Our Pastor: Vern Koehlinger

About Our Pastor

Vernon Koehlinger began his time of service as our pastor on March 1, 2016. A life-long Lutheran and native of Indiana, Pastor Vern attended a Lutheran elementary and high school in Fort Wayne. He then went on to Purdue University where he graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering.

His first job after college was with Amoco Chemicals Corporation where he worked at a chemical production plant south of Houston, Texas. There he met and married his wife Marie and became very active at his church, primarily in the areas of youth and music. He was also a regular participant in various Bible study groups there.

During that time God led him to consider a career change, and he and Marie, with the counsel of numerous friends and family, made the decision to enroll at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. That four-year program was challenging but prepared him to begin ministry as a pastor. During those years he and Marie were blessed with two sons, and a third was born just a few months after he began his ministry in his first congregation.

Pastor Vern served two congregations in the St. Louis area as a full-time pastor and then worked at Stephen Ministries, an inter-denominational Christian training organization. He was also able to serve as an interim pastor in two different congregations. 

God’s timing is perfect, right? In 2015 Living Water was actively seeking a pastor to rejuvenate the congregation and help it to be a more active presence in the Buckeye area. It was at that same time that Pastor Vern made it known that he was very interested in serving a church in the Phoenix area so that he and Marie would have good reason to move closer to two of their sons who lived in Southern California. The result of those decisions was that Living Water called Pastor Vern; he accepted the call; and he’s now serving as our pastor.

He and Marie have three sons and five grandchildren.  

Pastor Vern has a number of favorite Bible passages. If he had to narrow it down to just one selection, he would point to Ephesians 2:8, 9: “By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”