Pastor & Staff

Reverend Scott Gustafson

Devan Arntson

Administrative Pastor

Director of Christian Education

After growing up in Tampa, Florida, Pastor Gustafson (Pastor G) graduated from Concordia Chicago and went on to attend Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. Pastor G has served in congregations in Minnesota and Wisconsin and now is joyfully serving the Lord at Trinity Merrill and loves spreading the Gospel throughout the church and community. Pastor G met his wife, Georgia, in college and they have five children together - David, Caleb, Joshua, Sarah, and Rachel. When Pastor G isn't at church, you can find him spending time with his family and his dog (Royal), serving our country, and cheering on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Devan Arntson, born and raised in Duluth, Minnesota, serves as our Director of Christian Education. He moved to Merrill in 2021 and has been actively involved in the lives of our youth since then. Devan runs the middle and high school Youth Groups, oversees Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, and leads several adult Bible Studies. Devan also helps at Trinity School where he’s needed and coaches at the Merrill High School. Everything Devan does flows from the philosophy that he wants to be the guy he needed when he was a teen.

Jennifer Rajek

Robin Grenfell

Britnee Hartwig

Director of Operations

Administrative Assistant

Director of Communications

Jennifer Rajek is the Director of Operations at Trinity Merrill Lutheran Church, assisting with the non-ministry operations of Trinity. This includes helping the church, school, and child care in many different ways. She married Peter in 2012 and they have two adult children who both attended Trinity School and were confirmed at Trinity Church. Jennifer started working at Trinity School part-time when her children were younger to be more involved in their church and school lives. As the children became older, she volunteered in different ways including PTO. When Covid happened, she took a break and worked during the summer months at Trinity Child Care while also running a home child care. In December 2022, she closed her child care to come back to Trinity since she missed the “Trinity family”. Since she has returned, she has officially become a member of Trinity Merrill Lutheran Church. Jennifer and her husband love to travel the beautiful world God gave us. 
Robin Grenfell is the Administrative Assistant at Trinity Merrill Lutheran Church. Robin and her husband, Rich, will be celebrating 40 years of marriage in June. They have two adult children: Ross (Lisa) Grenfell and Raena (Zach) Grisa  and 4 beautiful grandchildren. Robin recently celebrated her 25th Anniversary working at Trinity. Robin is a life long member at Trinity and attended Trinity School.  Robin helped with the Trinity Youth Ministry and eventually started the Kids for Christ (4th and 5th grade program) of which she has many fond memories. She also started and ran the Afterschool Program which is now part of the Trinity Child Care. Robin and Rich love to travel but also enjoy family time at both their cottage in Harrison and at their cabin in the Town of Schley. Robin loves her Trinity family and thanks the good Lord for them. Robin’s hope is that Trinity will continue to reach the hearts of those who are seeking love and a lifelong relationship with their Savior, just as Trinity and its members have so graciously extended to her.
Native of Hershey, Nebraska, Britnee Hartwig lives to serve the Lord. Britnee first moved to Merrill in the summer of 2019 after graduating from Concordia University, Nebraska with a Bachelor’s of Science in Education Degree with English Language Arts and English as a Second Language endorsements. Britnee began her career at Trinity School as the K-8th grade technology and middle school ELA teacher and later moved into the position of 5th grade teacher. Now, she serves as the Middle School (6-8th) ELA teacher at our school and is the Director of Communications at our church. Britnee married Joshua Hartwig in June 2022. Joshua now serves as a worship assistant of the congregation. Both Britnee and Joshua love serving at Trinity and beyond – helping to build His Kingdom. Britnee’s mission as the Director of Communications is to provide leadership via all communication platforms to share the Gospel and the mission of Trinity Merrill with all Trinity members, the Merrill community, and the world.

Scott Johnson

Lisa Johnson

School Principal

Early Learning Center Director

Mr. Johnson is excited to be the principal at Trinity Merrill! In this role, he supports a team of students, staff, and parents providing for all aspects of academic, faith, social/emotional, and physical growth. As a big believer in Lutheran schools, Mr. Johnson has been in ministry for over 28 years.
Mr. Johnson is a graduate of Concordia University - St. Paul and holds both a BA and MA in Education. On a personal level, Mr. Johnson is happily married to Lisa and together they have three children. Naomi is their adult daughter who lives in Minnesota and works at Mayo Hospital. Lukas is their son who was stillborn and is in Heaven. Jayden is our sophomore at MAPS who loves to play basketball. Lisa loves art and Mr. Johnson hopes to reacquaint himself with grouse hunting.
Lisa Johnson is our Child Care Director at Trinity Merrill Lutheran Child Care and she is ecstatic to share Jesus's love with the little ones she encounters daily. Lisa is married to Scott and together they have three children. Naomi is their adult daughter who lives in Minnesota and works at Mayo Hospital. Lukas is their son who was stillborn and is in Heaven. Jayden is our sophomore at MAPS who loves to play basketball. Lisa loves art and Mr. Johnson hopes to reacquaint himself with grouse hunting.

