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 served 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 5 grandchildren.  Kirk’s passion is preaching and teaching from God’s Word and leading worship. He enjoys being a husband and father, writing, music, as well as playing Frisbee and hockey.

Children's Ministry Director

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, their two daughters, Ruth and Rose, two cats, Simon and Grace, and a Morkie-Poo named Pepper. 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 then taught Special Education at Lakemary Center in Paola for 5 years and obtained a second master’s degree in Special Education. In the summer of 2022, Josh began working full-time as Children's Ministry Director for Lighthouse and enjoys the increased opportunities to serve children and families in the community with his passion for teaching children about Jesus and helping families foster faith in the home.

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 children hear the good news about salvation through Jesus’ death and resurrection each time we gather.

Youth Director

Jennie Terflinger

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Jennie Terflinger lives in Paola with her husband Dusty and two boys Landen (14) and Lucas (10). She attended Pittsburg State University where she graduated with a Masters in Education.

Jennie was a 3 time All American in Collegiate track and field in the pole vault. She went on to coach high school track and field and gymnastics, where she received the honor of Kansas State coach of the year.  For the past 10+ years Jennie has been an Executive Performance coach for a large financial firm.

Hobbies include ultra marathon running and spending time with her family, as well as being Co-Owner of Midwest Endurance Race Co.

Jennie is most excited about taking her passion of coaching and developing others into the youth program to give them a strong foundation of faith and allow them to experience a relationship with the Lord.

Youth Assistant

Maggie Koechner

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Maggie has taught in the Paola school district since the fall of 2000.  She lives in Paola with her husband, CJ., and their two children, Aaron and Ella.  She earned her education degree from Emporia State University and began her 28-year teaching career in the elementary setting.  Maggie holds a master’s degree in Education from Mid-America Nazarene University.  Lighthouse Presbyterian has been her church home since being invited to attend service in 2010.  She has been involved in both Kingdom Kids and Youth Ministry and is also a member of the Youth planning committee. 

Maggie loves the Christ connection that she is able to make with past and present students through our Children and Youth activities at Lighthouse.  

Business Office Manager

Tracey Hecker

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Tracey Hecker is Business 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 married 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, crocheting, 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.

Administrative Assistant

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, Chris, have lived in Paola for 24 years.  They are parents to two adult children, PJ and Julia, and one dog.

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!


Bill Koelsch