Church Elders

Senior Pastor Chris Holck

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Pastor Chris Holck moved to The Villages in January of 2012 along with his wife, Kathleen. They joined one other couple and after a series of informational meetings, the first worship service was held in February 2012. It is not the first church planted by Pastor Chris but it is the first one specifically targeted for older adults. His skills and interests seem to be a perfect match for reaching the “Encore Generation” as he describes those who are in their second half of life, but not done yet. Chris is an expository preacher who brings application to each sermon and his mission is to guide older adults into living a purposeful and balanced second half of life that honors God. “If you’re not dead, you’re not done!, says Pastor Chris.


Associate Pastor Sam Benson

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Dr. Sam Benson and his wife Cheri have been in ministry for over 50 years. They have led several congregations through major expansions and today they are more excited about the future than ever before. Sam uses inspired preaching to stir the hearts of his audiences to
purposed-filled action. He is a pastor, evangelist and missionary evangelist. He frequently speaks in churches and business and ministry organizations. Sam began preaching the Gospel in 1967 and has traveled to the nations of the world with his message. Cheri is an insightful teacher of the Scriptures, entrepreneur and a certified Life Coach. She is in demand as a women's conference speaker and is a mentor to business and ministry professionals. On January 21, 2001 at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Pastor Sam was awarded the Ecclesiastical Degree of Doctor of Divinity (DD). This degree was conferred by the Mid-Atlantic Conference of the Methodist-Episcopal Church and the National Clergy Council.

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Bill Hicks

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Bill Hicks was born in Memphis, Tenn., in 1951 and lived and worked there for the first 40 years of his life. He married his high school sweetheart Mary Ann in 1972. After attending the University of Memphis and the University of Tennessee, where he graduated with a degree in accounting, Bill began a career in sales and marketing with several Memphis brokerage companies. In 1984, however, Bill felt called to ministry and began a part-time education at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, earning a Master of Divinity degree in May 1989. Business doors continued to open, however, and the Hicks family eventually landed in Green Bay, Wis., in 1992, then Chicago for a couple of years, then back to Green Bay. After Mary Ann retired from her work as an IT engineer with Vertis Communications in 2008, and Bill from his director of customer service position with Schreiber Foods in 2009, the couple moved to The Villages. Instrumental in the founding of LOCC, Bill and Mary Ann love the Lord Jesus and love His church. The Hicks have three grown children, Christy, Cathy, and David in Tampa, Fla., and two grandsons, Max, 8, and Carter, 2.


Dave Bratton

I grew up in a small farming community in southern Illinois. Although I regularly attended (twice on Sundays) a church that proclaimed the gospel, it was not until my sophomore year at the University of Illinois that I truly understood it. Staff members from Campus Crusade for Christ (now known as CRU) spoke at my fraternity one evening after dinner in the spring of 1967. They gave a clear presentation of the gospel, and that night I placed my trust in Jesus Christ to be my Savior. I soon began attending Bible studies and attending monthly meetings sponsored by CRU. Later that summer I attended a Christian conference for college students in southern California. It was at this conference that I met Donalyn. We were married one year later while we were both still in school and will celebrate 49 years of marriage in August. We have two married sons living in New Jersey, who have given us two wonderful grandchildren. After Donalyn’s graduation from Illinois Wesleyan University and my completion of a year as a graduate research assistant in the English department at Illinois State University, we joined the staff of CRU, serving with this organization for 33 years. Our assignments included campus ministry in Wisconsin, the seminary staff program (through which I earned my ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary) and a short term special assignment teaching Catholic priests in Poland. However, the bulk of our ministry was spent in New Jersey and Ohio with the pro sports division of CRU, Athletes in Action.In 2003 we left CRU and returned to New Jersey, where I served on the ministry staff of Bethlehem Church (an Evangelical Free Church). My responsibilities there included giving leadership to the adult education program, small group ministry, men and women’s ministries, singles ministry, seniors ministry and discipleship ministry. In 2013 Donalyn and I moved to The Villages. In doing so, we realize that our ministry is now happening in a different place, at a different pace, but with the same purpose: To help people come to know Christ as Savior, grow in their faith and to be used by Him to further His kingdom.

