Larry J. Karsies, Senior Pastor
Pastor Larry Karsies was born and reared in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Following graduation from a public high school, he attended Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina, where he pursued a double major in Bible and Sacred Music. Pastor Karsies graduated from BJU in 1967, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree. While in college, Pastor Karsies met Bonnie Johnson from Kansas City, Missouri. They were married after their graduation, and, following their honeymoon, immediately began serving the Lord in Christian ministry.
The Lord has given Pastor and Mrs. Karsies two children. Their son, Todd, is a medical doctor, presently serving on the staff of the Pediatrics Department in Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. He and his wife, Shannon, have two sons—making Pastor and Mrs. Karsies “grandpa” and “grandma.” Pastor and Mrs. Karsies’ daughter, Darla, teaches 3rd and 4th grade in Harvest Hills Christian School.
The Lord has given Pastor Karsies the privilege of serving Him in the following ministries:
- Youth and Music Pastor — Bible Baptist Church, Wakarusa, Indiana (1967-1969)
- Pastor — Faith Baptist Church, Pensacola, Florida (1969-1972)
- Youth Pastor – Hillsdale Baptist Church, Tampa, Florida (1972-1985)
- Youth Pastor – Tri-City Baptist Church, Kansas City, Missouri (1985-1989)
- Pastor – Harvest Hills Baptist Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (1989-present)
Pastor Karsies has surrendered himself to faithfully serve Christ with all of his being. His main passion and responsibility is studying and preaching the Word of God, and shepherding the flock God has entrusted to his care—as the pastor. He also enjoys serving in other areas of the church ministry, especially the music ministry.
Pastor Karsies’ purpose for life and Christian service is best summed up in his “life verses” (II Corinthians 5:14-15): “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”
John Heffernan, Assistant Pastor
John Heffernan grew up in Greenville South Carolina. After going to Bob Jones Elementary School and Academy, he enrolled in Bob Jones University where he received both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. While in college, he had the privilege of serving at Fellowship Baptist Church in Taylors, SC, as volunteer music leader, choir director, AWANA worker, and adult Sunday School teacher. The Lord used these six years to prepare him for future full-time Christian service.
While in high school, John met Christina Chapman. After dating several years in college, the two were married at Christina’s church, Morningside Baptist Church. After John graduated from graduate school with an MA in Pastoral Studies, the Heffernans moved to Wichita, Kansas, to help Dale Heffernan in a church-planting effort. The Lord allowed the Heffernans to serve in that ministry – John as assistant pastor and Christina as church secretary – for a little over three years. In October of 2002, the Lord moved the Heffernans to Oklahoma for John to serve as assistant pastor at Harvest Hills Baptist Church. The past several years have flown by as John has worked in many facets of the ministry. His current focus is with the teens. He teaches Jr. High Bible in the Christian school, coaches the girls’ basketball and volleyball teams, and is an assistant coach on the boys’ soccer team. He also teaches Jr. High and Sr. High Sunday School, heads up the Wednesday night teen program, Truth For Youth, and organizes the youth activities. Christina has coached girls’ volleyball, taught art classes, and been the editor for the school yearbook for the past nine years. They have been married eighteen years and are the proud parents of twins.
John’s passion is that the young people of Harvest Hills Baptist Church will cultivate a lifelong love for our Savior and serve Him faithfully with all their hearts. One of his favorite verses for ministry is II Timothy 2:21 “… he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” This verse reminds every Christian that we are to be focused on serving the Lord diligently with a pure life.