Senior Pastor

Kirk Johnston

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Kirk Johnston is the founding and Senior Pastor of The Lighthouse Church in Paola, Kansas. He was born in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and has degrees from Kenyon College (BA) and Princeton Seminary (M.Div.).  He Began His ministry in Paola in 1992.

He is married to Laurie Johnston (Pastor Hillsdale Presbyterian) and they have three adult children (Lindsey, Luke and Ian) and 1 grandchild. Kirk’s passion is preaching and teaching from God’s Word and leading worship. He enjoys being a husband and father, songwriting and music, coaching the band Don’t Know Dorothy as well as playing Frisbee and basketball. 

Executive Pastor

Brad Buescher

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Name:                         Brad Buescher

Title:                            Executive Pastor

Responsibilities:        Manage Staff; Resource Ministries; Small Groups; Missions

At Lighthouse since:   June 1, 2007

Education:                 Shawnee Mission West High School – 1979
                                    University of Missouri – Kansas City – 1985
                                    Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA – 1992

Brief Bio:                    I grew up in Overland Park, Kansas with two brothers and a single mother raising her three sons.  Although a good kid, my heart was rather empty and hurt from the sting of my parents’ divorce.  During my junior year in high school I was invited to go on a snow skiing trip with Young Life.  It was there that I first learned of the deep love of Jesus for me/us and the joy of the grace of God.  So quite early in my new relationship with God I felt the call to love all His people through sharing the Gospel and serving in some capacity.  Colonial Presbyterian Church blessed me in numerous ways, mainly by discipling me in the ways of Jesus, and introducing me to the love of my life – my wife, Michele.  So after working as a youth director at Colonial, Michele and I moved to Pasadena, California so that I could attend Fuller Seminary.  My first pastorate was in Frankfort, Indiana, where we were blessed with three children: our two sons, Brady and Luke, and our daughter, Anastasia, whom we adopted from Russia.  After working several years at Covenant Chapel in Leawood, Kansas, I was hired here at the Lighthouse Presbyterian Church, where I have now been employed since 2007.

Favorite Movies:         It’s a Wonderful Life; Gladiator; The Outlaw Josey Wales; Die Hard

Favorite Books:           The Chronicles of Narnia, mystery novels, Dallas Willard books

Favorite Music:           U2, Bruce Springsteen, New Country

Goals:                          Develop Leaders who will drive the movement; Lead non-Christians to faith in Jesus Christ; Disciple men; Climb all                                          of Colorado’s 14ers – bagged my first – Mt. Huron this summer (2014) with my son, Luke, and a couple friends

Youth Ministry Director

Eli Wedde

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Eli Wedde is the Youth Director here at Lighthouse Church. He recieved his B.A. at MidAmerica Nazarene University and is currently seeking his MDiv at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. He has been in ministry here since 2011.

Eli believes that his relationshp with Christ is foundational to the ministry. He enjoys teaching and spending time with students in groups or a one-on-one setting. His life passage in scripture is found in Matthew 18: 10-14.

Eli is married to Kendra , a 2nd Grade teacher at Cottonwood Elementary in Paola. They have no children yet. Eli enjoys playing sports, fishing, taking mission trips, and beating challengers on the N64.

Eli's vision is for students to recognize what God is doing all around them and to create space for the Holy Spirit to work in their lives. He is learning how to create student-leaders and how to prepare students to answer the tough questions Christians answer every day in their lives. He is grateful for the opportunity to work in this mission field for students and for God's kingdom

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Director of Children's Ministry

Ivy Poetter

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My mission in Children’s Ministry is to plant the seed of faith and watch it grow. I have a passion for teaching and helping children learn. Being a substitute for several years I’ve learned every child is unique. I strive to make their experience fun and exciting while they learn about God. Giving them confidence to trust in the Lord through any situation.

Outside of Lighthouse I enjoy subbing at the local Paola school district. Farming is also a hobby of mine. Currently we raise chickens, turkeys, Guinea’s, pigs, goats, lowline cattle and honey bees. With my free time I enjoy doing various activities with my family.

