Ministry Team

Rev. Eric Elnes, Ph.D.

Senior Minister

Dr. Elnes is a minister, author, internet television personality, and biblical scholar with Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from Princeton Theological Seminary.  He has served as Countryside’s Senior Minister since 2008.” In 2010, Dr. Elnes helped create and host Countryside’s internet television program, Darkwood Brew ( which became the world’s first faith-based, weekly, interactive web television program and has produced the world’s largest collection of progressive small group video resources.

Eric’s books include, Asphalt Jesus: Finding a New Christian Faith Along the Highways of America (Jossey-Bass, 2007), and Gifts of the Dark Wood: Seven Blessings for Soulful Skeptics (and Other Wanderers) (Abingdon, 2015), which won Christian Retailing’s “Best of 2015” award in the category of Spiritual Growth. He was also the lead author and editor of the Phoenix Affirmations – a popular, ecumenically developed set of twelve principles that have become an important theological backbone of the Convergence Christian movement.  His book, The Phoenix Affirmations: A New Vision for the Future of Christianity (Jossey-Bass, 2006) is the first published commentary on the Phoenix Affirmations.  To purchase Eric’s books click here.

Eric and his wife, Melanie, have two daughters, Arianna and Maren, and a dog named Roe.  When not working he enjoys cooking, bicycling, reading, hiking, and spending time at their family cabin in Bandon, Oregon.

PHONE: 402.391.0350 ext. 113

Rev. Chris Alexander

Associate Minister

Rev. Alexander has spent over 20 years in active ministry. Chris was raised the youngest of 5 daughters in Columbus, OH and received her bachelors degree from Capital University in Columbus Ohio. She then moved to Chicago in 1985 to pursue a Master’s Degree in Theology and Literature from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, which she completed in 1987.

In 1988 Chris married her husband, The Rev. Dr. Scott Frederickson, and they have two daughters.

From 1990 to 1998 Chris served as a Program Associate on the national staff of the then newly formed ELCA in Chicago and worked with the Minneapolis Area Synod of the ELCA, Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota, and Luther Seminary, while Scott pursued his Ph.D. at Luther Seminary. In 1998 the two accepted a joint call to Resurrection Lutheran Church in Blaine, MN, where Chris served as the Ministry Development Coordinator and implemented their Small Group Ministry. In 2003 the family moved to Bismarck when Scott was called to the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. Chris administered their capital campaign, implemented their Small Group Ministry, and realized her own call to ordained ministry. In 2005 Chris returned to seminary within the Theological Education for Emerging Ministries Program at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley CA, in order to complete the requirements for ordination. She performed her internship with Faith Lutheran Church in Bismarck in 2006, and was formally ordained by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) on January 18, 2007, after being called by Faith Lutheran as their Associate Pastor.

Chris joined Countryside Community Church in December 2010.

PHONE: 402.391.0350 ext. 130

Mrs. Rita Otis

Rita Otis is a trained Spiritual Director with a certificate in Spiritual Direction and Directed Retreats from Creighton University. She is a Commissioned Minister of Spiritual Direction in the United Church of Christ and a member of Spiritual Directors International.

PHONE: 402.556.1856