Eileen Hass

Church Janitorial Services

Mrs. Hass is a janitor and an organist at Trinity. Mrs. Hass has been an organist at Trinity since 1992. At that time, she moved all the way from Wausau to Merrill and has been married to her husband John for 31 years. She plays piano also, and can play a tune or two on her accordion and violin. She enjoys going for daily walks, bird watching, crafts, attending to her flower garden, and traveling throughout the United States and Canada.

Our Church Council

Back Row: Jeremy Thompson, Dan Schneider, Chris Grunenwald, Jack Kleinschmidt, Dan Riste.

Front Row: Michelle Skic, Laurie Swope, Sheila Polak

Not Pictured: Mike Handlin

Jeremy Thompson, Congregational President 

Jeremy Thompson and his wife, Jan, have been married for 17 wonderful years. Jeremy and Jan both attended Trinity School and their son, Caleb, is the third generation to attend Trinity. Jeremy’s hope is for many future generations to be able to grow in their faith and call Trinity their home. 

Sheila Polak, Treasurer 

Sheila Polak and her husband, Dennis, have been married for 20 lovely years and have been blessed with four children: Adam, Nolan, Grant, and Jack. Professionally, Sheila has over 22 years of experience in accounting and finance leadership roles and is passionate about sharing her financial expertise to help advance ministry at Trinity.

Dan Riste

Dan Riste and his wife, Beth, have been married for 43 delightful years and have been blessed with two sons, Collin and Kyle, who have both married and given them two grandsons. Dan and Beth moved to Merrill and joined Trinity in 2020. Dan’s dream for Trinity is to welcome back members we have missed since Covid.

Jack Kleinschmidt

Jack Kleinschmidt has been a member of Trinity Merrill for 75 years. He was baptized, attended school, and was confirmed at Trinity. Jack and his wife, Sherry, were also married at Trinity and have raised their two children, Karli and Kory, to be part of the Trinity family. Jack has served on many boards and as the congregational president. His vision for Trinity is to continue to spread God’s word through the eventual building of a new school to further the opportunities of youth in Merrill to receive a Christian education.

Laurie Swope

Laurie Swope and her husband, Mark, have been married for 27 marvelous years. Laurie is a life-long member of Trinity as her parents, Willie & Karen Schult, provided her with a Lutheran education at Trinity School. Attending Trinity School and youth group helped mold her faith in God. She currently works for Church Mutual and has been with the company for 33 years. Laurie believes we are all called to do God’s work here on earth, making good use of our resources to grow His Kingdom.

Chris Grunenwald

Chris Grunenwald and his wife, Sarah, have been blessed with two children, Erik and Emily. Chris is a life long member of Trinity and has professionally been employed as an attorney at Church Mutual since 2011. Chris’s goal on the council is to ensure the continued viability of Trinity for the next 125 years.

Mike Handlin

Michael Handlin and his wife, Lisa, have been blessed with two children – Timmy and Johnny. Mike recently retired from Merrill Area Public Schools after 25 years. He is an avid Wisconsin sports fan and enjoys being outdoors. His wish for Trinity is for Trinity to continue to grow and flourish in our community.

Dan Schneider

Dan Schneider and his wife, Gail, have been blessed with two children – Dana and Stephanie. Dan works for Thrivent Financial and in his down time, loves to hunt and fish. He feels it is vital to be an active member at Trinity and has served on many boards and committees, as an elder, and on the school board. Dan and Gail love Trinity and are excited that their children and grandchildren love Trinity as much as they do.

Michelle Skic

Michelle Skic and her husband, Luke, have two children, McKenna and Madilynn. Luke and both daughters attended Trinity School. Michelle’s goal for Trinity is to be the foundation of a Christ-centered family who all walk in faith and in His Word together. She believes it is important to be good stewards in our community to positively impact the lives of those in our community.