Meet the Team

Pastors & Staff

David Ziehr


Pastor David Ziehr was born in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, September 14, 1966, the son of the Reverend and Mrs. Richard O. Ziehr.  He was ordained into the office of the Holy Ministry on July 12, 1992, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Shalimar, Florida, by his father. Pastor Ziehr graduated from the University of Montevallo with a B.S. degree in counseling and a minor in history.  He then attended Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, and graduated with a Master of Divinity degree in May of 1992. He spent his vicarage year of internship at St. John's Lutheran Church, Lansing, Illinois.  Upon graduation, he was called to serve as the associate pastor at Concordia Lutheran Church in Sarasota, Florida.  From 1995 to 2000, Pastor Ziehr served as sole pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran in Gardendale, Alabama until he was again called to serve in a team ministry at St. Paul Lutheran in Caledonia, Michigan. He married Trudi Graham on August 12, 1989, in Birmingham.  The Ziehr's are blessed with a daughter, Brittany and a son, Jordan.

Shea Pennington


Pastor Shea Pennington was born and raised in Cedar Park, Texas. Baptized at the age of 3, he was rooted in the Word of God at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and graduated from Texas Christian University in 2011 with a BA in religion - #GoFrogs! Upon graduating from TCU, he went into Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. August 2014, he began his vicarage in the ‘Winter Strawberry Capital’ of the world, Plant City, Florida at Hope Lutheran Church. He graduated from Concordia Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree in May of 2016 and a few months later was ordained into the Office of the Holy Ministry on June 25. God in His infinite wisdom called and sent Pastor Shea back to Hope Lutheran Church where from July 2016 to December 2020, he served as the associate pastor—Connecting People to Jesus. During his call in Plant City, he was richly blessed by God to marry the spectacular Holly Neuhaus on April 27, 2019. Holly is passionate about serving others, especially in digital marketing, communications, and multi-media. Together, Pastor Shea and Holly enjoy hiking, fitness, and being in God’s Word.

Dave Guelzow

Visitation Pastor

Pastor Dave grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He is married to Dianne Schuppan Guelzow, a 1976 graduate of Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois and is a National-certified teacher. Pastor Dave received his undergraduate degree from Concordia Seminary College in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1973; a Masters degree in administration from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1987, and having taught at Lutheran High School of South Florida for 12 years, received his Master of Divinity from Concordia Seminary, St, Louis, Missouri in 1990. He came to St. Stephens Lutheran in 1991.
Pastor Dave and Diane have two daughters and four grandchildren.

Pastor Dave retired from full time ministry in September 2019.

Daniel Brummet


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Ross Chiles


Ross Chiles comes to serve as principal of St. Stephens Lutheran School from Avilla Christian Academy (a ministry of Zion Lutheran Church) in Alexander, Arkansas where he has served since 2009. Ross also served for 8 years as administrator at Mountain View Lutheran School – Las Vegas, NV. Under his leadership the preschool through 5th grade school grew in program and enrollment. Ross has a Master of Education degree from Concordia, Seward. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Educational Leadership through Concordia University – Chicago, IL. Ross is married and has 3 children.

Randall Cline

Director of Youth Ministries

Randall Cline has been a member of St. Stephens for 16 years. He is married to his love of 21 years, Shannon, and has three children, Alyissa, Taryn, and Hawk, as well as one grandson, Charlie. During his time at St. Stephens, Randall has served as an elder and has been involved in various other ministries.

Randall currently serves as the Director of Youth Ministry at St. Stephens, leading Confirmation classes and a Life Group. He is also a group leader/counselor at Camp Linn Haven, a member of the Alaska Mission Team, and a Ministry Partner for Faith Comfort Dog,  Viva de Cristo, and Vacation Bible School.

Randall's dedication to St. Stephens and its various ministries is a testament to his faith and leadership within the community.

