First UMC Staff

  • Rev. Cindi Stewart

    Senior Pastor

    Reverend Cindi grew up in Syracuse, Nebraska, and attended Doane College double majoring in English and Philosophy/Religion. She entered into full-time Christian Ministry serving as a Youth Director in Loveland (CO), Wichita (KS), and Norfolk (NE) before responding to the call to go to seminary and enter into pastoral ministry. Rev Cindi graduated from Sioux Falls Seminary in 2006, and she was ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church in 2009.


    Before coming to Columbus as Senior Pastor in 2014, she served Stanton & Pilger United Methodist Churches until 2010, and then four years at Madison Trinity & Norfolk Westridge United Methodist Churches. Rev Cindi and her husband Klint (a farmer) have two daughters. Cindi enjoys crafting and coaching.

  • pastor joe krepel

    outreach ministries

    Pastor Joe is our Associate Pastor of Outreach Ministries. Previously, Joe served as youth director at Kearney (NE) First UMC where he also led a contemporary worship service. He brings skills in facility management along with a passion for sharing the Gospel message.


    Joe & his family became a part of our church family by attending the Ignite service at our Outreach Center, and their children have been active in Kidz Korner and youth groups.  

  • sarah borgman

    christian education director

    Sarah is our Christian Education Director including Youth Ministry. She was born in York and went to Doane College. Her first teaching position brought her to Columbus in 1992.

    She immediately joined the church.  Sarah and her husband, Scott, were married at First UMC in 1994.  
    Sarah lives in
    Platte Center with her husband, and three children. 


    Sarah loves working with the youth and children of the church. During a typical Wednesday night youth group 40-50 people come share their faith in God at the Outreach Center.


    Sarah would love for you to come check out the youth, Sunday School, and the church. Ask about Bible Study opportunities or how you can volunteer in the many aspects and programs of the church.


  • sharon zobel

    business coordinator

    Sharon has served as our Business Coordinator since December 1991.  A Columbus native and graduate of Lakeview High School, she began her business accounting career with the Becher-Curry Company.

    Sharon and her husband Bill have two children, Amy of Columbus and Brent who lives in Omaha. Along with keeping busy with five grandchildren, Sharon's hobbies include reading, crafts, bicycling, and walking.

  • sandy martensen

    program coordinator

    Sandy Martensen assumed the position of Program Coordinator in 2018. She previously joined the staff serving as Administrative Assistant. 

    Sandy is a Columbus native, is married to Wayne for nearly 30 years and they have four beautiful children, two girls and two boys. The Martensen family are avid Husker fans, whether its football, volleyball, baseball or wrestling they support all Husker activities.

    Sandy would love to talk to you about the many opportunities to become involved in First UMC. Whether its at the Outreach Center or Church, Sandy can help you find a way to share your skills or hobbies with others.


  • Lisa Nielsen

    administrative assistant

    Lisa grew up in Columbus, attending First UMC from Kindergarten through 12th grade. She attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she received Bachelor of Journalism and Master of Arts in Mass Communications degrees. While in Omaha, she discovered her “inner nerd”, receiving Master of Arts in Theatre and Master of Science in Elementary Education degrees, both from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. 

    She loves the fine and performing arts, reading, watching TV with her Dad, Tony Nielsen, and entertaining her four feline fur babies: Lucy, Liam, Winkie, and Mr. Pickles. The highlight of each week for her is singing with the Ignite music team.


  • elisha maxwell


    Elisha Maxwell, our Custodian is originally from Sunset, Arkansas where he grew up with 11 siblings. Elisha, a resident of Columbus for the past 25 years, is married to Christina. They have two children together, a handsome son and a beautiful daughter.


    Elisha enjoys fishing a lot!  He also likes other sports, especially basketball and spending time with his family.

  • martha davidson

    parish nurse

    Martha Davidson is our volunteer parish nurse.  She has a heart and passion for helping people physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and even financially.  She helps to organize and to implement the caring ministries of our congregation with the Healthy Congregation & Care Team.  


    ALL are called to participate in the mission & ministry of Jesus Christ.  YOU have been called by Jesus to share your gifts and talents with the Body of Christ.  

    For more information about finding out your spiritual gifts and getting more involved, please contact

    Rev. Cindi.  

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