Nursery Supervisor

Kristal Sparks

Hello, my name is Kristal Sparks. I was raised on a farm with 3 older brothers outside a small south central Kansan town called Sharon.  I was blessed to have a stay at home mom and am now a stay at home mom myself! I graduated from Sterling College with a degree in Elementary education in 2004.  I was offered a Kindergarten teaching position shortly after student teaching but turned it down when my husband proposed! We have been married now for 9 years and moved to Louisburg right after getting married.  I began substitute teaching in surrounding schools until we were blessed with our first child.  We now have four wonderful children: Brady, Leah, Faith, and Mason.

Oliver and I have been involved in numerous church activities since we joined the church in 2007.  Before becoming the Nursery Supervisor, I was a childcare provider for the church.  I have taught Kingdom Kids for several years now and tend to plug into Children's Ministry wherever God puts me!  I have always had a strong passion for working with children and am honored to help introduce your child to their first church experience.

Office Administrator

Tracey Hecker

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Tracey Hecker is Office Administrator for Lighthouse Church.   Her primary duties are finances and publications.  She has been with Lighthouse since it began in November 2007 as a member as well as an employee. 

She is married to Allen Hecker and has two children, Caleb and Jacquee.  She has lived in Miami County her entire life.  She attended school in Louisburg, KS and graduated from Ottawa University with a B.A. in Business Administration.

Her hobbies include scrapbooking, singing, reading and enjoying time with her family.

Member Care Coordinator & Part-Time Office Admin

Rebecca Sutton

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Rebecca has worked in Church Ministry for 35 years and is confident that is exactly where God has called her to serve.  Rebecca is Member & Community Care Coord. as well as Part-Time Office Administrator. 
Rebecca and her husband Ron have 3 adult children as well as a delightful 4 year old grandson.
Rebecca enjoys reading, spending time with family and friends and watching sports of all kinds.

Director of Special Projects

Tricia Sinclair

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My name is Tricia Sinclair and I have the privilege of serving in our church through special projects.  I love sharing my passion for the Lord through events such as our annual Living Nativity and Vacation Bible school. I help with various other projects as well and am grateful for all of the volunteers who I serve with to help to make our programs fun, exciting and meaningful.  

I have lived in Paola for 20 years and am married to my wonderful husband of 23 years, Jared Sinclair.  We are the parents of four children, Camren, Katie, Cael and Keagan.


Bill Koelsch

Worship Band

Don't Know Dorothy

Our Elders


Larry Beyer
Andy Bouse
Roberta Briley
Kim Bruza
Tammy Cole
Lisa Collier
Ron Dowd
Shonda Dyer
Brent Eppler
Samantha Green
Jason Mueller
Gary Rose
Katie Sparks
Fred Thomas
Tom Wolf

Our Deacons


Kaleb Atkins
Merilee Baughman
Michelle Briley
Troy Bruza
Tauna Connell
Shonda Dyer
Debbe Ebeling
Susan Eppler
Edie Hewitt
Susan Hime
Bruce Jenkins
Shawn Miller
Janet Rhea
Matt Ruggles
Crystal Schultz
Shelly Thomas
Cindy Walters
Lisa Weidman

  January 2018  
This Week's Events


Staff Meeting
10:00 AM
Church staff meet in the conference room
BSF Women's Bible Study
6:30 PM to 8:15 PM
Weekly Bible discussion on the book of Romans.
TNF for Men
6:30 PM
Tuesday Night Fraternity


Middle School Youth Group (6th-8th grade)
5:30 PM to 8:00 PM
Eat and play from 5:30 to 6:30, then we worship and have group discussions.
Kingdom Kids
6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Please join us for this nine week program
focused on Children’s growth in Christ.
Young Adult Bible Study
8:15 PM to 9:30 PM
Sean Sutton will be leading a group of 18-30 year olds on a journey to build friendships and grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ


Celebrate Recovery
6:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Meet in Sanctuary
Bible Search