When Kathy Johnson joined Kingwood Christian Church in 2001, she was returning to her roots.
Both she and her husband, Dave, were raised and married in a Disciples Church in Speedway, Ind., home of the Indy 500 just outside of Indianapolis.
They met in high school. Although Dave went to Purdue and Kathy went to Indiana University, they stayed together and have been married 55 years. “We were big rivals but got married anyway,” Dave laughed.
They moved to a Chicago suburb when Dave, a metallurgical engineer, got a job with Argonne National Laboratory. There were no Disciples churches near them so they joined a Presbyterian church. Later, he took a job with Northern National Gas and they lived in Omaha for eight years.
He was transferred to Texas in 1987, working for Enron. Kathy taught high school business. After moving to Kingwood, she taught at Creekwood Middle School.
Initially the couple belonged to Kingwood First Presbyterian Church, where their two sons, Brad and Brian, were very active in the church youth group.
But she was eventually drawn to Kingwood Christian Church, where she immediately got involved in Bible studies. “It was a wonderful group and I learned so much,” she said.
By 2005, she became president of the then Disciples Women’s Group. She’s also been an elder off and on for nine years and a deacon off and on for seven years.
Developing relationships is what it’s all about, she said. That’s why Kathy will be a part of the church’s new care team.
“If you’re interested in getting to know people on a more personal level,” she said, “volunteer to have a group of people you will contact and stay in touch with.”
Although he took a bit of a break, Dave eventually joined Kathy at Kingwood Christian. “I started going and realized people here are really pretty nice,” he said. The Johnsons have become close friends with a number of couples around their age.
“It’s nice to have those connections. I think you can meet people anywhere, but I think in a church this size it’s easier to make the connections and get to know some people.”
Kathy retired from teaching in 2008, so she could help her son Brian’s family. Brian, who was the associate principal of Kingwood Park High School, has a son and two daughters, who will all be in high school next year. When they lived in Kingwood, the grandkids spent at least one night a week with Kathy and Dave. The family moved to Georgetown when Brian became principal of Georgetown High, but Kathy and Dave still see the grandkids about once a month.
Their son Brad is a hospital administrator in Palo Alto, California. The Johnsons try to see Brad’s family at least a few times a year. He has two boys, 12 and 9.
Dave retired in 2020 from Energy Transfer Co., which he joined after Enron dissolved. They had planned to travel a lot after his retirement, but then the pandemic happened.
This year, they’re making up for lost time with several trips planned, including Cabo San Lucas and California.
Kingwood Christian Church remains a big part of their lives.
“I love walking into the sanctuary,” Kathy said. “I love the feel of the Lord in the sanctuary. I love the people. I love looking around and sharing my faith and worshiping with friends. We have a fabulous staff. With Chad, Margaret, Amanda, we’ve hit the jackpot.” And Josh and Chan add musical icing to the cake.
Kathy is glad that Pastor Chad Mattingly is committed to bringing people from both services together. That’s why she and Dave recently hosted a fellowship night at their new home in Kingwood. They moved last year to a house a little more than a mile from the one they raised their boys in.
They both like the size of Kingwood Christian Church. “Neither of us would be very comfortable going to church with 2,500 of our closest friends,” he said.
For Dave, the four banners in the sanctuary spelling out the church’s values (love not judgment, extravagant welcome, open-minded conversations, and compassionate service) are very important.
“We see the people in the church not just repeating those things, but that’s how they act,” he said. “There are so many places that say a lot of nice words, but their actions don’t match up. And I think they do here.”
This is one in a series of occasional profiles, written by Susan Bullard, on members of Kingwood Christian Church. Love 101: Do Your Part.