Pastor & Leaders
Rev. James W. Collins
Senior Pastor Rev. James W. Collins has been gifted by God with the talent to preach and teach the gospel in ways understandable to many age groups. He has strong leadership skills that include planning and organizing our worship and discipleship to bring glory and honor to God. Rev. Collins places importance on feeding the people the spiritual food they crave, and helping lead the way for us to serve others. His desire is to help people during those God moments of life: weddings, funerals, counseling, acceptance of Christ. His greatest ministerial strength is to hear the people's stories, and help them come to a deeper understanding of Christ's love and forgiveness. Rev. Collins was born and raised in Jacksonville, FL where his life long relationship with Jesus Christ began. He learned from his family to turn to Christ in all times, the importance of prayer, a faith grounded in Scripture, and to serve Jesus by serving for Him. He graduated from Jacksonville University in 1987 with a degree in Commercial Art. He spent 15 years in the printing and advertising business before following God’s calling to full time ministry in 2002. Rev. Collins graduated with a Masters of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary in 2007. He was ordained by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) that same year. Rev. Collins served several Disciples congregations in the Jacksonville area before he and his wife Susan moved to Lakeland in 2012.
Associate Pastor Kathy Johnson
Pastor Johnson has been with Bethany since December of 2014. Called late to the Ministry and currently a student at Lexington Theological Seminary, Kathy is under care of and is a commissioned minister by the Florida Region Commission on Ministry, Disciples of Christ. Pastor Johnson is passionate in sharing the Gospel and believes that all believers, non-believers, and skeptics have the right to access God, scripture, and a community of faith with non-judgmental acceptance and support in their quest for the answers to their questions of life and beyond. A Registered Nurse of forty-nine years she is a servant leader who has a strong love of God, comes with a compassionate heart, and a strong belief of respect, truth, and the well- being of love of one’s neighbor is inherent to a strong and viable community and world. Age is not the defining vision for the church but the willingness to look to the future with a keen sense of what God is calling us the people of the church to be and do. Pastor Johnson brings a passion for people, a heart for inclusivity, the desire that all are heard, and to minister to the people with the heart of Jesus.
Music Director Jayden Rodirguez
Jayden graduated from Florida Southern College with a Bachelor’s degree in music education in 2017 and carries on former Music Director Dr. Castelli’s legacy in the music ministry by sponsoring the Bethany youth in participating in instrumental music lessons and recruiting the talents of students at Florida Southern College and Harrison School of the Arts for music lessons and special music events.
He plays the piano, guitar, and the French horn; directs the church choir at Bethany; and teaches piano and guitar at Bartow Middle School.