Bill Olthoff

I was born.and raised in South Holland, IL, the son and grandson of farmers. I accepted the Lord as my personal savior at the age of ten at Bethany Camp at Winona Lake, IN.  I graduated from llliana Christian High School where Ruth and I started dating. I then attended Wheaton College and graduated with a degree in Economics and Business. Ruth and I were married during college and after graduation I took a position as a loan officer at a bank. Two years later I began farming with my father and eventually moved to Bourbonnais IL. where I have farmed for over 50 years. Ruth was a stay at home mom. She also worked in evangelical outreaches. Eventually she went back to school for a degree in accounting helping with the books in our farm operation as well as working for an accounting firm for twenty years.  Ruth and I have been blessed with four children, eighteen grandchildren, and 6 great grandchildren. We both grew up in the Reformed Church but joined Calvary Bible Church which became an evangelical Free Church where I served as Elder for forty years and fifteen years as a choir director. Ruth taught Precept Bible studies for a time and we were involved in a small group ministry. We purchased in The Villages in 2004 and we are snowbirds for six months as I still farm. We longed for a church in The Villages that had Bible expository preaching and were thrilled to be involved with LOCC from the beginning-thanks to Roger and Betty Augenstein. We served on the Provisional leadership team with them. I believe at live Oaks Community Church is a gift from God where He is changing lives in Christ forever.  I was involved for several years serving agriculture on the boards of Illinois Farm Bureau and Country Financial. I continue to serve on the Kankakee County Board.  I serve on the Board of Regents of Trinity International University and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School where I will finish my ten year term in three years.  Proverbs 3:5&6 says ''Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and He will direct your paths." For Ruth and myself He certainly has. 

William Olthoff

Dan Rude

I was born and raised in a small farming community in western Wisconsin.  After graduating from high school,   I attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and graduated with a degree in Business Administration.  During my last two years of college, I worked part-time for JCPenney and then went full-time after graduation. I spent the next 38 years working for JCP in the accounting area. This career required us to move several  times. Helen and I grew up in the same small town, went to the same church, the same youth group and both attended Luther College.  We have been joyfully  married  for 55 years and are best friends. We have two sons, one in Texas and one in Arizona, 9 grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.  We are blessed. I was blessed that my parents raised my two sisters and me in a Christian home. They were very active in our local church and Youth for Christ. I accepted Christ at age 9 at a Youth for Christ Rally. I really didn’t grasp what had happened and as such I didn’t grow in my faith.  After Helen and I were married, we each re-dedicated our lives to Christ as our Savior and Lord. We have a heart to share our faith as the Holy Spirit leads us and to help others to do that as well. I have a favorite Bible verse that I memorized when I was a teenager-  Revelation 2:10b-KJV  “ Be ye faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life”.


Rick Vielhak

I was fortunate to grow up in a Christian home with godly parents and a Christian grandmother who tremendously influenced my life. It was at the church my family attended as a young boy that I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. At the age of 12, while reading my Bible, I felt the calling of God into full-time ministry. Following my calling, I attended Tennessee Temple College and Bible School where I graduated with a degree in Theology. After graduation, I became a youth pastor in my hometown of Peoria, IL. Several years later, I met the love of my life, Debbie, who was in Peoria attending nursing school. We married in 1973 and I eventually began a career in Christian camping, mainly working with economically disadvantaged and judicated youth. Deb and I were members at Chillicothe Bible Church (EFCA) in Chillicothe, IL where we served in a variety of positions for 26 years prior to retiring in 2015 to Del Webb Spruce Creek here in Florida. Naturally, one of our first priorities was to find a Free Church in the area. We looked online and found live Oaks Community Church where, after visiting one time, we knew we were home. My life verse is Psalm 19:14 "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, 0 lord, my strength, and my redeemer." .


