On your marks, get set…search!

Hi, Kentucky Region! Sorry to be out of communication for so long, but we’ve been on hold while we waited for several actions to take place. At the Regional Assembly this past weekend, both the regional profile and the regional minister job description were accepted by the assembly. We are now ready to start the search process! Here is the timeline of how we propose to move forward:

  • Start publicizing position Nov. 1, receiving names through Dec. 31
  • An independent screener reviews names in January to ensure there is no bias on the search team’s part
  • Search Team reviews names in February and narrows the list down to a small number of candidates
  • Search team conducts initial interviews in March
  • Search team conduct face-to-face (if possible) interviews in April, making our recommendation to the Regional Board by April 30
  • Called Regional Assembly meeting in late May-early June to vote on candidate
  • Candidate introduced in June with a July/August start date

All of this is subject to change, but we feel this is a workable timeline that allows us to do our due diligence in finding the right person to lead our region. As always, your prayers and supported are much needed and appreciated! We’ll keep you posted on how the process is going.

Peace be with you,

Your Regional Minister Search Team

Kentucky Regional Minister Job Description

Job Description for the Regional Minister: CCK

REVISED: 8/20/20

The Regional Minister for the Christian Church in Kentucky:

  • Is ordained in the CC(DOC) and wholeheartedly supports its Design and its established policies and procedures, including the Search and Call process.
  • Is called to the service of the wider church and the local congregation
  • Is called to pastoral counseling and consultation with both clergy and congregations
  • Is a person of authentic faith; an innovative thinker; a visionary leader; an effective communicator; and has a pastoral presence.

The Regional Minister for the Christian Church in Kentucky is responsible for:

  • Leading the Region in casting, implementing, and evaluating the Vision and Mission of the Region
  • Interpreting the mission and ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to the region
  • Providing pastoral care, counseling, and leadership to clergy and local congregations
  • Traveling to congregations (or visiting remotely) within the Region for the purpose of building relationships and fostering good communication
  • Overseeing the Search and Call process with congregations
  • Serving as head of staff, supervising the work of associate regional ministers, contract staff, and administrative staff, including reviews, terms of employment, and disciplinary measures
  • Serving as a resource to the Regional Board and all of its committees, commissions, and working groups
  • Working with the established boards, committees, and any other ministries and task forces to carry out the ongoing work of the region
  • Strengthening relationships with
    • College of Regional Ministers of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
    • Kentucky Christian Missionary Convention
    • Southeast Regional Fellowship (Disciples Regions in the


  • West Area of the Christian Church in Kentucky
    • Green Chalice, a Disciples Home Missions organization with roots in Kentucky
    • Disciples Appalachian Scholarship Ministry (formerly Kentucky Appalachian Ministry)
  • Participating on these boards:
    • General Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the USA and Canada
    • Lexington Theological Seminary Board of Trustees
    • Kentucky Council of Churches Executive Committee

The Regional Board, with the consultation of the Personnel Committee, is responsible for supervising the Regional Minister.

Regional Profile for Kentucky


The region of Kentucky is in the process of searching for their next Regional Minister to lead them into this new chapter of their ministry and witness in the Bluegrass State. This profile is meant to give potential candidates an understanding of who we are as a region and what we are looking for in our next Regional Minister.

REGIONAL STAFF (currently)

FT Regional Minister

FT Associate Regional Minister (retiring in Aug. 2021)

PT Youth and Young Adult Ministries/Outdoor Ministries and Staff Consultant to the Committee on the Ministry

PT Editor, CCK News

PT District Minister to Districts 10 and 11

Two FT support staff


Regional Office, Red Mile Road, Lexington

Camp Wakon’Da-Ho, Yosemite

Camp Kum-Ba-Ya, Benton


The 2019 Yearbook and Directory reports the Kentucky region has 205 congregations. Of those, 167 are considered active. The congregations break down in average attendance as follows:

1-25                 35        21%

26-50               52        31%

51-100             43        26%

101-200           25        15%

201-350           10        6%

351+                2          1%


There are currently 372 pastors with standing in the Kentucky region. Of those, 312 (84%) are ordained and 60 (16%) are commissioned, 252 (68%) are female and 120 (32%) are male. There are currently 126 retired inactive clergy.


