Staff & Leadership

We have a passion for people, our city and our world. Our culture and leadership is characterized by worship, the love of God, and a genuine call to ministry. These core values have been shaped by our rich history of great co-workers and energy; always pressing forward in our call to love God and love others.

Join the Team 

  • Melanie Wallschlaeger

    Senior Pastor

    I love getting to know CTK and community and look forward to getting to know you. I began my call as Senior Pastor at CTK in November 2020. While I grew up in Mankato and belonged to CTK in my youth, it was the questions leaders of CTK were  wrestling with that made me feel God's call to CTK. 

    My husband and I have been married for over 24 years. Together we have two daughters, Kendall and Ashling. I enjoy cooking, baking, travel and walking our black lab Piper. 

  • John Petersen

    Pastor of Senior ministry

    I came to Christ the King in 1996 and served as the Senior Pastor for 18.5 years.  After retiring from the Senior Pastor position and taking a year off, I then returned in 2015 as the Pastor of Senior Ministry.  My pastoral responsibilities are primarily in the area of visitation and helping with worship on a weekly basis. 

    My wife, Ellen, and I live close to the church and have two adult daughters and five grandchildren.

  • Pastor Jenna Couch

    Youth Pastor


    I'm Jenna! 

    I'm so excited to be joining the team here at Christ the King! 

    I grew up in Northeast Iowa and am a "Double Burger;"  I'm a graduate of Wartburg College ('08) and Wartburg Theological Seminary ('12). 

    My husband Mike and I have 2 kids, an almost 6 year old daughter named Kayleigh and a 3 year old son named Spencer. Once we move to Mankato, I would like to get a dog that will be trained to be a therapy dog that I can include in my ministry. 

    We're looking forward to getting to know everyone and to calling Mankato "home."

  • Alyssa Herrig

    Director of youth ministry

    I began my ministry role in August 2021. I am a proud alum of Augustana (Sioux Falls): Go Vikings! I have served several years in children/youth ministry and worked in non-profit recruitment and programming. My intentions in ministry are that everyone that encounters the church feels welcomed, safe and loved. My ministry is framed around on simple saying, "Love God. Love People." (Matthew 22:34-40)

  • Kirsten Elliott

    Director of Children's Ministry

    I started coming to Christ the king in 2013 regularly. My husband and I were married at CTK by Pastor John in May of 2014, and I became an official member in 2017. I became a CTK staff member in September of 2021. I am happy to be a part of every child's faith journey at CTK. I am enjoying the opportunity to get to know the families and kids here. 

    My husband Adam and I have three children: Madden, Ace and Olive + a standard poodle named Saint. My children keep me active and busy but I love watching them grow. In my free time I enjoy doing things as a family. We love checking out new parks, zoos, and swimming pools.

  • Robin Hughes

    Worship Choir director

    Hello! I am originally from Clifton, NJ and moved to MN o attend Gustavus Adolphus College, where I received my Bachelor of Music Education Degree. I earned a Master's Degree in Choral Conducting from Minnesota State University, Mankato. 

    In the Fall of 2004, I joined the faculty at Mankato East High School as the Director of Choral Activities and retired in 2020. Before my position at Mankato East, I directed the choirs at St. Peter high School and the Minnesota State University/Mankato Women's Chorale. From 2014-2020, I was the Director for the Minnesota Music Ambassadors Choir, which performed through Europe every other summer. I currently direct the three high school ensembles for the Mankato Children's Chorus and the Worship Choir at Christ the King.

    My husband, Al, and I live in Mankato and enjoy playing golf, traveling, and spending time with our children and six grandchildren.



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  • Todd Lundquist

    Faith Continuum Coordinator

    In my role, much of my efforts deal with education organizing, promoting, and occasionally leading the discussion of "Adult Education" at 9:15am almost every Sunday; and, occasionally, on Wednesday evening. Faith Continuum is intended to foster a "Greater understanding of our relationship with God and each other". 

    My wife Janece and I share this ministry of CTK and have been engaged members for most of our 44 years of membership here. My parents were members before us. Our two sons and our two grandsons have been baptized here. I am joy filled to be part of the CTK staff. 

  • Jodi Maas

    Faith engagement coordinator

    I have been a member of Christ the King for over 20 years. I have two adult children, Tyler and Lauren, that have grown up at CTK. It was important to our family to have a worship community that literally "became our second family." I believe it takes a village to raise a family and that role is to pass down the values that you share, the values that you hold. 

    Summer 2021 was a fantastic summer, helping plan and be involved with Faith & Fellowship - CTK reunion tour. I hope to develop new opportunities for Christ the King and look forward to leading care groups, researching topics and books for groups and most importantly, I am excited to walk with all of you in this journey of faith. 

  • Al Lee

    Media technician

    Hello! I help with the projection and streaming ministries here at Christ the King. I make sure people can hear the pastors and others during services. 

    I've been married to my wife, Carolyn, for 34 years. W have two children; Christopher (and wife Sarah) and Samantha. We were blessed to become grandparents to grandson, Karsten, who is one year old. 

    When not up in the balcony working on AV at the church, I drive school bus which I have been doing for 33 years.

  • Mark thompson


    I am the semi-retired custodian here at Christ the King and have been employed here since October of 1977. 

    In my spare time, I enjoy caring for our dog, Dex, and generally helping people out when possible. I also like playing the organ for 'fun' and am on the Mankato area AGO, American Guild of Organists, board.

  • carolyn krause

    Office administrator

    We moved to Mankato in fall of 2016 and became members of CTK in 2017.  I began as part-time office administrator at CTK in February 2023.  Prior to our move to Mankato, we lived in St. James for 30 years and I worked at First Lutheran Church for 16 of those years.


    I have 3 children and 3 grandchildren, and my favorite times are those spent with my family.


    In my spare time I enjoy gardening, cooking and spending time searching the internet for new recipes to try out on my family. 

  • Andrea petzel

    communications and event coordinator

    I began as Wedding Coordinator for CTK in May of 2021. My role has evolved into covering all events being held at the church, and now have the title of Event Coordinator. 

    I have also taken on the role of Communications Coordinator. This has quickly become my passion, having the privilege to further the mission of CTK through email, social media, and creating our new website, has been a true blessing! 

    When I'm not coordinating for CTK, I spend my time as a stay-at-home mom of two. My husband and I joined Christ the King in April of 2014 and were married by Pastor John that November. In my free time, I love to read, watch Hallmark movies, and bake.

  • Denise Amundson

    Front Desk

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  • Garrett Steinberg


caring ministry

Even at times when we may feel alone or far from God – God remains close to us. As the body of Christ, we strive to “be there” for one another in a variety of ways.


VISTITATION MINISTRY: A lay visitation team and our pastors are available to visit people in need of spiritual care. Contact the church office if you or someone you love is in need of a pastoral care visit.


PRAYER MINISTRY: A prayer team is committed to praying for prayer requests of our congregation and community. Prayer shawls are available for people facing a health related challenge so that they may know they are “wrapped in God’s love” with care from CTK.


SMALL GROUP MINISTRY: A variety of small groups are available where people experiencing similar situations, can support and care for one another from their shared experience. CTK has had a number of small groups based on particular life situations, such as Marriage Care groups, a Divorce Care group, a Caregivers Group, and a Grief Group for young widows. If you have a particular need and would like to start a small group to address it, please notify one of the pastors or staff.