Meet the Staff
Rev. John Larson
Pastor John Larson has been Pastor of Ascension since the fall of 2005. Prior to his work at Ascension he served as Associate Pastor at Peace Lutheran Church in Arvada from 1992 until 2005. He served as Pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Amherst, Colorado and Venango, Nebraska from the time of his ordination in 1983 until going to Peace in Arvada.
Pastor married his dear wife Marilyn in 1979 and they have been blessed with their three children; Dan, Dave and Eden. Pastor and Marilyn have found that having their children led them to an even greater joy – becoming grandparents!! Their three children have blessed them with eleven grandchildren!!
Pastor enjoys participating in or watching a variety of sports. He feels blessed to be a part of the great work that God has been doing at Ascension Lutheran Church!!
Director of Program Ministries
Mike Zehnder came to Ascension in May 2017, having previously served as a Minister of Music at congregations in Illinois, California and Arizona. He is also an ordained LCMS pastor, having served churches in California, Colorado and Arizona. For a number of years he was the Vice-President of Fellowship Ministries (Tempe, AZ) in charge of worship resources and national conferences and he was also National Worship Consultant at the Center for US Missions, located at Concordia University, Irvine, Colorado.
He is the proud father of five children, two girls and three boys and one also has her Master’s Degree in Music and was named a top oboist in the state of Arizona.
Mike enjoys working with people and the various musical groups at Ascension: choirs, praise teams, handbells, children’s music, instrumentalists. One of the things he especially enjoys at Ascension is the variety and challenge of providing both traditional and contemporary music each week.
One thing he misses: he has been on 17 foreign mission trips teaching, preaching and providing music. He says it keeps him grounded in realizing the tremendous blessings we have in America while also providing him unique opportunities to plant seeds of the Gospel across the globe.
Kathie Harvey provides administrative support to the staff and congregation of Ascension. She loves working at Ascension and being a wife to her husband, Patrick, mother of three girls; Kristina, Megan, and Michelle, grandmother of seven - four girls and three boys, and great-grandmother of two - one boy and one girl!! She has worked at Ascension since March of 2005. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, and creating pen and ink drawings of wildlife.
Kathie is a member of Concordia Lutheran Church in Lakewood.
Coordinator, Young Adult Ministries
Jenna Lawrenz is the part-time young adult coordinator at Ascension. She works with the college students and young adults, doing Bible studies, get-togethers, and college packages. She also helps with youth Bible studies and VBS.
Jenna grew up in the Denver area, attending Peace Lutheran Church throughout her childhood. Her father has served at Peace as a DCE and now a pastor for over 25 years. Her mother has served in the church in various positions as well. Jenna attended Bethlehem Lutheran School and Denver Lutheran High School. She then attended Concordia University in Seward, NE to become a Lutheran school teacher. She has a long history in the Lutheran church!
Jenna's first call was to Trinity Lutheran Church and School in Pueblo, CO where she taught fourth grade for four years and was very active in the church, as well. While in Pueblo, Jenna was blessed to meet her husband, Michael. Michael and Jenna have been blessed with four children: two little boys and twin girls! They have been active members at Ascension for many years. They love this church and look forward to all that God is doing in this place!
COORDINATOR, YOUTH MINISTRY
Christa Kirschner is the part-time youth coordinator at Ascension. She plans, coordinates, and leads events and trips for the junior high and senior high youth. This includes fun fellowship events, retreats, and mission trips. She also volunteers to teach youth Bible class and lead VBS.
Christa grew up in the Denver area and attended Peace Lutheran Church during her childhood. Her father served Peace as a DCE and now pastor for over 25 years. Her mother has served in various roles in the church as well, including music director, children’s ministry coordinator, and teacher. You can say she comes by the passion for ministry naturally!
She attended Bethlehem Lutheran School and graduated from Denver Lutheran High School. She then attended Concordia University in Seward, NE and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education with a concentration in DCE Ministry. After graduation, she taught elementary school and music in Shawnee, KS and then Denver, CO. Christa and her husband, Ian, have been blessed with one daughter. They have been members of Ascension for over four years and are blessed to be a part of the ministry here! She loves serving alongside her coworkers and fellow Christians as we strive to share God’s love and further His Kingdom!
Director: Extended Day Preschool
My name is Kelly Lafferty and I am the Director of the amazing Extended Day preschool program. I am also an Internationally Certified Lactation Consultant with a small company in downtown Denver.
I currently live in Highlands Ranch with my loving two children, my Husband-to-be, and our extremely spunky two-year-old Jack Russel puppy. My very wise and outgoing daughter, Ashlynn (born in 2010), and my very independent and energetic son, Declan (born in 2015); they both attend Wilder Elementary in Littleton. They are both very active and love playing sports outdoors, doing art, or getting dirty with science experiments or just in the dirt of a garden, whichever makes a larger mess for us to clean up, of course. We all feel blessed to be living in beautiful Colorado as it provides us with the ability to take quick trips to an abundance of locations for hiking, exploring, or just relaxing in front of a scenic sunset or mountain views.
I have spent the majority of my life (no need to age myself and tell you for how long) involved with child development and gained my Bachelor of Science degree from Colorado State University in Human Development and Family Studies with an emphasis in Infants and Children. My passion truly is children, and I am fortunate to be surrounded by the laughter and gleeful sounds of children every day in my career. Those sounds drive my energy and fill my cup. Until very recently, I was in a Director role of a very large private preschool nearby in Littleton. Even though I appreciated every moment of my employment and adored my coworkers, I lacked the ability to connect with every single child and family at the school. In the attempts to personally relate to each child and with the rigorous demands of a large capacity school, I typically worked 50+ hours a week. This began to impact my connection with my family and I was often missing out on the important moments of Ashlynn and Declan's childhood. I not only needed to create a new path for myself and my family, but I felt compelled to regain God's word into my career. I truly believe Ascension is exactly what I was searching for and I feel privileged to work alongside of Ms. Marla and Ms. Raegan.
I know I have some pretty big shoes to fill taking over Ms. Chandra's responsibilities, but I hope that I am able to maintain her well-built program and build lasting relationships with these children, parents, and all of you, as well.
Warm regards, Kelly Lafferty, IBCLC
Jim began work at Ascension in February of 2012. Jim has 30 years experience in the plumbing wholesale business and has a computer programming degree.
He and his wife, Laurie, were married in 1983 and are from Iowa moving to Colorado in 1985. Jim has a son, Brad, who lives with his wife and son in Iowa City.
Jim’s hobbies include gardening, woodworking, camping and fishing.