Our Ministry Staff

Pastor Nate Scharf

Pastor Nate Scharf was born in West Allis, Wisconsin (number 9 of 14 kids). He is a 1999 graduate of Luther Preparatory School in Watertown, Wisconsin, a 2003 graduate of Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minnesota, and a 2007 graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, Wisconsin. He is married to Hannah (nee Stern), a 2002 graduate of Martin Luther College. They have been blessed with five children. He served from 2007 to 2015 at Luther Preparatory School as a tutor (1 year) and then as Recruitment Director (7.5 years).

Pastor Tim Smith

Pastor Timothy Smith received his Master in Divinty in 1999. He began his ministry as a missionary in King County in the state of Washington. In 2001 he accepted a call to St. Paul’s here in New Ulm. In his spare time he enjoys researching history, literature, studying para-biblical languages, and spending time with his family. He and his wife Kathryn have been blessed with four children.

Pastor Don Sutton

Pastor Sutton graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 1979 and has served at Shepherd of the Hills – Lansing, MI / Hope – Portland, MI and St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Watertown, WI. He began his ministry here at St. Paul’s in 1998. Additionally he serves as the first vice president of the Minnesota District and on Grace in Action’s Ministry Leader Institute Board of Directors. In his spare time he enjoys reading and outdoor activities. He and his wife Joanne have been blessed with five children.

Church Administrator Tom Benzing

After retiring from the Air Force in 2002, Tom attended Martin Luther College for certification in Staff Ministry.  After graduation in 2004, he served two congregations, St. Stephen, Fallbrook and then Christ the Vine, Temecula, California, as a ‘Tent Minister.’  He moved to Odessa Texas in 2008 after the economic down turn, and received a call as part time Staff Minister at Good Shepherd, Midland Texas.   He enjoys gardening in his spare time. Tom and his wife, Chris, have four children and seven grandchildren.

Staff Minister Kris Kuschel

Kris Kuschel was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He grew up in Mukwonago, Wisconsin where he attended St. John’s Elementary School. He is a 2012 graduate from Wisconsin Lutheran High School, and a 2017 graduate from Martin Luther College. He graduated with a double major in Staff Ministry and Elementary Education. He was assigned to St. Paul’s on Call Day to be Minister to Family and Youth. Kris is married to Ashley, a fellow 2017 MLC graduate. In his spare time he enjoys watching and playing sports as well as spending time outside.

Church Secretary Renee Giefer

Renee Giefer was born and raised in Lannon, WI. She attended high school at Luther Prep (formerly Northwestern Prep) in Watertown, WI. Renee graduated from Martin Luther College in 1996 and continued her studies at MN State University, Mankato, where she received her early childhood teaching license. Upon completion, Renee worked in various preschool settings as well as a home childcare provider. She has been with St. Paul’s since 2012. Renee and her husband John are blessed with two boys. In her spare time, Renee loves to read, play games and spend time with family and friends.

Bookkeeper Sheri Portner

Sheri Portner was born and raised in New Ulm. She attended St. Paul’s grade school and graduated from New Ulm Public in 1982. She graduated from MSU – Mankato in 1986 with a degree in accounting. She worked in the banking industry for 20 years, until taking the position of bookkeeper for the church and school in 2010. She is married to Wayne and they have been blessed with three children.