enCompass staff


  • kevin thomas
    founder and lead pastor

    “It’s a huge privilege to lead a church of such a great team of people at enCompass."


    About Kevin: In his role as Lead Pastor he truly appreciates the opportunity to create Sunday morning messages, teach Connect Classes and help others discover new ways that God is at work. Over the years, he’s noticed how prayer changes lives—most especially his own.  

    Born and raised in California, in 1989 he packed up his yellow Toyota pick-up (it’s since gone home to be with Jesus) and trekked to Minnesota to attend Bethel Seminary. Since then he’s served as a Youth Pastor, Associate Pastor, Senior Pastor and in 2005 ventured out to become the church planter of enCompass. Along the way, he’s grown significantly attached to his wife Becky and their five teenage and beyond children.


    About Kevin: Likes rambling, yet insightful conversations, ESPN’s “not top ten plays of the week”, any game with a Frisbee, and hanging out pretty much anywhere with his family.

  • darcy mears
    children's ministry coodinator

    "We are so blessed with many beautiful kids at enCompass! For me, it's an honor to know them and know their families. Being a part of the bigger picture for families is very rewarding and joyful; to support a setting designed to build lasting friendships for children and adults who share the same faith and values. I really enjoy connecting with kids and parents through children's ministry, and I'm thankful for our teachers and volunteers who share the love of Christ and kids. It takes a lot of teamwork to create a dynamic learning, growing, and teaching atmosphere, but it's so necessary to nurture the beginnings of faith in our children!" (Go to enCompass Children's Ministry)


    About Darcy: Born and raised in Mahtomedi - too long ago! Enjoys gaming of all kinds and volunteering for any parent organization. Loves books and movies that have a thriller twist, with a little sci-fi thrown in. Wishes she would prioritize her time for organizing and cleaning - it can be satisfying. She and husband Roddy, who is usually found in the cafe, have Karlene and Will in Middle School. Izzi and Tanner round out the house with their fur and purr.

  • Alex Blackwell
    student ministry pastor

    "My primary hope for the students of enCompass is that they will develop a faith, as well as relationships, that will last a lifetime."


    About Alex: Grew up in the "OG," that is Oak Grove, MN, near Anoka. Attended Winona State University, became an InterVarsity staff member at WSU for 3 years working with college students, and has spent the last 5 years at the U of M working to plant a new chapter there that is now healthy and growing steadily. Is an external processing introvert, goes to Bethel Seminary, and lives with his wife (Alli), their son Gabriel, and dog (Copper) in St. Paul, MN next to the State Fair Grounds. Loves strategy games, conversations (especially about the Bible and doctrine/theology), partaking in just about any sport, and buildin' stuff.

  • brett carey
    worship leader

    "Worship is the community-focused act of giving glory to God. The vibe that I'm pursuing at enCompass is authentic and unhindered worship. Music is a great instrument for worship because it's something most people can relate to. It also has a spiritual power. It can stir deep emotions, spark us to reminisce, help us through tough times, get us excited about God...Ultimately, God's Holy Spirit meets us in worship and allows us to enter into spiritual power. Throughout the Bible, there are many references to music and worship going together, as well as God's Spirit meeting people through worship."


    About Brett: Grew up in Vadnais Heights and is now a student at the University of Northwestern. An avid singer-songwriter, he enjoys writing songs about life situations. Released two albums, and continues to write music and play shows with his band, Calvin Heights. Also likes to spend time with friends and family, listen to music, and draw.


  • deron vaupel
    ministry administrator

    "Over the past 10 years, I've had plenty of chances to find out a lot about myself and how I best fit into God's work in the world. As that clarity has come, the best way I've been able to describe my role is as a Swiss army knife. There's quite a bit I've done over the years, and that's prepared me to step in wherever is needed to support the ministry of enCompass."


    About Deron: Happy to trade the cornfields of Illinois for the lakes of Minnesota. He and his wife Lisa have been attending enCompass since January 14, 2007 (one day after they started dating), and in that time he's been able to help out with almost every ministry at enCompass in some form or another. When not watching his 2 boys, Deron enjoys woodworking, playing guitar, and getting outside.


  • amber harder
    communications specialist

    "It is an honor to use my passion for media to serve our church. I enjoy spreading the word about activities and events at church and connecting people in person and virtually. I want everyone to be aware of what's happening and feel included in those activities."


    About Amber: Grew up in the bluff country of southeastern Minnesota and moved to the Twin Cities after college. Married to the wonderful Zac Harder. Has three children: Feven, Kairus, and Freya. In a rare free moment, enjoys a cup of coffee, reading, hiking, or organizing something.


    (photo courtesy of www.photographybynealy.com/)