Mike Whitaker

Lead Pastor

Howdy folks! I'm Mike, and I'm the founding pastor of The Connection. I landed in the area in the fall of 2018, and am thrilled to call Edwardsville-Glen Carbon my home. I love this place, and may or may not have shed a tear when I found out I was only 25 minutes from Busch Stadium. I have helped churches begin new ventures throughout my time in ministry in both Colorado and Illinois, and love consulting with other pastors and congregations on how to start new things for new people, as well. Some say I would talk to a coffee cup if it would listen, so feel free to give me a holler!  I'm passionate about helping others know the hope and peace I've found in my relationship with Jesus Christ, so ask me questions, I'd love to chat! And when I'm not out and about enjoying all this community has to offer, I love spending time with family and friends, making music, and watching my St. Louis Cardinals win. 

Emily Eckhardt

Worship Leader

Hello! I'm Emily and I am so happy to be part of the worship leadership team at The Connection!  I've been a part of ministry for almost 10 years and have found music to be quite powerful in other settings as well. I work as a Speech-Language Pathologist with EmpowerMe Wellness and find my time with older adults very rewarding and life giving. I grew up in Belleville, IL and now live in Edwardsville. I am excited to watch our faith community come together in this town that I love. In our free time, my wife and I like going hiking with our dogs, going on road trips, and experiencing new breweries in the area. This faith community has quickly become one of our most precious gifts in our hometown. We believe God's love is for everyone.  I would love to meet you, hear your story, and join in ministry with you.