top of page

Church Staff

Pastor Dave Swonger

Pastor Dave began his call at Messiah Lutheran in December 2020. He joins Deacon Joanne Swonger in a new team ministry that brings a vision for shared pastoral leadership to Messiah Lutheran, Moe Lutheran, and Bethel Lutheran of Stafford.

A 1980 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Pastor Dave served as an officer and aviator in the U.S. Air Force for 6 years before attending Trinity Lutheran Seminary and being ordained to Word and Sacrament ministry in 1990. For the last 30+ years, Pastor Dave has provided pastoral leadership in a variety of ministry settings, most recently serving for over 26 years as Senior Pastor of a congregation in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Pastor Dave enjoys sharing marriage and ministry with his best friend, Joanne. They are blessed with two young adult children, Emelie and Luke. He enjoys yardwork, hiking in the great outdoors, and reading historical novels.

Deacon Joanne Swonger

Deacon Joanne began her call in December of 2020 at Moe Lutheran. She is excited to bring a spirit of shared pastoral leadership to the congregations of Messiah, Moe, and Bethel Stafford, serving in a ministry team with Pastor Dave Swonger.

Deacon Joanne received her undergraduate degree in Music Education from Minot State University, and her Master of Theological Studies degree from Trinity Lutheran Seminary of Columbus, Ohio. She was ordained to Word and Service ministry in 1990 and has served several ELCA congregations in the Western North Dakota Synod, specializing in the areas of worship, music, and faith formation.

Deacon Joanne and Pastor Dave are partners in marriage, ministry, and adventure. They enjoy spending time with their son in Minneapolis and their daughter and son-in-law in Iowa. Deacon Joanne enjoys container and perennial gardening. She loves photography and spending time outdoors.

Jay Ostgaard

Youth Director

Jay began his ministry at Messiah during the win​ter of 1997. Jay grew up in Kenyon Minnesota. He graduated from Kenyon High School in 1987. He earned a B.A. degree from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota.

Before his call to Messiah, Jay served as a Bible Camp Counselor for three summers. He has a passion for working with kids and for serving Christ. He has a wife (Rachel) and two children 

(Tyler & Haley).

Church Office Administrator

bottom of page