about us

Explore our story, our purpose, what we do and who it is that leads us.


Our Story

At Soteria we have a passion for biblical teaching, for people to learn about God's redeeming love, grow in community with one another, and serve their neighbors.

Soteria Des Moines has a rich history that started over 50 years ago in a hair salon on Des Moines' South side. There,  Richard Mohr and a core group of 35 people planted Airport Baptist Church.

Through the next several decades the church had a tremendous impact on the city and grew rapidly introducing many people to Jesus.

The progress was seemingly halted in the mid 90's when the city of Des Moines acquired through eminent domain, the land on which the church was located to expand the airport. This led the church to relocate several miles away in the Southeast corner of West Des Moines.

Today, with a renewed passion for the gospel and a foundation of solid biblical preaching, the church is reaching more people than ever from all over the Des Moines metro area. As a result we are seeing many lives changed at a tremendous pace.

Through all the changing buildings, locations, and leadership, the mission of the church has stayed the same. We want to introduce people to Jesus and make more and better disciples.



We want to make more and better disciples.


How do we make more and better disciples?

At Soteria we have a passion for people to learn about God's redeeming love, grow in community with one another, and serve their neighbors.

Simply put, we want people to learn, grow & serve.


We operate under a philosophy called "simple church" which basically means if it doesn't help you to learn, grow or serve, we don't do it. Here is how this practically works out.

At a basic level we want everyone to learn by coming to one of our two morning services on Sunday.

We want you to be in a growth group so you can grow in community with others to be more like Jesus.

And lastly we want you to serve by using the passions and gifts every person has been given to reach people for Jesus and to build up the ministry of the church. There are many ways to serve from being a greeter, to working in the nursery, creating graphics, to making meals for people. Find something you love to do and serve passionately.


Our Core Values

What is most valuable? What do we focus on? What do we believe a church should do?



Good expositional preaching strives to expose the Holy Spirit’s original message to its original audience.  In order to accomplish this, we preach through books of the Bible verse-by-verse, applying the Holy Spirit’s intended message in relevant and fresh ways that connect to everyday life.  


Admittedly, "Gospel-Centered" is a bit of a buzzword today but it accurately describes what we want for the whole of our ministry and it bleeds into everything we do.  Gospel-Centered means more than just evangelism.  It means that we trust in the finished work of Christ for both our salvation and for our growth in the Christian life.  


At Soteria Des Moines we value teaching because we want people to know the whole story of the Bible. We want people to understand that doctrine is not just text on a page but the source of all our activity. We teach because what we believe shapes our practices and how we live our lives.


Everything we do has a purpose and fits into our model of learn, grow and serve. If something doesn't fulfill to one of these purposes we don't do it. Simplicity doesn't mean that we water things down or go half way but rather, we have a laser-like focus on what we believe is important and then we strive to do those things extremely well.


We want everyone at Soteria Des Moines to focus on disciple-making service. Feeding the hungry and helping the poor, and promoting life are great endeavors (and we do all these things :) but they must be done with the end goal of engaging people with the whole story of redemption. We believe the best service to our community is to share the gospel.


Our Ministries

What do we offer for you and your family?




Each Sunday morning we offer a nursery for your little ones and classes are made available for kids of every age through 5th grade.

In those classes, your child will walk through the Bible and learn how it relates to Jesus in an age-appropriate way. The classes are always energetic, fun and taught by committed volunteers and staff.

We also seek to help equip parents to train their children in the gospel. We want our Soteria Kids to be excited about Jesus, and we want your family to talk about Jesus together throughout the week.


During the school year on Wednesday nights we have an AWANA program that helps our learn about God through Scripture memory and Bible lessons. Learn more about our AWANA program.


Here at Soteria we take the safety and security of your children seriously.

  • Each children's worker has had a thorough background check

  • Every child required to check in and must be picked up by an adult with matching check in (this is optional for kids in 4th-5th grades)

  • Our workers are required to attend training sessions throughout the year.

  • Every week there are doctors and nurses on call

  • We have a dedicated Security team made up of former and current law enforcement officers in our building for all activities.

