40 Under 40: Melissa Sandel

07_40_Sandel-mhMELISSA SANDEL
Director of ministries,
West Side Christian Church,
Springfield, Illinois

Five years ago, the growth of West Side Christian Church’s staff required that I expand the senior staff leadership team. I hope timing isn’t everything, because I promoted Melissa Sandel to director of ministries on April 1, 2008. Melissa jokes that her role is the world’s longest-running April Fools’ Day prank!

Melissa was only 26 years old when promoted from small groups director to senior staff. Her initial challenge was to supervise a diverse ministry staff, including employees whose tenures began when she was a child. While many leaders would have accepted the role, few would have instinctively employed patience and meekness as effectively as Melissa did. Five years later, our staff embraces her leadership, our church responds to her influence, and I affirm her high value to our ministry. At just 31, Melissa is happily married with two preschool children.

Melissa’s influence among her executive staff peers is growing due to her warm personality, concise and convincing style of communication, and eagerness to learn. She has also earned the trust of leaders within our city and public school system by successfully directing a large school makeover project. Melissa lifts other leaders, and then applauds them for the results.

Eddie Lowen, lead minister, West Side Christian Church, Springfield, Illinois, and member of Standard Publishing’s Publishing Committee

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