At Ankeny First, we believe that
people want a life with meaning.

The word meaning may be a little different for each of us. Meaning in life could be the work that you think is important, or your deep relationships, or even seeing how your past pain can help someone else. While wanting meaning in our lives, many are settling for more: more square feet, more money in the bank, more toys in the garage, more successes, or more activities for our kids. As we chase more, the more we wonder if there is ever going to be enough. We often wonder if we are enough, so we compensate with more.

Ankeny First is here to guide you past the obstacle of more, and direct you toward a meaningful life. Our method begins by taking a step in worship. Next, you take a step to connect with others in a small group. Finally, you take a step to respond in service. Then repeat.

WORSHIP

Worship is the belief that God is worth it. A great way to express that God is worth our time is by setting aside time to attend a church worship service. A worship service isn't the only way to show God is worth it. It’s possible to have profound worship experiences that aren’t inside the walls of a church. 

Worship happens when we release ourselves to God. When the way we treat others, or what we say to others reveals that God is worth it, we worship. Any time we notice what God has done and feel like telling God, "Good job!" we worship.

CONNECT

To get past the quest for more to a quest for meaning, you're going to need some help. After you begin to experience that God is "worth it" in worship, the next step is to connect with other people. 

To connect at Ankeny First is to be part of a small group centered on Jesus. He is what we have in common. We are transformed in these relationships as we study the Bible and talk about our faith, seeking to understand Jesus better and follow him more closely. Our differences become opportunities to stretch our understanding of God and the world. What we have in common becomes a foundation of trust. These are the connections that clarify the meaning our lives have.

RESPOND

Connecting with one another opens room for the power of the Holy Spirit. That power is released through the gifts, natural abilities, and good and bad experiences each of us has had. We all have something of value to offer, and nothing short of the transformation of the world is at stake. Meaningful work is important to having a meaningful life; contributing what you have to the transformation of the world is as meaningful as it gets.

There is more going on when we serve, though. When we respond in service, we find ourselves back at worship, discovering the love of God from the other side as we express love to others with no expectation of repayment. To respond is its own reward; it elevates our ability to praise the worthiness of God.

This all sounds pretty simple, and it is simple. Simple doesn't make it easy, though.
Come along with the end in mind,
knowing that a meaningful life really is about growing in love with God.

Pastors and STAFF

Pastor Mike Janes - Lead Pastor

Mike Janes joined the staff at Ankeny First United Methodist on July 1, 2017. Prior to Ankeny, he served in Davenport for 10 years, Le Mars for 4 years, and in Muscatine for 7 years. Mike and his wife Jen, have two teenage children, Josh and Megan. In Mike’s free time, he is an avid runner and cross-country skier, a motorcyclist, and is a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan.

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Pastor Angie Loomis - Outreach Pastor

Angie Loomis is our Outreach Pastor. She was appointed to Ankeny First on July 1, 2014 and started as our Administrative Pastor. Angie is an Ordained Elder in the Iowa Annual Conference. Born in Renwick, Iowa, Angie graduated from Westmar College with a degree in accounting. She then pursued a business career working for Greyhound Lines and Wells Fargo for 20 years. After hearing her call to ministry while a member at Valley UMC in West Des Moines, Angie attended Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City. She has served the Corydon Parish, the Manning United Methodist Church and the United Church of Manilla. 

Angie and her husband, Randy, have two adult daughters and four grandchildren.

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Pastor John Wagner - Campus Pastor - Christian Life Center

John Wagner first joined our staff in 2009 as the Site Director of the Christian Life Center, where he helped develop both worship and sports ministries unique to the CLC. In 2012, John was appointed to our congregation and he continues his ministry focus at the Christian Life Center where he serves as the Campus Pastor. John and his wife, Amity, have two young children, Gabe and Landry.

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Pastor Lewis Cox - Campus Pastor - Faith Chapel

Lewis Cox joined us as our campus pastor at Faith Chapel in 2019. He grew up Urbandale, IA where he was a member of Aldersgate United Methodist Church. He has had the opportunity to serve in a variety of ministry settings including Women at The Well, Religious Life Community at Simpson, Appalachia Service Project, Wesley Woods, and several others. In his free time, Lewis enjoys playing chess, being outdoors, and working on a school bus that he is transforming into a camper. Lewis is very excited about joining the community of Ankeny First.

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RHONDA ALESSIO - DIRECTOR OF DISCIPLESHIP

Rhonda Alessio joined the staff in January 2007 and has served as Program Staff Assistant, Membership Secretary, Administrative Specialist and now in her current position as Director of Discipleship. Rhonda oversees the Christian Care Cluster and the Discipleship Cluster helping people to move along the Discipleship Pathway, drawing new people to worship services, assisting them in connecting with small groups and mobilizing them for service as well as connecting people to the caring ministries they may need. Rhonda and her husband Joe live in South Des Moines.

