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Atwood First Baptist Church Bids Farewell to Pastor Lanny Faulkner

Pastor Lanny Faulkner will preach his final sermon on July 26 at Atwood First Baptist Church.

By Doris Elmore
Staff Writer

But he said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” (Luke 4:43) This passage from Luke best describes Pastor Lanny M. Faulkner, who has been pastor of the Atwood First Baptist Church for the past 15 years. Pastor

Lanny has decided it is time to semi-retire on July 31, 2020. He says the first three years in Atwood he was part-time that turned into full time.

A special service of music and worship to recognize Pastor Lanny is planned for Sunday, July 26. The service begins at 10:00 a.m. and this will be Lanny’s final sermon at the church. A time of fellowship with pre-boxed lunches will be held in a tent behind the church following worship.

The community is invited to this day of recognition. A card shower is also planned. Anyone wanting to send a card should address it to Pastor Lanny M. Faulkner, c/o Atwood First Baptist Church, P. O. Box 797, Atwood, IL 61913 or you can take it the day of the celebration if you are attending.

Pastor Lanny says he grew up with no church background, but when he was in the service in Guam he started going to church. He always loved going to school with learning, education, and teaching. He became involved in the church and he learned that was what God was calling him to do with his life. After reading the 43rd verse of Luke (above) he knew ministry was for him. God was leading him on a career path that would shape the rest of his life. Lanny says he has never regretted his passion for ministry. He preaches the Bible, called expository teaching, book by book and verse by verse.

He was saved on November 6, 1982 in Little Rock, AR, and baptized on November 7, 1982 at Heritage Baptist Temple, Little Rock. He is currently a member of the Atwood First Baptist Church.

His education includes: 1968 graduate of Rowan County High School, Morehead, KY; 1968-69 wholesale and retail sales, Johnson’s All-Star Dairy in Morehead; 1969-1977 Staff Sergeant, Air Terminal Operations Center Supervisor, U.S. Air Force. Lanny served in Texas, Viet Nam, Oklahoma, Florida and Guam. From 1978-81 he was Charter Marketing and Flightline Operations Shift Supervisor, Hangar ONE, Inc., Chattanooga, TN; 1981-1982 Flightline Operations Shift Supervisor, Catlin Aviation, Oklahoma City, OK; 1982-83 Flightline Operations Manager, Little Rock Air Center, Little Rock, AR; 1983-1986 Vice-President, Roy Rogers Foreign Car Parts and R & J Warehouse, Inc., Little Rock.

His doctrinal position states, “I am in full agreement with the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy and the Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.” His ministry education includes: Graduate Diploma in Theology (Th.G.) Tennessee Temple University; 1981 Bachelor of Religious Education (BRE) Tennessee Temple University, Chattanooga, TN; Master of Religious Education (MRE) and Master of Theology (Th.M.) Covington Theological Seminary, Ft. Oglethorpe, GA, 1987-88; Dissertation: “Pre-tribulation Pre-millennialism, the Characteristics and Chronology of Eschatological Events; Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Theological Studies, Louisiana Baptist University, Shreveport, LA in 1993.

He reached another milestone in his life on July 17 when he celebrated his 70th birthday. While this really isn’t old, Lanny would like to have a little more freedom to do other passions in his life, like visiting his family, when the COVID-19 allows.

Lanny’s ministry experience includes: Licensed at Hebron Baptist Church, Pulaski Baptist Association, Little Rock, AR July 11, 1984; Ordained at Emmanuel Baptist Church, Fox Valley Baptist Association, Marengo, IL, November 15, 1987; Pastor-Teacher & Chairman of Elders, First Baptist Church, Atwood (2007-2020); Director of Missions, Central Baptist Association, Decatur (1994-2010).

During Lanny’s 16 years at Central Baptist Association, he served as Interim Pastor for nine (9) of the CBA Churches; From 2007-2010, he served bi-vocationally for both Central Baptist Association and the First Baptist Church of Atwood; Pastor, First Southern Baptist Church, Waukegan, IL (1987-1994); Chaplain, (Captain) Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Air Force Auxiliary (1991-1993). This was a volunteer position. Pastor, Harvest Baptist Church, Paragould, AR (1986-1987).

Denominational Service includes: Southern Baptist Convention, committee on nominations (1992-2003), Illinois Baptist State Convention, Board of Directors, (2014). He resigned from the board due to his wife’s illness; Illinois Baptist State Association Committee on Committees, Member (1999-2001) Chairman (2002); Illinois Baptist State Association: Secretary-Treasurer (1993), Vice-President, (1994), and President (1995) of the State Pastor’s Conference.

As you have read above, Pastor Lanny has been one busy individual since he has been in ministry.

Two years ago, Lanny told the church that he was planning to retire. Last year he gave them a one-year notice and a calendar to go by and Lanny says it worked out to the day. A new minister will fill their pulpit beginning August 1. Travis “Woody” White, 25, will be the Senior Pastor. He is married to Brittany, a nurse at Bromenn Hospital in Bloomington. Look for an article on Woody and Brittany in the near future.

