It all began in 1976. Connie and I met while attending Christ for the Nations Institute, a non-denominational Bible College in Dallas, Texas. After getting married and a short missions-stint in England, some friends invited Connie and I in 1983 to help with a church plant in a converted home on Highway 287, which at that time ran right through the heart of Midlothian.
We reluctantly accepted the invitation, visiting this fledgling fellowship with our two small children. New friendships were formed and we worked alongside some wonderful families who had the vision to be a “Light on a Hill”, to shine God’s love throughout Ellis County and beyond. The tiny church grew, and we grew in our faith and in ministry experience.
In 1993, God made it clear that we should return to England to help dear friends with a Bible College. After three years of successful and fulfilling service there, God called us back to Texas. By this time, the church in Midlothian had grown and moved to the corner of Highway 67 and 9th Street, occupying a former shopping center.
It was about this time that we weathered some storms as a church and there was a leadership change. God released us to attend and serve Mountain Creek Community Church in South Dallas, under the capable pastoral leadership of Robert and JoAn Summers. We made many more friendships, uniting in Spirit and heart with the folks of Mountain Creek.
We honestly had no inclinations of returning to Midlothian, but while traveling to Europe in 1999, God gave me a vision of the Midlothian church property, and I saw the parking lot filled with people, joyfully engaging with each other in a common purpose. I saw the faces. I saw life in every corner. Something within me was stirred to return and serve.
I immediately contacted the advisory board, made up of Pastor Robert Summers, Prophet Mary Ann Brown, and Dr. Jim Mackey, whom I consider to be a modern-day apostle. The board convened and agreed that I should come back to Midlothian and serve as pastor, alongside Glen Harding, who had been appointed to that role a couple of years prior. Glen subsequently moved on and, in 2000, I felt God prompting me to resign my position as the office manager of a medical practice and serve full-time as Lead Pastor at the church in Midlothian.
Several families from Mountain Creek Community Church came to help and joined with some of the charter members from the initial Midlothian church plant, as well as several former CFNI and SAGU students. The Lighthouse came into being.
We quickly expanded the ministry to include a Friday and Saturday night youth outreach, which eventually became Lighthouse Coffee Bar. There were major renovations to the shopping center, now church building. In 2007, the pawnshop in front of the church came up for sale, and we were able to purchase it, renovating the structure to become the new home of Lighthouse Coffee. The building next door also came up for sale, and Lighthouse Healing Center was birthed, a place for counseling, prayer, and ministry to body, soul, and spirit.
Devastation & Rebuilding
In October of 2019, a tornado formed right over our property and devastated all three of our buildings. The structure worst hit was what we called The Venue, part of the former shopping center where we had held many youth concerts and church fellowship events. The entire building was rendered inoperable. The Coffee Bar was least damaged and re-opened in a couple of days. The Healing Center opened back up in early 2020, and we expect our main building to be finished in the Fall of 2020.
The Lighthouse Family remains strong. We have met in the patio of the Coffee Bar, at a city park, at J.A. Vitovsky Elementary School, in many homes as Connect Groups, and, during the COVID-19 pandemic, online via live-stream.
Throughout all these changes, we are convinced God has called us to be a Light to the Nations (Isaiah 49:6). We have seen the vision that I received in 1999 fulfilled, with life spilling from our parking lot to the neighborhood, to the surrounding counties, across the border to Mexico, and around the world.
We have a passion for worshiping God in “Spirit and Truth” (John 4:24) and for making disciples according to the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:19.
We believe that the Lighthouse will shine for years to come, restoring families and guiding souls to the safe harbor of God’s love.
- Pastor Dan Cooper