Although the resources from Disciples Mission Fund and the annual Christmas Offering have not seen growth in recent years, the Kentucky Region is blessed with other resources, in addition to DMF and the Christmas Offering, through the generosity of donors who are passionate about the ministry of the Region. Thankfully, the Kentucky Region is financially stable as it provides a wide-range of ministries.


Mission Behind Bars and Beyond

Kentucky Council of Churches

Kentucky Christian Missionary Convention

Lexington Theology Seminary

Midway University

Transylvania University

Christian Church Homes of Kentucky

Cane Ridge


The West Area Ministry has a rich tradition dating to the mid-19th century. In various expressions it has served and nurtured Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) congregations and ministers in the western third of Kentucky for 180 years. Currently, the West Area Ministry serves 41 congregations in 19 counties in the Christian Church in Kentucky (Districts 1, 2 and 3). While the West Area congregations are geographically scattered, all are within a two-hour drive of the West Area office staff, who work virtually from Madisonville.  

The West Area Ministry is a distinctly separate self-governing organization operating as an integral part of the whole ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Kentucky. In consultation with the CCK Regional Minister, the West Area calls its own minister, who is an Associate Regional Minister; establishes its own budget; and carries out its ministry of nurturing and supporting congregations and ministers toward faithful, effective and innovative ministries through the regional values to “Care, Connect, and Equip.”


After serving the region for 27 years, 15 as Regional Minister, Rev. Greg Alexander retired on April 30, 2019. The region called Rev. Dean Phelps as the Interim Regional Minister, and when his contract was extended, the title was changed to Transitional Regional Minister. Under Dean’s leadership, we have not slowed down our transitional work. At a called Regional Assembly in August 2019, the region voted to restructure the makeup of the regional board, making it more streamlined and ensuring representational diversity. Those changes will take effect with the 2020 Regional Assembly.

Even in transition, the Kentucky Region has a number of important ministries that are making a difference for the body of Christ in Kentucky. Our New Church Team has done a wonderful job setting up an infrastructure for success, and opportunities abound for new church plants in our region. Our 3L Learning Groups bring together pastors for support, nurture, and accountability. Our Green Chalice Ministry continues to grow as we help care for God’s creation. Our Outdoor Ministries remain vibrant, with two camps serving the children and youth of the region. We maintain a strong and collegial relationship with the Kentucky Christian Missionary Convention, which represents our historically African-American congregations. And we are blessed with three institutions of higher education (including a seminary) with a Disciples affiliation.

As part of the search process, the Regional Minister Search Team surveyed the region to gather input on what people felt were the strengths of the region, the challenges it faces, and the qualities they want in our next Regional Minister. Here is a summary of their feedback:

The surveys named several strengths that the region possesses: strong congregations and ministers; a strong Disciples identity and deep history; the presence of Disciples-affiliated educational institutions; a hard-working regional staff; and vibrant camp program. To go along with those strengths, the surveys lifted up several hopes and dreams for the region in the next five years, including: that churches would be better connected to each other; that the camps would be brought up to date; that search and call process would receive more attention; and that there would be some sort of evangelism training for congregations.

While the Kentucky region has a lot to offer, it is not without challenges. The surveys named some of them: church aging and decline; financial realities; communication barriers; “fear” phobias that permeate our thinking. In addition, there were several priorities lifted up as urgent, which parallel some of the challenges: a focus on church membership and growth; achieving financial sustainability amidst declining finances; and keeping our camps vibrant and usable.

So what kind of person are we looking for to be our next Regional Minister? The survey responses highlighted several criteria: a person of God with authentic faith; an innovative thinker; a visionary leader; an effective communicator; someone with pastoral presence; and a person willing to travel.

The future for the Kentucky region is bright, and we look forward to finding the right person to help lead us forward. We trust in God’s grace and provision in this process and are excited to see where God is calling us in the future.

Regional Minister Search Update – February 2020

Greetings, Kentucky Region! We’re sorry you haven’t heard from us for awhile, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been working on your behalf. We’ve made some great progress on a few behind-the-scenes tasks we have to undertake before we can start the proper search for the next regional minister. Specifically, we have to create a regional profile and a job description for the position. This is harder for us to do since our last several hires have been “in-house,” meaning no profile was needed.

