Dr. L. Wayne Wester - Senior Pastor
Pastor Wayne’s first Sunday at Highland as Senior Pastor was May 3rd, 2009. The Westers come to Tullahoma from California, where Dr. Wester served as Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church of Mira Mesa in San Diego. Prior to that he was pastor for ten years at First Baptist Church, Academy, TX.
Pastor Wester, originally from Evansville, IN, was ordained into the ministry at First Southern Baptist Church in Evansville in 1991, and received his Master of Divinity degree in 1993 from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas where he also received his Doctor of Ministry degree.
The Westers have two children, Sarah (born in 1996) and Nick (born in 2000) which they homeschool. Both Pastor Wayne and his wife, Wendy, have engineering degrees and worked in industry prior to the call to ministry. Wendy also served as a Professor in the Engineering Department of Purdue University.
Wayne fully affrims and holds to the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message of The Southern Baptist Convention.
Pastor Stephen Keene - Minister of Students and Education
Rev. Stephen Keene is a pastor, educator, writer, husband and father. He is a ferocious reader with a with a slight addiction to diet coke. Stephen has been in youth ministry for the last decade having served as youth pastor, writer for LifeWay’s KNOWN Sunday School material, Deacon Magazine, Encounter Student Ministry Magazine and is a frequent contributor for Moody Publishing’s online Millennial Generation outreach website, Thrive80.com. Stephen has also worked as a Bible study leader and worship band drummer for Centifuge camps for four years. Stephen has also spoken to Congress on the issue of school violence and appeared in numerous magazines and books concerning the topic of school violence.
Stephen is fully convinced he has the greatest family in the world! He and his wife Lorie met while studying at Southern Seminary where she earned an M.Div. in Christian Education and a Th.M in Theology. Lorie is a wonderful stay-at-home-mom and their son Elijah’s teacher. She is frequent speaker for womens’ and girls’ conferences, a contributing writer for LifeWay’s Journey Magazine, Open Windows, Deacon, ParentLife, and has also been published in Christian Today and Missions Mosiac. Lorie has also published a book leading women through the Gospel of John entitled “Pull Up a Chair: You, Me and the Gospel of John,” wrote the study guide for “Faithful, Abundant, True” by Beth Moore, Priscilla Shrier and Kay Authur, and has also contributed a chapter in the book “When I Lay Down My Issac: Unshakable Faith in Unthinkable Circumstances” by Carol Kent. Lorie is a native of Tallassee, AL
The Keene’s have one son, Elijah who will be two in January and a daughter, Emma, who is due in September.
Stephen’s greatest passion in life is teaching the Scriptures to young and old alike and seeing others transformed by Christ. He believes that, although he is a full-time church youth pastor, that parents are the greatest spiritual influence on a child’s life and wishes to be a powerful resource in which parents can draw from as they “train up a child in the ways they should go”. His greatest aim in youth ministry is to see families discipled and worshipping together and youth who are driven to impact their culture for the Gospel of Christ.
Stephen draws from many different places such as culture (modern and ancient), story and humor driven by Biblical verse-by-verse teaching to communicate God’s Word to students and adults.
He was born in Floyd Knobs, IN and raised in Paducah, KY.
Stephen holds degrees from:
* B.S. in Biblical Studies from Mid-Continent University in Mayfield, KY
* M.A.C.E. in Youth and Family Ministry from The Southern Baptist Theolgical Seminary in Louisville, Ky
* Currently pursuing his doctorate in Family Ministry from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY
Stephen fully affrims and holds to the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message of The Southern Baptist Convention.
Dr. Jim Garrison - Minister of Music
I began my ministry at Highland on June 3, 2012. I am an ordained deacon and have served churches in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee in music ministry, all on a bi-vocational basis. I thoroughly enjoy leading the choir and preparing for worship as we all serve the Lord through music. Many years ago I formed a Southern Gospel Quartet while serving a church near Anniston, AL, and was a part of that group for 4+ years until I moved to another area to continue my career as an educator, teaching in high school. After completing my ED. D. in Educational Administration and working as a High School principal for 3 years, I left education in 1985 to begin a career in financial services and was able to serve God in music ministry during the past years. I am now an independent financial advisor in the Middle TN area working with individuals and also managing retirement plans for groups in the area. God has blessed me in more ways that I can enumerate. Over the years Sandra and I have made many friends in the communities where we have lived and churches we’ve served and attended. I’m delighted to be on the staff at Highland, a very friendly, open body of believers.
Sandra and I have two children, Jared – who lives in Murfreesboro, and Lori Harber – who lives in Chapel Hill near us. Lori and her husband, Keith, have two children (our precious grandchildren) Sadie Beth Harber and Lucas Garrison Harber. They are a delight in our lives and we praise God for our family.
Sandra and I are also hobby beekeepers and have been keeping bees for many years. Both our parents and grandparents kept bees, so we’ve kept the hobby alive and well for us here in Tennessee.
Pray for us as we serve in the music ministry at Highland and Sandra works with our Prime Timers.
Dr. Erin Murray - Nursery Director
more information coming soon
Mrs. Amy Jackson - Office Manager
Amy is a long time resident of Tullahoma and is married to Eric Jackson. They do not have any children of their own, but as a former teacher, Amy was the “school hours mom” to several children.
Amy is a graduate of Union University, where she obtained a BA in Religion and a minor in History in 1997. She then continued her education at MTSU, where she earned a teaching license in 7-12 History. Amy taught for several years in the public and private school systems. She taught 1st, 2nd and 3rd Grades, 4th- 8th Math, Social Studies, and French, as well as coaching the Forensics Team and Odyssey of the Mind.
Amy left the education field when her husband became disabled due to a spinal cord tumor. Amy and Eric have shared their story with many people and pray that their story of God’s love and faithfulness will be an encouragement to people who are going through tough times.
Helping people and being a support person is a passion of Amy’s and she is very glad to put her experience and education to use at Highland Baptist.
Child Development Center
Mrs. Linda Conner - Director
Highland Baptist Church began the ministry of the Child Development Center in 1970. I have been a part of this ministry for 24 years. Prior to becoming director in 2001, I spent 14 of those years dedicated to teaching three and four year old classes. As a teacher it was rewarding to help children learn and develop the skills to grow. As director I have enjoyed the pleasure of ministering with families and the many relationships I have developed with the parents, staff members, and the community.
The Lord has blessed me with the gift of salvation, my husband Steve, and two wonderful children (Brad and Julie) whom are both married. Steve and I graduated from Truman State University in Kirksville, MO with degrees in Business Administration. We have been active members at Highland since moving to Tullahoma from St. Louis, MO in 1982. It is my joy to serve the community of Tullahoma. I am grateful that I am able to pursue the Lord’s calling of instructing our little ones, in Jesus, and work with such a wonderful staff and group of teachers.