  • All classrooms are equipped with communications to contact security team and health professionals

  • Every lead teacher must be a member of the church and have been attending for 6 months


Our student ministry meets every Wednesday night and Sunday morning. Our Jr. High and Sr. High have their own classes that are led and taught by Jared Segerstrom and his well qualified youth workers who love to encourage and teach students in their walk with God. 

On Sunday mornings students are challenged and encouraged by the Word. They are taught how to use God's Word in everyday life. The Junior High kids are going through the Children Desiring God curriculum and the Sr. High kids are going through The Gospel Project. Both classes meet every Sunday morning at 10:45am during the second service.

On Wednesday evenings the students are once again taught solid Biblical truth. Wednesday's are a more laid back time where students play crazy games and sing praises and worship together. There is also time built in to break into small groups with an adult leader who takes them deeper into the lesson, prays with them, and encourages them throughout the week.

We believe parents play the primary role in discipling students and do all we can to help them in that process. We connect weekly with parents, informing them what the students are learning and providing helpful tips and advice along the way.


For adults we offer classes on various topics both Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. We call this Soteria University. Find out more about the current classes and the overall scope of the program.

We also would love for each adult to join a growth group. Our growth groups are the basic units for Christian fellowship, connection, care, and discipleship at Soteria Des Moines.

In keeping with the pattern of the early church, these groups meet in homes and serve as a compliment to our corporate worship on Sundays. Our desire is to see people deepen their love for God as they develop authentic, love-driven relationships with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

Learn more about our growth groups including what they study and when they meet.


We understand that there are times in life where you just need a helping hand. We want to come alongside you to encourage you with Biblical truth that will make a lasting impact.

There Is Always Hope

We believe that God has given us all we need to know Him and to live in a way that is pleasing to Him.  All our difficulties may not evaporate.  However, when a person willingly submits to God's instructions and clings to his promises there is hope and help.

Learn more about receiving free biblical counseling from trained counselors. 


Our Team

Here at Soteria Des Moines, we're led by a fantastic team of pastors and directors.


Lead Pastor

Pastor Mike grew up in a pastor’s home in Denver, Colorado.  In the summer of 2008, God called Mike to Soteria Des Moines as its lead Pastor.

Mike has an exceptional gift for communicating the Bible. Paired with several degrees including a doctorate in preaching, Soteria is known for its excellence in preaching and teaching. Sunday mornings here are never dull!

Pastor Mike is also on the boards of several state and national organizations keeping us plugged in and influencing others for the gospel.

Mike is an avid Denver Broncos fan and loves to spend time in his home state.

Mike and his wife Liz have two sons and a daughter.

JOSH BYERS   Director of Communications

Director of Communications

Josh came to Soteria Des Moines in 2013 to lead our church in the areas of connections and communications. Josh comes to us with extensive experience in the fields of communication, design and theology. He has published two books and a number of other teaching resources.

Josh loves buying books for his Kindle while reading some of them, playing Super Mario Bros. with his family, watching movies and serial TV shows. He also enjoys the Denver Broncos ,hand-crafted coffee, Arsenal FC, film scores, Mutemath, and photography.

You can see and read more of Josh's work on his site joshbyers.com.

Josh is married to Mickie. They have four kids and reside in Altoona, Iowa.

CODY CRIGGER   Worship & Administration Pastor

Worship & Administration Pastor

Pastor Cody has been at Soteria Des Moines since 2002. Being an extremely talented musician and having a passion for leading worship, Cody leads our band and congregation in worship on Sunday mornings. Cody is also our church administrator and handles most of the executive day to day matters.

Cody enjoys sports, playing baseball and basketball.  He has an interest in photography and is always looking for the next lens to buy.  Cody also loves the outdoors and occasionally hikes the Patagonia. Check out his photos and writing at codycrigger.com

He is also really excited that the Cubs won the World Series before he died.

Cody and his wife Londa have four kids.

Joylynn DeFord   Office Coordinator

Joylynn DeFord
Office Coordinator

Joylynn serves as our office coordinator and assistant. 

She keeps our office organized and running smoothly in the day to day tasks of ministry. Joylynn keeps the flow of communication and daily operations open between those who come through the doors and the staff as a whole.

Joylynn loves spending time with her family they can often be found outside, playing games, watching football, or working on their latest house flip project. Joylynn also enjoys all things crafty and observing the outdoors through the lens of a camera.

