Following God’s Direction for Lakeview

Following God’s Direction for Lakeview

Church family,

Over the last month, I have been sharing with you some of the exciting changes coming here at Lakeview with Vision25.  What I am about to tell you now, though not originally part of that… fits very nicely in the concept.  I have served as your senior pastor for over 18 years now and it is incredible to see what God is done both in and through this church!  AND I look forward to continuing to serve you in the days to come… but I want you to know that if you approve this new plan to serve you…  There will be some changes in my job description and… in my ministry function…  and that is not a bad thing…  In fact, I think it’s a very good thing… both for the church… and for my family.

Let me give you a bit of background:

Late last year, Bro. Tyler had a guest speaker named Chris Kohlman, who many of you know… come in to talk to our students about apologetics and he asked me if I wanted to come listen in…  I realized later that, not only did I know Chris, but had worked alongside him at a Hothearts conference years ago when he was at Elmdale and I was at FBC Lowell…  Chris and I had lunch together and immediately reconnected as brothers in Christ.  In our conversations, I was reminded of the fact that he genuinely loves Jesus and loves to serve His church… and wants to serve.  Chris has many years of ministry experience and is highly respected in the SBC community. 

It was a little later that the Lord began to birth in me a desire to do a conference in our church that we would eventually call “The Heartbeat of the Church Conference…” and, as you know, Chris was our speaker for a few of those sessions as well as a Sunday morning service.  

Then… During our “Christian Christmas Carol”, he came over to help with the response time for that event.

It was about THAT time that Chris and I were having lunch together and I was describing to him some of the Vision25 changes that the Lord had already began building inside of me that could be in store for us here at Lakeview.  While these changes were exciting… and many are already complete… or are in progress…  I began to realize… that Jesus was asking me to begin a new season of ministry in my life… one that would require some changes in my role here at Lakeview…  Not to leave the staff, but to redirect some of my focus in a different direction…    Anyway, as we continued to talk, Chris began to share with me… that he also sensed the Lord was also stirring in his heart, some changes in his life…  as he knew he would soon be leaving the Arkansas Baptist State Convention staff…  He shared that there were some options that seemed to be great opportunities for him, but that he just didn’t feel the Lord was saying “yes” to any of them.  He also asked me to pray for him in this regard when literally, in a matter of minutes, we both realized what Jesus might be doing and why He had brought us together for a moment such as this…  From there, we both committed to spend time in prayer asking the Lord to confirm what we were sensing in our hearts. 

Several weeks later…  I asked I asked 3 of my deacons… In fact, the last 3 chairmen of our deacon team… to allow me to share with them what I believed the Lord was stirring in my heart and my excitement for some potential change…  To my surprise and amazement…  They had been sensing the same exact thing!   In fact, each step through this process… the Lord just continues to confirm this decision in our hearts!

Now… You may be asking, “What exactly are you saying pastor?” Great question…  Over the last several months, as I have shared this vision with others… including the deacon team, our staff, and with some key leaders of our church…  I believe that the time has come for Lakeview to add some new leadership to our already great staff!

Here’s what I’m asking…  I want to propose to the church that we bring on to our staff, Chris Kohlman…   And begin transitioning him to the role of Teaching and Directional Pastor.    You may be asking, “Well, what about you, Pastor Johnny?”  Another great question…  And here’s my answer…  While I do think the Lord has some other ministry opportunities for Cheryl and I…  For me,.. The largest part of my assignment is to remain here at Lakeview as the Senior Adult and Community Pastor.  Just so you know, we have been working with our budget and finance team… and Chris… to ensure that this addition doesn’t burden the church financially…  There will be more to follow on that subject a little later… 

But…  I want you to know folks, that I am really excited for this to happen…  And our staff is as well! BUT… none of this will happen without your support… and NOTHING will happen unless YOU VOTE IT TO HAPPEN…

I’m telling you all of this now, because I want you to have plenty of time to ask questions… and to be able to pray about this as well…  I think it is essential for us to be able to answer questions and work out details BEFORE we vote on something this significant…  AND none of this will come to place before it is voted on by the church body…

NOW…  I know that many of you will have questions… and rest assured that we as the staff, the deacons and our lay leadership teams are working hard to get our ducks in a row as we consider the questions that will arise…   


As many of you know, right now… Chris has his own speaking and consulting ministry. He is also helping First Baptist Rogers with their college ministry…  These responsibilities mean that the transition will need a bit of time to come to fruition…  But that is a good thing because it allows us to make sure we will have things together on our end…   

Currently, we have scheduled Chris to come on August 18th and preach in-view-of-a-call.  That evening, the plan is that we will have a business meeting where we will have an opportunity for questions with a vote to follow that…  

Assuming a positive vote, Chris and his family would join us here at Lakeview on a limited basis beginning October 1st when Chris will assist the staff in helping to developing a transition plan… and for him to begin working with the staff on a semi-regular basis.  However, Chris and his family would not be able to immediately join us, as they have some current ministry items that they want to finish strong with in regards to their church now… and Chris has a lot of speaking engagements already scheduled in the fall.   

I will tell you though, that some of the activities that Chris would be a part of this fall… are already a part of Vision25… and as such, have already begun…  Things such as our new church website, which Chris and our staff have already built and is currently serving us well…   

October through December would serve as an opportunity for us, as a staff and as a church, to be ready to move forward beginning January 12th, when Chris would begin preaching regularly for us… 

Again, we want to tell you, as your pastor… your church staff, and your deacon team… we couldn’t be more excited about this new season in the life of Lakeview Baptist church!  And in the words of John Craig, “You better get your tennis shoes on…  Because you’re gonna need them… 2025 is gonna be a banner year!!!  And, If it is the Lord’s vision… it cannot fail!

Please feel free to direct any questions that you may have to me, the staff or our deacon team…  We know that there are many things to consider… AND… we will be working diligently to seek Gods’ counsel and leadership in moving forward…

I honestly believe that the only one not excited about this will be the devil… but don’t worry …  because…  “Greater is He that is in us… than he that is in the world!” (1John 4:4)  To God be the glory…

Want to know more about Chris and His Family?

One Comment

  1. Charlene Goodhart

    So what exactly is the Senior Adult and Community Pastor versus the Teaching and Directional Pastor.
    How do these two roles differ and how do each advance the ministry of the church

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *