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

Director Youth Ministry

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

Email is

Director of Children's Ministry

Josh Simons

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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.

Assistant Office Administrator

Erin Capettini

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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 24 years, Jared Sinclair.  We are the parents of four children, Camren, Katie, Cael and Keagan.


Bill Koelsch

Our Elders

Teaching Elders

Senior Pastor - Kirk Johnston

Executive Pastor - Brad Buescher

Assistant Pastor - TJ Rose

Ruling Elders

Marsha Adams

Allen Baldridge

Larry Beyer

Dave Dietrich

Ron Dowd

Meredith Drummond

Chris Dyer

Samantha Green

Jimmy Hay

Jill Holcomb

Marilyn Mueller

Keith Robinson

Benjamin Sparks

Tom Wolf

Bob Zoller

Our Deacons

Merilee Baughman

Janell Bouse

Lonnie Boyd

Michelle Briley

Troy Bruza

Tauna Connell

Sydney Dulgarian

Shonda Dyer

Debbie Ebeling

Susan Eppler

Edie Hewitt

Susan Hime

Bruce Jenkins

Haley McDougal

Cindy Reese

Janet Rhea

Crystal Schultz

Shelly Thomas

Brian Walters

Lisa Weidman


   July 2019   
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