Donna Lee

Children's Ministry

Donna Lee has been actively serving in Children's Ministry at St. Stephens LCMS since 2004.  She began her role as Children's Ministry Coordinator in 2010. She feels blessed to have the opportunity to plan and participate in faith building activities with the children and parents of St. Stephens LCMS, St. Stephens School,  and the surrounding community.  Donna is a member of St. Stephens LCMS and has been a lifelong LCMS member coming to St. Stephens Lutheran Church from Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Springfield, VA.  She came to Hickory, NC in 1986 to attend Lenoir Rhyne College and now calls Hickory home along with her husband, Wade and daughter, Gracie.  

Sharon Maynor


Sharon Maynor is a graduate of CVCC, Hickory, NC. and serves as the administrator. She has been employed by St. Stephens Lutheran since 1988. She has been known to be the Jack of All Trades and the Master of none. There is always a surprise waiting for her each morning, either it be the people or the work. She enjoys both tremendously.

Tashia Fisher

Administrative Assistant

Tashia Fisher is a graduate of King's College, Charlotte, NC. and serves as the Administrative Assistant. She has been employed by St. Stephens Lutheran since 1988. She loves serving the Lord and the people of St. Stephens Lutheran in this capacity

Tashia is married to Jerry Fisher and they have a son Anthony.

Brandon Buff

IT & Facilities

Brandon Buff is another local person having grown up in Hickory and attended St. Stephens since birth.  His passion for technology started at a very young age by dismantling and reinventing anything he could get his hands on.  Brandon has worked in various capacities in technology and computer repair over the years leaving Corning Cable Systems in 2002 to take a leap of faith and join the staff of St. Stephens as well as start his own computer repair company with a focus on helping other local churches and their members. He currently serves as the Multi-media Technolgy Administrator and the Facilities Manager.

Brandon is married to Amy and they have been blessed with daughter Harley and son Nathan.

Savannah Lee

Communications Coordinator

Savannah graduated from Lenoir-Rhyne University with a BA Multimedia Communications and she will have a broad responsibility for “telling our story” through the website and social media, but also improving our communication with you as members of the congregation.  Savannah is an accomplished photographer, so you may have already seen her at work taking photos to capture the people of St. Stephens involved in everything from worship to volleyball games.

Jadi Gurganious

Mission Facilitator

Jadi Gurganious has been a part-time employee of St. Stephens Lutheran since 1999. Since her first day of employment she has been taking care of the smaller members of the church in the nursery. While being dedicated to the smaller children, she has assisted with Children's Ministry and Youth Ministry. Jadi graduated in May 2011 from Concordia University - Wisconsin with a certificate in Director of Church Ministries (formerly Lay Ministry). Jadi was called to serve St. Stephens in Lay Ministry specializing in assisting in family ministry, with focus on nursery, VBS and National Youth Gathering. She is also the communicator to our members by ways of bulletin boards, weekly emails, and most recently learning website design.

Robert Smith

Traditional Music

Robert Adrian Smith serves as Organist/Choirmaster at St. Stephens Lutheran Church.  A native of North Carolina, he is a graduate of  Lenoir-Rhyne College and Yale University.  He has served several as organist at several  parishes in and around Hickory.  He is an adjunct professor of music at Lenoir-Rhyne University.  In addition to his duties at St. Stephens and at Lenoir-Rhyne, he currently serves as Director of Music at the First Presbyterian Church of Morganton.  He has performed with the Lenoir-Rhyne A Cappella Choir, the Lenoir-Rhyne Youth Chorus, the Western Piedmont Symphony and the Hickory Choral Society.  He and his wife, Ada, live in Hickory and have one son, Adrian, one daughter, Marie.

David Day

Praise Team Director

David Day serves as our Contemporary Worship leader. Leading and participating in worship is his calling and passion.  David is married to Darla and they have 2 daughters and 2 grandchildren.
Watching others lift up the name of our Savior while singing His praise is the most beautiful sight and sound.  Being part of selecting music, teaching it and adding a song to worship is so fulfilling.  The enjoyment and excitement of lifting the name of Jesus Christ with other worshipers produces a feeling and blessing which fills my soul and heart!  Being part of a team of fellow believers to sing God's praises is a gift and something I have cherished since I was a child.

Ashley Skinner

Bookkeeping Assistant

Kristy Smith

New Member Coordinator

Tiffany Sigmon

Visitor Engagement Coordinator & Receptionist