Patrick Nuss

I was born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin and moved to Green Bay when I was 12. Along the way I attended Catholic grade school, high school and graduated from St. Norbert College. In college I was on the golf team and edited the college newspaper while also working as a sportswriter for the Green Bay Press-Gazette. After college I completed a three-year Army commitment serving in Korea and Viet Nam and attained the rank of Captain. I was awarded both the Army Commendation Medal and the Bronze Star. Following the Army, I met Linda, my wife of 50 years, while in graduate school at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. We married in 1968 and began a number of years of moving around in various corporate business roles ending up in Bloomington, Minnesota where we raised our four children. They are all grown and gone and have supplied us with five grandchildren. I eventually found my way into several entrepreneurial partnership endeavors which included software development, sporting goods distribution and advertising. I concluded my career as a self­ employed executive search consultant. While we did go to church almost every Sunday my spiritual walk was conducted out of a sense of duty. That changed in 1·975 when I finally accepted the invitation of men from the neighborhood to at least take a look at Bible Study Fellowship which they were all attending. My college transcript will show a number of "Bible" and "Theology" courses but I never really studied the Bible. Well, in BSF, I did. And how. During the study of Romans I was surprised to learn the salvation was not a reward for anything I could do but was made possible as the result of what He did. Linda was also in BSF and reached the same conclusion. We both accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and personal savior. That changed our lives. We found a nearby Evangelical Free Church pastored by Bill Hamel, who went on to serve as President of the denomination. Bill mentored me and that led me to become an elder, church chairman, and teacher with that church. Along the way I was asked to join the board of directors of Elim Care. That brought me to The Villages in 2013 as part of the group from Elim that visited to consider teaming with LOCC in what has resulted in becoming our current joint campus.Linda and I rented for a season or two and eventually bought a home here. We've become Florida residents and LOCC members. We are members of an Encore group and I serve as part of the GPS leadership and teaching team.

Patrick Nuss

Tom Albert

My life journey began in Lansing Michigan in July of 1947. Although I had a carefree childhood, I had no exposure to the Gospel. After high school I enlisted in the Navy for 3 years, where I served in the print shop on the USS Mount McKinley. After finishing my time in the Navy, I married Connie Baker and started working in the printing business.  In 1973 after visiting a church with my wife, the Pastor called on us and challenged me to read the book of Matthew. Through reading the Scripture and the prayers of my wife and our pastor, I made the decision to invite Jesus into my life. Three weeks later Lowell Friar, a man involved with the Navigators ministry, knocked on my door and asked me if I would like to be in a bible study he was starting up. I had never met Lowell before, but I was hungry to know God better, so I agreed to join him. Lowell spent the next three years faithfully mentoring me and impressing me with the importance of Bible study, scripture memorization, prayer, seeking God’s will daily, and sharing Christ with others. I will always be grateful that God sent Lowell to mentor me at this critical time in my life! I continued in the printing business until 1998 when our printing business closed, and God opened the door to a job at Michigan State University.  I continued to work at MSU for 15 years, where I had many opportunities to share Christ with the staff and students and to encourage them to grow in their faith. During those 15 years I also served as Chairman of the Deacon Board in two different churches. In 2002 I helped start up a “Celebrate Recovery Group “ at the Church I was attending. Over the years I have also had the opportunity to personally mentor several men and encourage them to have a closer walk with God. In 2010 God called my wife Connie home to heaven after a long battle with cancer. We were married 40 years and had 4 children. After Connie died, I began asking the Lord to give me another wife to walk beside me. In June of 2011, Bonnie Skinner and I began seeing each other. She had also been widowed after 40 years of marriage. One year later we were married. Together we have 7 children and 13 grandchildren. We moved to the Villages in 2015 and have been at Live Oaks from our first Sunday in town.! Together Bonnie and I are enjoying leading an Encore group and the POP prayer Ministry at LOCC.A verse that has been a great encouragement to me is Job 42:12a “and the Lord blessed the later days of Job more than his beginning.”

Tom Albert