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New Pastor Announced

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A note from Jim Lenderman, Senior Pastor:

Matthew Johnson

Welcome Rev. Matthew Johnson to our pastoral staff! – I am very pleased that Matthew has been appointed to join our pastoral staff at Central. I’ve known him for almost 25 years since his days as a student at the Arkansas School for Mathematics and Sciences in Hot Springs. Matthew is a graduate of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville where he was very active in the Wesley Campus Ministry, and received both his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Asbury Theological Seminary (where I attended seminary “a few” years earlier). 

Matthew is married to Heather and they have one daughter, Elisa, who is 13. His hobbies include cycling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and writing. 

Matthew comes to us from St. Paul UMC in Searcy (2014-present) where he has served the past four years as their lead pastor. Prior to that appointment he was pastor at Prairie Grove UMC (2008-2014) and an associate pastor at 1st UMC Russellville (2003-2008).  He has a proven, 15-year track record of effective ministry in the Arkansas Conference.

Matthew has a genuine love for God and the church and a sound, biblical, historically orthodox, Wesleyan theology. He is a strong preacher and teacher of the historic faith, and emphasizes searching scripture, prayer and fasting. He has a deep interest in Wesleyan discipleship through class meetings and bands. Matthew will be a real asset to our staff and ministry when he joins us July 1. 

If you would like to welcome Matthew to Central you may do so either by email at or by mail at 1560 W. Beebe Capps Expy, Ste. C-132, Searcy, AR  72143. Also, please join us in prayer for Matthew, his family, and the folks at St. Paul UMC in Searcy as they wrap up their ministry there and prepare to join us in NWA.