Elders are the leaders of the church who in the Bible are also called pastors, bishops, and overseers (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Peter 5:2). Elders are to be men chosen for their ministry according to clear biblical requirements (1 Timothy 2:11-3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9) and an elder’s duties include ruling (1 Timothy 5:17) managing (1 Timothy 3:4-5), tending (1 Peter 5:2-5), giving account (Hebrews 13:17), living an exemplary life (Hebrews 13:7), using authority (Acts 20:28), teaching (Ephesians 4:11, 1 Timothy 3:2), preaching (1 Timothy 5:17), doctrinal instruction (Titus 1:9), and church discipline (Matthew 18:15-17).

The clear pattern of scripture is for local churches to train up multiple qualified elders to serve together as a safeguard for both the church and the elders (Acts 20:17; 2 Timothy 2:2; Titus 1:5; 1 Peter 5:1). Within our leadership, Jesus alone is the Senior Pastor (1 Peter 5:4). Below, you will find the pastors under him who lead and serve in our church family.

Our family of churches has central leadership, as well as local leadership at each of our churches. To find out more about each church's leadership, visit your church's page.


Chris Kakaras
Business & Finance
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Chris graduated from college in May of 2006 and moved to Columbia to be part of the Midtown church family. He accepted an official position on staff in January of 2007. Chris is married to Megan and has three kids: Julie, Gus, and Charlie. His favorite things about Columbia are the lake and the local barbeque.

Ryan Rike
Care & Recovery
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As a college freshman, Ryan researched several churches before moving to Columbia. He attended his first Midtown Gathering his second week at USC, and six weeks later signed up to serve in production and then took the Midtown Class. Ryan served as an intern in the summer of 2008 and then began volunteering with the finance team. He later became a Resident in 2012 and came on staff in 2014. Ryan's favorite things about Columbia are tubing the river in the summer and the Gamecock Spirit that overtakes the city.

Wes Butler
Business Director
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Wes has been a part of the Midtown church family since June 2009. He started coming around at the end of his junior year at USC and stayed in Columbia after graduating to continue to be a part of what God was doing through Midtown. Wes loves spending time outside at places like the River Walk, Congaree, or the Horseshoe at USC as well as the events Main Street like the Latin Festival and the Soda City market.


Michelle Jahnke
Communications Director
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Michelle has been around Midtown since early 2019 and loves that the church is built around both a relationship with Christ and with others. Michelle is married to Mark and has a daughter, Elana. Her favorite things about Columbia are the rivers, lakes, and the Downtown area.

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Megan Rife
Residency Director
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Megan began coming around Midtown in 2014 when she was in college. She became a Resident in May of 2016 and joined the staff two years later. Megan never planned on staying in Columbia after graduating from USC but now can't imagine leaving because she absolutely loves being Midtown family - Midtown makes Columbia feel like home. Megan loves going to Soda City, biking on the Riverwalk, being out on the lake, and finding new things to do in the city with her LifeGroup.

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Nick Johnston
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Nick began coming around Midtown in 2009 when he was in high school and began to call it home when he attended college at USC. Nick participated in the Residency program during his senior year and then came on staff after graduation. Nick married his wife Laura in 2015 and his favorite things to do in Columbia include walking down to the river and spending the afternoon reading and hanging around in his hammock with friends.


Matt Wolfer
Graphic Designer
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Matt first started attending Midtown Gatherings at the State Museum and got plugged in through friends that were a part of the same college ministry. Matt served as a design Resident for a year, a part-time design staff designer for a year, and then came on staff full time in 2017. He is married to Bailey and has one son, Milo.


Each year we work with a group of Residents through our Residency Program, designed to raise up leaders for the existing Church and future church plants.