Board of Directors


Claire yT Compressed

Dr Claire A Smith, Director of youTheology
Claire A Smith is the author of How to Pray: Living Wholly Through Honest, Surrendered, Heart Praying, and editor of youTheology's "Believe Curriculum." Dr Smith is an experienced spiritual mentor and prayer coach at SurrenderInPrayer.
Michael Gardner

Dr Michael Gardner, Interim Chair of youTheology
Michael Gardner is the senior pastor at Old Mission UMC. He grew up in the Hyde Park area of Kansas City, and after a brief detour into small town living during his High School years, the Kansas City area has always been home. He served two previous appointments as Lead Pastor in Western Shawnee and Olathe, and also churches in Coffeyville and Dodge City. His previous eight years before Old Mission were spent as Senior Pastor of First United Methodist Church in downtown Wichita, where his messages reached up to 30,000 viewers a week through their television ministry at KAKE-TV. Mike has degrees from Baker University, St. Paul School of Theology and an earned doctorate from Drew University. Mike has been married to Ann, the love of his life, since 1978, and they have four adult children, and nine grandchildren. Mike and Ann live not far from Old Mission in old Leawood. Mike's life verse for forty years is Matthew 5:16; "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven." You can find out more about his thoughts on life and faith in Dr. Gardner's blog at
Emma Kindle

Emma Kindle, Interim Secretary of youTheology
Emma Kindle is a retired civil servant. She has over 25 years of managerial experience in modular operations and management support with the Social Security Administration (SSA). During her years with SSA, her responsibilities involved workload management, staffing, training, labor relations, procurement and security. She assisted social security number holders, employees and managers in the Midwest Region, comprised of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, and throughout the country.

She believes in opportunity and giving back through service. She does this through serving in her church where she is financial secretary, prior executive editor the church's newsletter, MetroLink, secretary of the trustee board and treasurer of the couples ministry; her sorority where she has held numerous leadership positions, including past president of her local chapter; her homeowners association where she is secretary; and volunteering with GLOW (Girls Leading Our World).


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