If you remember, we distributed a region-wide survey asking for  your feedback on our region and the position of regional minister. Thanks for your responses! They will help us generate our regional profile. Here’s a short summary of what we hard you say:

1 – What, in your opinion, are the two or three most urgent priorities for the Region that the next Regional Minister should address?

Church membership and growth; financial sustainability amidst declining finances; keeping our camps vibrant and usable

2 – What are your additional hopes and dreams for the Region for the next five years?

That churches would be better connected to each other, that the camps would be brought up to date, that search and call would receive more attention, and that there would be some sort of evangelism training for congregations.

3 – What are the strengths and special gifts of this Region that can serve as building blocks as it addresses the urgent priorities and five-year hopes and dreams that you have named?

Strong congregations and ministers; deep DoC history; educational institutions; hard-working regional staff; vibrant camp program

4 – What realities of the Region can you name that could be obstacles to the Region as it sets its sights on the urgent priorities and five-year hopes and dreams that have been named?

Church aging and decline; financial realities; communication barriers; “fear” phobias that dominate our thinking

5 – What gifts, experience, and commitments do you believe that the next Regional Minister needs to possess in order to be effective in leading the Region toward health and vitality?

Person of God with authentic faith; innovative thinker; visionary leader; effective communicator; pastoral presence; willingness to travel

6 – What additional information would you like to share with the search team as it develops the Regional Profile and has conversations with candidates?

Churches want: the best candidate possible; new thinking and courageous leadership; visits from the Regional Minister; to honor the diversity of the region.

So, what’s next? We’ll use these answers to generate a Regional Profile, which will then go the Personnel Committee. That committee will use the profile to help update the job description for the position. Once those two documents are completed, they will go to the Regional Board, which will vote whether or not to recommend them to the Regional Assembly in October.

Our goal is to have a new Regional Minister in place in time to introduce her or him at the General Assembly in Louisville in July 2021. That means the search will begin in earnest in November with the publicizing of the position and the receiving of letters of inquiry from potential candidates. We’ll keep you posted throughout the process on how things are doing. Thanks for your continued prayers and support!

Your Regional Minister Search Team

Nov. 4 Search Update

Hey Kentucky Region! Sorry to be out of touch for so long, but we’ve been busy gathering and sorting through the responses to our Regional Minister Search Survey. We received 88 responses, which gave us a lot of good data to work with. The team is in the process of summarizing the answers to the six questions so that we can begin to put together a regional profile that can be shared with potential candidates. We hope to finish that work by the end of November.

Thanks to everyone who filled out a survey and to all those who are praying for our process. We’ll post another update when we have finished our work with the survey results.

God bless,

Kory Wilcoxson

Chair, Regional Minister Search Team

And so it begins!

Your Regional Minister Search Team held their first meeting on Saturday, June 8, at First Christian Church in Louisville. The purpose of our retreat was two-fold: (1) to receive Anti-Racism/Pro-Reconciliation Training from April Johnson, Minister of Reconciliation for the DoC, and (2) to allow John Mobley, Regional Minister for the Alabama/Northwest Florida Region, to take us through the search orientation process. Our denomination has a specific process outlined for executive searches. The process is more involved than finding a minister for a church, so John was helpful in making sure we were off to a good start.

At the end of our retreat, we outlined several next steps. First, we’re going to review the current position description for the regional minister to see if it needs to be updated. Second, we’ll be reaching out to congregations across Kentucky to solicit input as we prepare our Regional Profile to be shared with candidates. That input can be given two ways. First, we’ve created an online survey that allows you to give us direct feedback on the position of regional minister. You can find that survey here. Feel free to go ahead and fill it out!

Second, we’ll be sending emails to all the pastors in the region with printable paper versions of these surveys. We encourage you to contact your pastor if you’d like a paper copy. Those can then be filled out and mailed to us at:

Regional Minister Survey
c/o Crestwood Christian Church
1882 Bellefonte Dr.
Lexington, KY 40503

We’d like to have all the surveys filled in and returned by July 28, when the search team will start to distill this information into a Regional Profile. Once the position description and congregational profile are approved by the Regional Board, then we can start advertising the position and receiving candidates.

