Senior Pastor

Kirk Johnston

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A. Kirk Johnston is 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.

Kirk was active in the New Wineskins movement that ultimately helped more than 100 churches join the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) a missional and reformed denomination.  He helped to form the Great Plains Presbytery and serves its executive team.  He is Chaplain to the Miami County Sheriff’s Department and Jail and serves as Chair to the Board of The Elizabeth Layton Center – a multi-county Mental Health Services provider.

In 2018, Kirk published the Children’s adventure book “Onslo”.

He is married to Laurie Johnston (Pastor Hillsdale Presbyterian) and they have three adult children and 4 grandchildren.  Kirk’s passion is preaching and teaching from God’s Word and leading worship. He enjoys being a husband and father, writing, songwriting and music, as well as playing Frisbee and basketball.




Director of Children's Ministry

Josh Simons

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Josh began working as Children’s Ministry Director for Lighthouse in May of 2019. He currently lives in Paola with his wife, Heather, and two daughters, Ruth and Rose. Josh grew up in Paola, earned his education degree from Emporia State University, and began teaching middle school math in the Shawnee Mission School District for 12 years while living in Olathe. He obtained a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from KU and received theological training by completing the Lay Leadership Training Institute of the Kansas District-LCMS. He returned to Paola in 2013 to work as the Director of Discipleship at First Lutheran Church for four years. Josh now works as a Special Education teacher at Lakemary Center in Paola and has obtained a second master’s degree in Special Education. His passion for teaching children about Jesus has brought him to part time ministry as Children’s Ministry Director at Lighthouse.

Josh believes the essential truths of God’s Word are the greatest gifts we can give our children. He desires that each child knows God’s love through the kindness and dedication of caring volunteers. Josh’s goals for Lighthouse Children’s Ministry are that children and families feel welcome, parents feel supported, volunteers willingly serve the gospel, and that children hear the good news about salvation through Jesus’ death and resurrection each time we gather




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 adult 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 & Community Care Coordinator

Rebecca Sutton

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Rebecca has worked in Church Ministry for 40 years and is confident that is exactly where God has called her to serve. Rebecca is Member & Community Care Coordinator.

Rebecca and her husband Ron have 3 adult children and are very proud of their 3 grandchildren.

Rebecca enjoys reading, spending time with family and friends and watching sports of all kinds.




Assistant Office Administrator

Erin Capettini

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Erin Capettini joined the Lighthouse Church staff in June 2019 after 26 years of being an elementary teacher.  She has been with this church family since it began in 2007 serving in many capacities such as Usher, Deacon, Elder, FPU Assistant Coordinator, Children Ministries, and Youth Ministries.  

Erin is passionate about serving her church family ministries and helping to guide others in using their spiritual gifts to better the kingdom of God.

Erin and her husband of 28 years, Chris, have lived in Paola for 23 years.  They are parents to two adult children, PJ and Julia, and two dogs.




Nursery Supervisor

Kristal Sparks

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I was born and have lived in Kansas my entire life. I was raised in the church until our family stopped attending when I was in junior high. I always knew something big was missing in my life after that. I was extremely blessed God gave me a teammate and friend in high school who was a pastor's daughter. I started attending church regularly and grew to know that void had been filled with a renewed personal faith in God. I went on to attend Sterling College, a Christian college where I found my future husband. I earned a degree in Elementary Education and student taught kindergarten. Oliver and I got married and moved to Miami County and our first home in 2005. We were blessed to become members of this church and have our first child in 2007. We now have 4 children: Brady, Leah, Faith and Mason. I was a stay-at-home mom for 11 years until our youngest went off to kindergarten. The following year I began teaching preschool at Sonshine Preschool in Paola, which I adore! I have a huge passion for teaching and introducing our church’s youngest members to the Lord. Thank you for trusting our church nursery with your precious children. They bring such joy to us!




Janitor

Bill Koelsch