Faith and music have been a key part of Lisa and John Coleman’s lives. On Sunday, June 7, First Baptist Church of Pleasanton honored the Pleasanton couple for their 40 years of ministry.
Born and raised in Gettysburg, Penn., John graduated from Gardner- Webb University in North Carolina and then Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth in 1979. He currently serves as the Minister of Music and Education at FBC Pleasanton, with his wife by his side.
Lisa was adopted in Germany and brought to the United States when she was 11 days old. She grew up in Lampasas and her father served in the military. Her father later became a pastor, so the family moved to Weatherford in North Texas when she was in high school.
The Colemans married in 1978 and moved to Pleasanton in 1980, which they have called home ever since.
A lifelong educator, Lisa taught in Peaster (near Weatherford) for five years and later at Pleasanton ISD for 32 years.
What is unique for the Colemans is that most ministers are required to move often. Lisa and John have stayed at First Baptist Church their full 40 years, so their children never had to move.
“It’s kind of like being in the military. So that was a real blessing. They got to grow up here and graduate here,” said John.
Their three children all work in education: Landon served in the Marines and is now a teacher and coach residing in Lockhart, Jamie is a teacher and coach in San Marcos and Michael works in Information Technology at Bryan ISD.
As the Minister of Music and Education at FBC, John is in charge of the worship music and directs the choir. The choir performed their Easter Cantata the first Sunday of June, at the service honoring the Colemans. John’s other areas of responsibilities include Sunday School, discipleship and the Awanas group. He directed the Pre-Easter Retreat at Alto Frio, the Baptist encampment in Leakey, for over 30 years. John now serves on the Alto Frio Board of Trustees.
“He does chapel for the Child Development Center with lots of kids on Wednesdays. He does a lot behind the scenes,” said Lisa.
Now retired from Pleas- anton ISD, Lisa taught music, served as parent liaison for the district and also counseled at the high school.
She is involved with the Awanas Club and the Singing Women of South Texas, while John has been a member of the Singing Men of South Texas for 40 years. Both play the piano.
Among his favorite hymns, John said, are “Amazing Grace” and “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” One of Lisa’s favorites is “In the Garden” which she and the late Leigh Ann Anderson used to perform.
Their favorite Bible verse is Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.”
One of the challenges of working in music ministry, explained John, is that there are many different styles of worship music. He has to find the right balance and blend, as the older church members like the traditional music and the younger ones often like the newer music.
“He does a good job and brings them together,” Lisa said.
Each year the church performs musicals during Christmas and Easter. They were going to per- form a children’s musical this year, but the coronavirus changed that.
FBC Pleasanton, just like churches nationwide, first closed its doors for inperson worship and other campus meetings in March, following the rise in coronavirus cases. The church had to learn to adjust, holding worship services online. John, Lisa and a small group would meet to sing, sharing their praise on Facebook Live, with the help of Jeremy Ginn.
The church resumed oncampus services in mid- May and as of press time on Tuesday, they plan to continue in-person Sunday worship. However, online worship options continue via Facebook, YouTube and through their website: fbcpleasanton.org.
“We’ve had a lot that have come back, but we still have some people that are home. We also did Sunday School on Zoom for the first time. They have done Zoom for awhile, but we just started with the children. That was challenging because it was so different,” said Lisa.
Regarding whether or not the many recent worldwide events have brought people closer to God, John spoke on how the year started out normal.
“I think it’s all come at us so fast that we’re still trying to figure out what role we have to play in finding a solution,” said John. “I think most people want to help, they want to be part of the solution. They just need to find how to do it in the most positive way and not add to the confusion outside.”
Lisa and John advise others to think positive and encourage others.
“I think eventually the solution is going to be everybody working together,” said John.
“Some people turn to God and God uses them and I think that’s what God wants us to do. People that come to our church, their desire is to help and to serve,” John added.
Over the years, they have seen some changes, with six pastors at FBC Pleasanton. The most recent is Darrell Sullivan, who filled the position after Wade Rush.
As for hobbies, John enjoys music, bike riding, camping and fishing. Lisa enjoys singing and scrapbooking.
John and Lisa recently sang with the Singing Men and Singing Women of South Texas at the Alto Frio’s 100-year anniversary celebration.
At the June 7 service honoring the couple, the church presented them with a quilt featuring the families of the church, made by Pat Cox and Carole Shipley. Two benches with the Coleman’s names donated by the church will grace the courtyard.
Neva Beeter and her sisters also presented John with soda cans arranged as choir singers, complete with a director, of course. A scholarship was also started in their name, with PHS graduate Madelyn Bird as the first recipient.