Joylynn and her husband David have two children. 

ZACH DIETRICH   Theology & Education Pastor

Theology & Education Pastor

Pastor Zach serves as our Theology & Education Pastor.

Among a myriad of other things, Zach develops the teaching curriculum for our many growth groups and coordinates Soteria University, our adult education program. Pastor Zach also assists our Lead pastor in research and development for our Sunday morning Sermons.

If you pop into his office he'll almost always be found drinking handcrafted coffee while reading or working. If he's not in his office he's painting, hanging with this family and throwing the meanest frisbee this side of the Mississippi.

Read more about Zach and follow his writing at zacharydietrich.com.

Zach and his wife Leah have five kids.

NICK HARSH   Pastoral Assistant

Pastoral Assistant

Nick has served at Soteria since 2016 and has lived in Des Moines, Iowa his entire life.

Currently working to complete a Masters Degree through Clarks Summit University, Nick is invaluable as a research assistant to our pastoral staff. His knowledge and attention to detail have been a great asset to our preaching and teaching.

You’ll find him most mornings either reading or writing at Mars Café, which for some might be preferred only to having teeth pulled, but he loves it. C.S. Lewis once said, “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me,” — Nick swears Lewis was right.

When Nick is not studying or in the office, you'll probably find him disc golfing or relaxing with friends and family.

Read more about Nick and follow his writing at nickharsh.com

TRENT HOL   Counseling & Family Pastor

Counseling & Family Pastor

Pastor Trent has served at Soteria since 2005 and oversees our counseling and family ministries.

Trent is uniquely gifted in the area of counseling and has helped many people find biblically based answers to the problems of life they encounter. He is also actively training others to build this ministry to reach out to our entire city.

Trent and his wife Lydia own a home in the heart of downtown Des Moines and can be found enjoying all that urban life has to offer. He has an insanely large and incredibly eclectic collection of music and always DJ's up the perfect song for every circumstance.

Trent and Lydia have two daughters and one mischievous cat.

KIM LEICHTY   Director of Children’s Ministries

Director of Children’s Ministries

Kim is no rookie when it comes to working with children, Kim has been working with children for over 20 years. Because each child is a gift from God, Kim is passionate about investing in the lives of the precious children that God brings to Soteria.

She provides vision, direction, and oversight for the various children’s ministries from birth through fifth grade.

Kim enjoys road trips, gardening, entertaining friends and family and riding a motorcycle with her husband.

Kim lives with her husband, Scott in Norwalk. They have two children Tyler and Katlin a daughter-in-law, Jessica, and Ozzie, a crazy golden doodle with black fur!

Kim is an expert roller-skater and excels in the limbo.

JULIE MASON   Director of Women’s Ministries

Director of Women’s Ministries

Julie grew up on the south side of Des Moines and has been at Soteria her entire life! She grew up in this church and married a boy from this church.

As the director of women’s ministry, Julie has a passion for the women at Soteria to grow in their love for the Word so that they can witness the power it has in their lives.

Julie enjoys painting, reading, hearing live music with my husband, talking and just getting to know people. She also enjoys eating out at local restaurants downtown and in the East Village near her home. She’s like to explore new places, the well known and hidden gems. 

Julie is married to Jason and has three kids, Ansley, Matthew and McCoy.

JARED SEGERSTROM   Student Ministries Pastor

Student Ministries Pastor

Jared leads our Student Ministries.

He has been instrumental in developing a gospel-centered program for all of our students in middle school and high school. He has a tremendous rapport with both the students and their families which we greatly value! It's rare that a guy can both get crazy, have fun with students, and capture the respect of their parents!

Jared was born and raised in Iowa and is an avid Hawkeye fan. He has hopes every year of a Big Ten championship. 

When he's not studying or hanging out with students, you'll find Jared throwing a incredible tomahawk frisbee on the golf course or relaxing with his wife and daughter.

SCOTT WARD   Care Pastor

Care Pastor

Scott has been a faithful member at Soteria and a servant in the Des Moines community for over 20 years.

He serves as an unpaid pastor on our staff helping with numerous pastoral responsibilities including counseling, prayer, and future planning for the church.

Scott is married to Lori and they have three adult children and several grandchildren.