If you have any questions about this process, feel free to contact me at kory@crestwoodchristian. Our team is committed to transparency (while maintaining confidentiality) and keeping the region informed of our work. Your prayers and support are most appreciated!

Kory Wilcoxson, chair
on behalf of the Regional Minister Search Team

Regional Search Team Bios

Executive Search Team

We are honored to serve on your behalf as part of the Executive Search Team that is tasked with finding the next Regional Minister in Kentucky. We appreciate and welcome your prayers as we seek to faithfully fulfill this call.

Kory Wilcoxson, Chair

Rev. Kory Wilcoxson serves as Senior Pastor at Crestwood Christian Church (Lexington).  He is a D.Min. student at Lexington Theological Seminary and an M.Div. graduate of Christian Theological Seminary (Indianapolis).  He has two daughters, Sydney (21) and Molly (15). He is a runner and a Cincinnati Reds fan.  Kory has served as Moderator of CCK and the Council on Christian Unity.  Most recently, Kory has been chairing the Restructure Committee for CCK.

Syvoskia Pope, 1st Vice Moderator (CCK)

Rev. Syvoskia Pope serves as Pastor at New Century Fellowship Christian Church (Louisville).  She is a graduate of Lexington Theological Seminary.   She is a bi-vocational community leader for Louisville Metro Government, and she provides Community Economic Development services for entrepreneurs. She is also the owner of Exousia Financial, LLC.  Syvoskia serves on several boards and committees of the Christian Church of Kentucky: she is 1st Vice Moderator, Co-Convener of New Church Ministry, board member of Mission Behind Bars and Beyond, and serves on the CCK Reconciliation Team.

Paul Jackson, Personnel Committee Chair (CCK)

Paul Jackson is a lay leader at First Christian Church  (Covington).  Born into a devout Southern Baptist family, Paul changed his membership to Disciples of Christ when he met his wife Sheri.  He retired from Procter & Gamble in June 2018 after 34 years of global supply chain work.  Paul’s hobbies include golf and reading.  He has served the Region on the Regional Board as Chair of Budget & Funds in a previous biennium in addition to his current service as Chair of the Personnel Committee.

Laura Barkhauer

Laura Barkhauer is a member of Beargrass Christian Church (Louisville). She has been a member of the Christian Church (DOC) for over 25 years, and has served as an Elder, a Sunday School Teacher, a VBS leader, a Children’s Ministry member and chair. For many years she has served on the Christmount Council & Board, currently serving as the Moderator. She spends time volunteering in her community, currently with the American Cancer Society as chair of the local Relay For Life event. Laura is a licensed real estate professional with Keller Williams Realty Consultants.  She is married to Rev. Bruce Barkhauer, Director of the Center for Faith & Giving of the Christian Church (DOC). They have three children & two grandsons. 

Darrell Hayden

Rev. Darrell Hayden is the pastor of High Street Christian Church (Mount Sterling). He has been the pastor for the past 23 years.  He is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, with a major in Philosophy and Black Studies.  He is married to Jacqueline; they have 3 children and 5 grandchildren. Darrell has previously served as Moderator for the Christian Church In Kentucky and currently serves on the General Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Antonio Sherrill

Antonio Sherrill serves as a lay leader at Second Christian Church (Mayfield). He is a 5th grade teacher at Mayfield Middle School, where he has worked for the past 10 years.  Antonio is the father to a son and a daughter.  He is a candidate for Commissioned Ministry.

Linda Creason

Rev. Linda Creason is a member of First Christian Church (Paducah).  She is married to David (63 years).  They have three children, 8 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandson.  She served as Office Manager at an outpatient radiology clinic for 35 years.   At age 50, Linda went into ministry.  She became a Commissioned Minister in December 2009.   She ministered at Bardwell Christian Church for over 13 years. She then served as interim at Dawson Springs on two separate occasions for about 1 year each time.  Linda still does pulpit supply in the West Area.  She has served on the West Area Board and the state CWF Board.