Jan Markell, Founder, President and Host of Understanding the Times

Jan Markell, Founder, President and Host of Understanding the Times

Jan Markell was saved under Jewish evangelist Hyman Appleman when she was a child. In Jan’s early ministry years she was a part of the Messianic movement, worked for pro-Israel agencies, and for Jewish evangelism ministries.

In 1982, Jan incorporated Olive Tree Ministries and the goals of the ministry can be read at “Our Purpose.” Jan has written eight major books with prominent Christian publishing houses. She has produced a dozen DVDs, some featured on Sky Angel. At one time she traveled full time across America as a speaker. Visit our store to see some of the products by Jan that are available for purchase. Click here to read Lamplighter article.

In the year 2000, Jan launched a radio branch of the ministry starting first on AM980 KKMS, Minneapolis/St. Paul. In 2004, the program was syndicated nationally and is heard internationally on the Internet. “Understanding the Times” radio has been received well as a source of news and information hard to find. “Understanding the Times” is interview and commentary-driven. Learn more at the “Radio Show” category. We have had e-mail response from across  North America and from two-dozen foreign countries listening to the program now heard on over 830 stations across America.

Olive Tree Ministries is a registered 501(c)3 organization.

Olive Tree Ministries is expanding the media team! We’re increasing our staff to include co-hosts for Jan. We are also expanding our radio features to provide our audience of the 21st century optimal audio selections for Christian discerners on-the-go.

Eric Barger, Co-Host

Eric Barger, Co-Host

Eric Barger is widely recognized in the area of Christian apologetics and discernment ministry. Eric’s Take A Stand! Ministries confronts both the culture and the Church, focusing on the cults, world religions, the occult, spiritual warfare, and, most particularly, the troubling unbiblical trends and doctrinal issues facing Christians in these end days.

He is the author of numerous books, including From Rock to Rock, Entertaining Spirits Unaware: The End-Time Occult Invasion and Disarming the Powers of Darkness. Eric has written for USA Today and has been interviewed by hundreds of print and electronic media outlets, including Time Magazine and Fox News. His articles are now syndicated on dozens of biblically-based prophetic and apologetics Web sites and blogs.

With Evangelicals continuing to steadily slide into doctrinal chaos, Eric Barger is a voice of reason and warning. Eric is an ordained minister with United Evangelical Churches. Eric and his wife, Melanie, have two grown daughters and four terrific grandchildren.

Eric is on the Board of Directors of Olive Tree Ministries.

Larry Kutzler, Co-Host/Executive Producer

Larry Kutzler, Co-Host/Executive Producer

Larry Kutzler grew up in northern Minnesota in the 50s, moved to the Twin Cities in the 60s and has resided here ever since. In Minneapolis he was educated at West High School in Minneapolis, Brown Institute for Broadcasting, North Central University, and received his Master of Divinity degree from Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Larry grew up in a Catholic home, but became disenchanted with religion as a teenager and opted for drugs and a party life. In his early twenties he came to faith in Christ and began his media career. Following a brief career in broadcasting, he was called to a pastoral ministry where he spent 28 years as a pastor, primarily planting churches and consulting ministries in development.

In 2000, Larry returned to broadcasting and started a media ministry known as CitySites Urban Media. This ministry created and produced a variety of radio programs, sharing the gospel in many languages around the world.

Larry’s major passions are his family, the gospel, and his love for Harley Davidson’s motorcycles.

Larry is the producer and consultant for the media division of Olive Tree Ministries and heard occasionally as a co-host on the Understanding the Times radio broadcast. Larry also serves on the Olive Tree Ministries Board of Directors.

Jill Martin Rische, Co-Host

Jill Martin Rische, Co-Host

Jill Martin Rische is Dr. Walter Martin’s eldest daughter. She received her B.A. in Biblical Literature with an emphasis on the Old Testament and the Hebrew Language from Oral Roberts University, and her M.A. in Humanities/History from California State University.

Jill is the co-founder of Walter Martin Ministries and WAJC-FM, co-author of The Kingdom of the Occult, and author of Through the Windows of Heaven, 100 Powerful Stories and Teachings from Walter Martin, The Original Bible Answer Man and managing editor for Walter Martin’s 45-year bestseller, The Kingdom of the Cults.

She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, with her husband, Kevin, daughter, Christina, and son Justin.

Jill is on the Board of Directors for Olive Tree Ministries.

Steve Krumlauf, Announcer

Steve Krumlauf, Announcer

Steve serves as a principal image voice for The Worship Channel, (a 24-hour, Internet-only music and teaching programming service based in Dallas, Texas.) He’s also in his fourth year as the voice track producer for Understanding the Times Radio. He has a long radio career and now specializes in voice-over communications.

Board members not present shown in cameos--Jill Martin Rische and Eric Barger


  • Jan Markell, Founder/President
  • Dave Bergo, Chairman of the Board
  • John Wicklund, Vice Chairman of the Board
  • Angie Nelson, Secretary of the Board

Board Members:

  • Kerry Smith
  • Barbara Wells
  • David Saari
  • Dan Peterson
  • Jill Patterson
  • Annette LaPlant
  • Pastor Mark Henry

Board Advisors:

  • Jill Rische
  • Eric Barger
  • Larry Kutzler