he was 17, but didn’t realize his call to ministry until he was 20. While attending Texas Lutheran University, studying Vocal Performance, he began attending a church that taught him how to truly walk out a Christ-Centered life. Since then, it’s been history! Zachary is married to Blair and the two enjoy hanging out at coffee shops, studying the Bible, and chilling with youth!

Zachary can be reached at zachary@first.church

Colton Brooks

Colton Brooks

Hebron Worship Director

Colton is the Hebron Worship Director. Born and raised in Alabama, He graduated from the University of Mobile in 2012 and pursed a career in entertainment at Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World Orlando. A few years later, Colton and his wife, Caton, moved to Branson, Missouri where Colton joined the Cast of Sight and Sound Theaters and the Brooks were blessed with their twin boys, Sam and Toby. In 2017, they moved back to Orlando where Colton served as the Director of Music and Worship for a Methodist Church in Orlando before moving to Indiana in March of 2020.

In his free time Colton loves to meet new people, play games, drink LOTS of coffee, and talk about his favorite time of year, CHRISTMAS! Colton is currently pursing his Masters Degree in Worship Leadership and Theology.

Colton can be reached at colton@first.church

Elizabeth Abell

Elizabeth Abell

Director of Children's Ministry

Elizabeth is the Director of Children’s Ministries at First Church. A DeMotte native, she has spent much of her life with children through her family, past job experiences, and her time as a First Kids volunteer. Elizabeth is so excited to use her God-given ability to love children of all ages and backgrounds while teaching them about Jesus! She cannot wait to see how God works through her to reach generation after generation while obtaining her business administration degree from Indiana University Northwest!

Elizabeth can be reached at elizabeth@first.church 

Toni Clements

Toni Clements

Director of Hebron Campus Children's Ministry

Toni Clements is the Director of Children’s Ministry at First Church Hebron.  As a Hebron Native, she feels so blessed to have the opportunity to influence children not only at First Church, but also in the community.  Toni is excited to use her abilities to teach children the love of Jesus in an environment that is highly engaging and interactive.

She and her husband Robert have three children.  In her free time, she enjoys volunteering at her children’s school, being involved in Cub Scouts, and spending time with friends.

Toni can be reached at toni@first.church

David Sanders

David Sanders

Media & Production Director

David Sanders is the Media and Production Director at First Church. He was raised in Uttar Pradesh, India and completed his B.A. in Cinematic Arts at Liberty University. David felt a calling from the Lord in high school to pursue a career in film and media. He desires to use these powerful tools of communication to draw people to a relationship with Christ. He greatly wants every passion, and aspect of his life to be used to glorify God.

David is married to Jaymi; they both live in DeMotte. David is a huge outdoor enthusiast who prefers time outside to time spent inside. He also enjoys photography, flying drones, board games, and good conversations.

David can be reached at david@first.church

Reneé Sanders

Reneé Sanders

Building Director

Reneé Sanders is the Building Director at First Church. Raised in Wheatfield, she now resides in DeMotte with her husband, Austin, their cats Dill and Taco, along with their various outside animals. Reneé received a Technical Certificate in Practical Nursing from Ivy Tech Community College. In her free time, she thoroughly enjoys taking care of her animals, going on coffee dates, singing with the band at the 6pm service, and co-leading a life group!

Reneé has always had a passion for helping others, and after surrendering her entire life to Jesus on October 23, 2018, Jesus lit her passion on fire! She loves connecting with people of all ages and backgrounds and enjoys being a part of a team whose mission is to see generation after generation become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 16:14 it says, “And do everything with love,” and that is exactly what Reneé intends to do!

Reneé can be reached at renee@first.church

Aubrey Toppen

Aubrey Toppen

Communications Director

Aubrey is the Communications Director at First Church. Growing up in the town of DeMotte and being the fourth generation in her family to experience God’s presence at First Church, Aubrey is so excited to apply her God-given abilities of writing and building relationships to serve the Kingdom!

Coincidentally, outside of work Aubrey enjoys reading and writing creatively while also going to college online through Indiana University East. As Aubrey works towards a degree in Communications Studies, she is so excited to be able to give back to the church she was raised in!

Aubrey can be reached at aubrey@first.church 

Cooper Baumgartner

Cooper Baumgartner

Social Media Director

Cooper is the Social Media Director at First Church. Born and raised in the mountains of Pennsylvania, he has had a passion to see lives forever changed by God since surrendering his life to Christ at the age of 14.

With a love for using, building, and fixing technology, Cooper is a true “nerd.” He has spent many hours learning and applying the art of videography. His interest in technology has pushed him to discover many different areas and uses of tech, which he is excited to apply to First Church’s various social media platforms!

Cooper can be reached at cooper@first.church 

Molly Ciancanelli

Molly Ciancanelli

Life Group Coordinator

Molly Ciancanelli is the Life Group Coordinator at First Church. She grew up going to First Church and has been an owner since she was a teen. She retired from a 39 year career in nursing in 2014 and has volunteered as our Life Group Coordinator since 2016.

This is right up her alley because she is highly relational. She loves Jesus and she loves people. She knows that getting someone plugged into a Life Group is the best way for them to build relationships with others and grow in their relationship with Christ. She’ll do her best to get you into the Life Group that fits your schedule and needs.

Molly lives with her husband Paul in DeMotte and can usually be seen out talking with people in the lobby before and after services. She’d love to meet you!

Molly can be reached at molly@first.church

Leadership Team

Paul Ciancanelli

Paul Ciancanelli

Elder

John Allen

John Allen

Elder

John Van Soest

John Van Soest

Elder

Jeff Boer

Jeff Boer

Deacon

Brent Przybylski

Brent Przybylski

Deacon

Jon Kingma

Jon Kingma

Deacon