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Dustin Buell - Director of Youth Ministry

Dustin joined our staff in 2019, partnering with parents to serve as our Director of Youth Ministry. Prior to moving to Ankeny, he worked in youth ministry in the Missouri United Methodist Conference for ten years, with the last eight as the Student Ministry Leader at the Chillicothe United Methodist Church.

Although born in Omaha, Dustin grew up just outside Kansas City in Liberty, Missouri as the son of an Ag teacher and a Children's Ministry Director. He is a graduate of Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky, where he studied Christian Ministries and Secondary, Social Studies Education. Dustin is a lifelong Nebraska Cornhusker and Kansas City Royals fan, novice kayak fisherman, avid reader, and sports enthusiast.

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Jose Clavell - Director of Traditional Worship

Mr. José Clavell began his duties as Director of Traditional Worship for Ankeny First in the summer of 2018. Before his position at Ankeny, he was the Music Director for Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Urbandale, Iowa and a Spanish teacher to Beginner, Advanced, Native, Heritage, and Non-Native students at Des Moines Public Schools for three years. He currently sings with the Des Moines Vocal Arts Ensemble.

Originally from Puerto Rico, José moved to the midwest in 2013 where he pursued his Master’s of Music in Choral Conducting at Western Illinois University (2015) and is a graduate of Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico (Ponce, Puerto Rico, 2012). José avid foodie and beginner blogger. He currently lives in Grimes, Iowa with his dog Moe the westiepoo.

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PAT CROWNOVER - DIRECTOR OF CHILDREN'S MINISTRY
Pat joined the staff at Ankeny First United Methodist Church in June, 2004. She previously served as Director of Christian Education in several United Methodist churches in the North Texas, Oklahoma, and Iowa Conferences. She received her undergraduate degree from Morningside College, Elementary & Middle School Education Degree and Certification from Dakota State University, and pursued a MTh Degree from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Pat has three children Michael, Kimberly, and Matthew.

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CINDY LORIUS - FINANCIAL ASSISTANT
Cindy Lorius joined us as our Financial Assistant in December 2016. She is a native of Southeastern Minnesota. She moved from Northeastern Iowa to Altoona in 2010. She is the proud mom of two daughters and a loving grandparent of four grandchildren. Cindy’s greatest joy comes from an ever growing and transforming relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ. She has been a member of the United Methodist Church for most of her life. The majority of Cindy’s career life has been working in the financial industry. She has a huge passion for helping others. When not working, her favorite activities include anything outdoors and especially time with her Australian Shepherd “Shep”; spending time on the farm with her best friend, TJ and his family; and driving to Southeastern Minnesota to spoil her grandchildren. Cindy will tell you that there would be no better way to describe her life than “I am truly Blessed Beyond Measure.”

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CHARITY MCEVOY - DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS
Charity joined the staff in July 2010 as our Communications Assistant, but the role has evolved into a full time position of Director of Communications. Charity's responsibilities include publishing our weekly bulletins, bi-monthly newsletter, and other print and electronic and social communication. Charity has a BA in Public Relations from UNI. She and her husband Clay live in Ankeny and have twin daughters, Lauren and Emma.

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MARCIE MULFORD - MINISTRY SUPPORT SPECIALIST AND EDUCATION ASSISTANT
Marcie joined the AFUMC team in September of 2012. Her main responsibilities include coordinating Sunday School, CLC scheduling, Arena support, and sports ministry support. Marcie graduated from Northwest Missouri State with a Bachelors Degree in Business Management. She and her husband, Jason, live in Ankeny and have four children, Kyle, Tara, Autumn, and Ella.

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ALICIA VER HUEL - FINANCIAL OFFICER
Alicia joined our staff in October 2015. She comes to us well qualified with a Business Finance/Accounting degree from Iowa State, and a Master's degree in Accounting with a government and non-profit spcialization from Kaplan University. Since moving to Ankeny in 2008, Alicia and her family have been attending worship at Ankeny First, and she formally joined the church with her husband in May 2013. She and her family have been active with Agape Garden, serving meals at [email protected], and various other service projects. Alicia and her husband Craig have one daughter, Annabelle.

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AMITY WAGNER - DIRECTOR OF CONTEMPORARY WORSHIP

Amity joined the staff at Ankeny First in 2015. As Director of Worship, her responsibilities include planning contemporary worship across our worship sites and directing the Children's Music Ministry. Amity has been leading worship at Ankeny First since she began attending the church in 2002. She has a degree in music education and music therapy from Wartburg College. Amity is married to Pastor John Wagner, and they have two children, Gabe and Landry.

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Ankeny First United Methodist Church
206 SW Walnut Ankeny, Iowa 50023
515-964-4249