When asked what he liked most about being a minister, Pastor Lanny replied, “Relationships and seeing the church grow.” Lanny has made so many dear friends since he has been in Atwood and he will miss seeing them on a weekly basis. Lanny said the age of the congregation is getting younger and he thinks he is going the wrong way.

I contacted a few colleagues/friends of Lanny to get a quote about their friendship with him over the years. Enjoy reading their testimonies:

Nate Adams, Executive Director, Illinois Baptist State Association, Springfield: “Pastor Lanny has provided mature, inspiring, Godly leadership to Atwood’s First Baptist Church for well over a decade. During that time, he has baptized more than 100 new believers, inspired double-digit percentage increases in both worship attendance and giving, and led the church to multiply its worldwide missions’ contributions five-fold. In addition to being a trusted leader among both his local and statewide network of churches, he has been a personal friend and encourager to me. I have no doubt that a man of this caliber and commitment to the Lord will continue to minister effectively in many ways, even as he retires from full-time service at FBC. Well done, good and faithful servant!”

Dr. Pat Pajak, Illinois Baptist State Association: “Dr. Lanny Faulkner has served the Lord Jesus Christ faithfully as a pastor and prayer warrior thru the years. But, above all, he has been my best friend for more than 40 years! Borrowing the words of the Lord, found in Matthew 25:23, all I can say is, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

Bill Fleming, Fellow Elder, Atwood First Baptist Church: “One of the greatest blessings of our church is that we have been privileged and honored to have had Lanny Faulkner as our pastor and leading our congregation. Lanny is the most loving and caring Pastor that I’ve known in my 42 years of ministry. He is a prayer warrior for his people and for many others whom he doesn’t even know who have physical or spiritual needs.
Lanny’s knowledge of the scriptures and his ability to teach and explain them is second to none. God has, and will continue to use him as one who encourages and inspires others to become and remain in the will of God.
A few years ago, the Holy Spirit led Lanny to pen two sentences that explains the Gospel in 30 seconds. We have recited this in every morning worship service since. It is also recited by the kids at our Wednesday night IGNITE event. ‘In spite of the fact that we have sinned against Him, God loves us and sent His Son Jesus to pay for our sins on the cross. If we will turn away from our sins and trust Jesus as our Savior and Lord, God will forgive our sins, change our lives and take us to heaven when we die.’
We thank Pastor Lanny for his love, leadership and care for us these past 15 years. We know that God will continue to use him to lead others to Christ and make many more disciples for Him.”

Phyllis Stephenson, long-time member of the Atwood First Baptist Church: “I have mixed feelings about Lanny’s retirement. I am glad he is now going to have the time to do the things he has looked forward to that he was unable to do while a full-time Pastor. But I am really going to miss him as preacher, teacher and very good friend. His regular Thursday visits first in person then on the phone after the lockdown here at Brookstone were always something I looked forward to. He always made me feel I was still a part of the church, although I was physically unable to take an active part in the activities of the church anymore. He always included my family in his prayers and showed a real concern for them which they appreciated. He was always available if you needed him. He has taken me for appointments when I needed transportation. I appreciated him driving to Marshall for my son-in-law’s funeral even though he had other commitments for the day. His final words after a visit and prayer were always ‘do you need anything?’ Thank you, Pastor Lanny, I am really going to miss you.”

Pastor Mike Drake, United Church of Atwood: “Pastor Lanny is one of the finest men I have ever known. I believe he is and has been a shining role model of a Godly Pastor and friend. I value his friendship and will miss his influence in Atwood in the years to come. God speed, my friend.”

Pastor Don Gerkin, Atwood Christian Church: “I think the strongest part of Lanny’s years of ministry is that he was not only an excellent pastor, caring for those God had entrusted to his care, but he was also a genuine friend. Some pastors can do the work, but not have the love instilled by a close relationship with God. It is obvious that Lanny has a pastor’s heart, genuinely serving others by allowing God’s love to flow through him to others.”

Lanny married Linda (Lin) Marie Bennett on Dec. 10, 1971. They had been married 43 years, 2 months and 14 days when she passed away on February 24, 2015. He is very proud of his children & grandchildren: Timothy and wife Roxane Faulkner, sons Tyler & Kasey of Pell Lake, WI.; Rebecca and husband Timothy Wittmer, sons Aric and Austin of Decatur, and Daniel and wife Krystal, children Jaxon and Krisia of Statesville, NC.

While Lanny is looking forward to a little more free time upon retiring he states, “Since the Lord has continued to bless me with excellent health and a passion for ministry, I plan (as the Lord allows), to serve the Lord for as long as my health permits in a part-time capacity in whatever ministry HE opens to me.”

Thank you, Pastor Lanny, for your ministry and commitment to the Atwood First Baptist Church and the Atwood community. The most fitting way to end this story has been said earlier, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” Enjoy your semi-retirement, you will be missed.

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