Reach | Gather | Grow | Serve
This is our motto and the words we live by every day since Atonement Lutheran Church opened its doors in 1930. As it was back then so it is today – through the power of God’s almighty Word, the Atonement congregation:
- REACHES into the community, the city, and the world spreading the Good News
- GATHERS regularly in worship
- GROWS in knowledge and understanding of the Word
- SERVES others as an expression of Christ’s love
Our vision: to grow as a unique, multi-ethnic urban destination drawn by the gospel of Christ to lovingly impact everyone in our city.
Our mission: to reach our communities with the good news about Jesus’ atonement and gather around God’s Word to grow in our faith and service in Christ’s kingdom.
Meet Our Staff
Pastor Jon Hartmann
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Pastor Hartmann, an alumnus of Atonement Lutheran School, has served as a pastor at Atonement since 2001. A graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, he was pastor at Garden Homes Lutheran Church in Milwaukee for five years before coming to Atonement. Pastor Hartmann is committed to sharing Jesus’ love and Word with the people of this church and community, helping them become stronger disciples of Jesus, so they too, can make others disciples of Him as well. Because Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior of all people, Pastor Hartmann strives to make Atonement a house of worship for everyone. He also likes spending time in the north woods hunting, fly fishing, and watching the Green Bay Packers. He is married to Stacey, and the couple has three children: Caleb, Rachel and Noah.
Pastor Jordan Ertl
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Pastor Ertl, a 2011 graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, spent five years as a parish pastor in Bismarck, N.D. before joining Atonement as campus pastor in May 2016. In charge of religious instruction for children in grades 6-8, Pastor Ertl oversees the entire religious education program at Atonement Lutheran School. He’s also a resource for spiritual matters concerning school families and takes part in leading Sunday worship. Recognizing the tremendous need for God’s Word, Pastor Ertl does his best to meet this need with whomever he can, wherever he can. By telling people about our Savior, he’s helping students and their families become clear witnesses for the forgiveness and salvation Jesus provides. Spending time with his growing family is a priority for Pastor Ertl, an outdoorsman who enjoys hunting and camping. This avid sports fan also likes to cheer on the Packers, Brewers and Badgers as well as play volleyball. He and his wife, Angie, have two daughters, Zoe and Johanna.
Jim Esmeier – Director of Ministry
Jim Esmeier came out of retirement to plan and assist in implementing Atonement’s ministry in the areas of worship, evangelism, stewardship, fellowship, and spiritual growth. Jim brings more than 50 years of experience to the table with a depth of knowledge in program planning and implementation. He was a teacher, principal, and co-owner of Christian Community Living Services. Most recently, he worked for Jesus Cares Ministries, a program dedicated to serving people with intellectual disabilities. Jim believes in reaching out into the community and sharing the gospel in both word and deed. He has a bachelor’s degree from Concordia Teachers College in River Forest, IL. and a master’s degree in exceptional education from UW-Milwaukee. Jim is married to Lorna and has three sons. Passionate about trailer camping and online marketing, he constantly looks for ways to implement the Internet into church communications.
Stephen Schafer – Director of Operations
A graduate of Dr. Martin Luther Collect, Stephen Schafer spent 13 years at St. Peter’s School in Fond du Lac as a principal and teacher before joining Atonement in 1984 as principal and eighth grade teacher. As Director of Operations, he’s now responsible for church property, finances, human resources, personnel, and communications. A former math teacher with more than 30 years’ experience, Stephen has a knack for numbers and excels at problem solving and logistics. Always engaged in carrying out Atonement’s mission and goals efficiently and effectively, he leads proactive budget and ministry planning for all areas of the church and school. Stephen is married with four children and six grandchildren and enjoys woodworking and golf.
Kevin Poston – Staff Minister of Worship and Music
Kevin has lived most of his life in southeast and south central Wisconsin. He served in WELS schools and churches in Watertown, Manitowoc, Oconomowoc, and Lannon for 15 years before coming to Atonement. He is excited to put his passions for music and worship and his master’s degree in church music to good use at Atonement. He and his wife Jenny have five children and are also licensed foster parents.
Kevin Cerda – Church Office Administrator
From church correspondence to weekly bulletin preparation, Kevin Cerda keeps the church office running smoothly. His extensive customer service background makes him the ideal person for this role. Kevin served as an electrician in the U.S. Navy for four years and worked in the public sector for many years in both the utilities and construction industries. On board at Atonement since 2014, Kevin enjoys working closely with the pastors and appreciates this special opportunity to serve God. He describes himself as a “jack of all trades” who loves carpentry, plumbing, cooking and electrical work. Kevin has one son.
Gail Brushaber – Church Office Assistant
Gail Brushaber grew up at Atonement and knows much of the congregation by name. Previously retired, Gail has been maintaining Atonement’s membership program and assisting the pastor wherever necessary since 2015. Prior to retiring, she spent eight years as Atonement’s office administrator. Before that, Gail taught at Wisconsin Lutheran High School. She has a bachelor’s degree from Mankato State and a master’s degree in education from Cardinal Stritch. She’s also a big Packer fan who likes to cook and craft.
What we believe:
We believe that the Bible is the inspired and inerrant Word of the Triune God- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We believe, teach and confess that we are saved not by human merits or works, but by God’s grace alone, through faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ alone, as revealed in the Scriptures alone.
Atonement Lutheran Church is a member congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), founded and based here in Milwaukee. Through our affiliation with WELS, we join with congregations across the country and around the world to do the work we cannot do on our own. This work includes training future pastors and teachers to lead our churches and schools, sending out home and world missionaries, and producing sound scriptural publications through Northwestern Publishing House. Click here for more information on WELS.
Membership at Atonement
Membership in a church means something. It means you believe what that church teaches to be nothing less than the truth God reveals in his Word. It means joining with other people who are united in faith to hear God’s Word and grow in faith, to encourage and help one another, to pray for and with each other, to serve others in the community, and to reach out with the good news of salvation in Jesus to those who don’t know it.