Rev. Dr. Mark Johnson

Senior Pastor

Mark has been the Senior Pastor at Central Baptist Church since 2005. With experience from churches from Louisville to Lexington, Mark is a leader for social justice and progressive change within Baptist congregations and other Christian circles. He has degrees from the University of Kentucky (1981), the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville (1984) and the Lexington Theological Seminary (2002). He and Donna are a blended family of grown children and two grandchildren. Mark is an adjunct professor with the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky and serves on the Executive Board of the Kentucky Council of Churches and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Kentucky. He enjoys cycling, UK athletics, the Arts and travel, but is mostly happy with a quiet evening at home, an open book and one of Kentucky’s special beverages.


Rev. Charles Conkin

Associate Pastor

Charles is the Associate Pastor of Central Baptist Church. Charles has been a part of the pastoral staff since 2013. He brings a fresh perspective to the issues of many progressive Baptist congregations. Charles finished his Master of Divinity degree from Truett Seminary at Baylor University in 2008. He then served as Minister to Youth at Lake Shore Baptist Church in Waco, TX for several years before coming home to the bluegrass. He enjoys cycling, cooking and keeping up with pop-culture, but usually spend most of his days chasing his two year old daughter, Evelyn.


Lois Birdwell

Music Director

A native of Carrier Mills in Southern Illinois, Ms. Birdwell grew up in the First Baptist Church where her father was the Choir Director.  She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Union University (TN) and Master's Degree in music from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Lois has taught school music at all levels, from elementary to middle school, high school and college. 

Lois moved to Kentucky in 1991 to be closer to her parents in southern Illinois and developed a very large and active private piano studio during that time.  She began teaching music in Kentucky public schools in 2000 and most recently served as Choral Director and General Music teacher at Beaumont Middle School in Lexington.

Since, 1987, Lois has accompanied and directed church music in Baptist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, and Christian / Disciples of Christ churches in various locations.

She resides in Lexington with her husband Dr. John Cody Birdwell, who is the Director of Bands for the University of Kentucky. She has two grown children, Jonathan and Kelly, and a stepdaughter Maire, who are all three very good musicians.


Aaron Austin

Associate Pastor of Missions & Outreach

From writing songs for worship to designing websites and producing podcasts, Aaron enjoys any opportunity to be creative. He graduated with a Master of Divinity from Baptist Seminary of Kentucky in 2008. He has served as Worship Leader at Calvary Baptist Church in Lexington, KY, Worship Pastor at Christ Covenant North in Polkville, NC, and Minister to Youth & College Students at First Baptist Church in Williamsburg, KY.  In addition to his ministry jobs, Aaron has worked in a variety of settings, from a university ESL program to tech startups.  He also currently works as a UX Engineer for Procusus, a low-code technology platform.  He and Melissa live in Richmond, KY with their two children, Alex and Jake, and their cats Ace and Dot.  He's most at home on the back porch writing songs, stories, poems or alliterative grocery lists.


Mark DeAlba


Thomas Lyons


Thomas Lyons is the custodian at Central Baptist Church. He is in charge of keeping our building and facilities in clean working order. He has been part of the CBC staff for 18 years. Thomas is also very talented as an artist and enjoys building and flying modular aircraft. 

Central Baptist Church