We are a small church with a lot of staff, since we are fortunate to have a seminary nearby that provides a steady stream of qualified talent. If you would like to contact one of our people, please mention them by name and email us at

Lead Pastor

Michael Thompson

  Send Email  •  (816)353-5121

As of October 2020  Pastor Deanna Hayden, who had been with us 10 years, has been called away with her family,  to a new ministry in New Zealand. Going forward,  we have the interim leadership of Pastor Michael Thompson. Pastor Michael will be with us while we perform a pastoral search for a permanent leader to lead us into the foreseeable future. Be watching here for details on Michael's journey of faith and what we can watch for, going forward.

Worship Leader

Mackenzie Wood

  Send Email  •  (816)585-8946

Mackenzie has been serving Southwood church as the worship leader since 2014 . She has been involved in music and worship ministry since childhood and loves to praise God through music. Originally from the Southwest (San Diego, CA, and Gilbert, AZ) she came to Kansas City to attend graduate school at UMKC. While earning her Master’s in Music Composition she began leading worship at the True Light Church of the Nazarene and felt God leading her to pursue vocational ministry. She still uses her skills as a composer to arrange music for various instrumentalists in the congregation and to compose original songs for the church. She has a passion for worship lyrics that are deep, true, and formative. In addition to her work at the church, Mackenzie also teaches music lessons and works as a health coach. She and her husband Bob have two daughters, Evelee and Abigail. 

Discipleship Pastor

Katie Donaldson

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Discipleship Pastor and Office Mananger

I have been a minister for close to a decade now and have always sought to bring a voice to the marginalized. My family includes my loving partner John and adorable baby Sam. We also have our pet babies which include our dog Annie, cat Toni, fish Fiona, and chickens. I have my BA in Sociology from Point Loma Nazarene University and MA of Divinity with an emphasis in cross-cultural ministry from Nazarene Theological Seminary. I am a born and raised Californian, but my heart is to continually grow as a minister in the Lord Jesus Christ which brought me out to Kansas City to attend seminary. Southwood is where I have been able to serve the community and grow. I find purpose in preaching the Word, caring for people, and welcoming everyone to join in the mission of God that is here and now.

Young Adult Pastor

Dakota Vails

  Send Email  •  (208)965-4792

My passion is serving God and serving others. To me the Gospel begins and ends with the greatest commandment, To love God and to love others (Mark 12:29). That is why, since my first week at Southwood five years ago, I felt like this church was home. I have served in various roles in my time here. I have been on the board as well as serving duel roles in hospitality and young adult ministry. Some of my roles here at Southwood consist of leading our young adult Sunday School, singing on the worship team, maintaining our hospitality table, and holding young adult gatherings at my home. I am married to Bailey and we have two amazing kids -- Siena Lynn and Jamison Roger. I have my BA in Christian Ministry from Northwest Nazarene University and I currently attend Nazarene Theological Seminary where I am studying for my MDIV. I am constantly amazed by the amazing people that attend Southwood and will never forget the amazing love and hospitality that I have experienced from week one. For this reason, I am proud to be able to serve here and call Southwood home. 

Youth Pastors

Mary Elizabeth and Tyler Waters-Smith

Mary Elizabeth and Tyler met at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, TN, where they each received degrees in Intercultural Studies. Tyler grew up in Georgia before heading to Nashville to answer God’s call on his life to ministry. During his time at Trevecca, he became passionate about God’s work in the local church and has continually sought to be faithful to that calling. Tyler is working towards a Master of Divinity degree at Nazarene Theological Seminary. Mary Elizabeth remains passionate about cross cultural and outreach ministry. She has spent her time in higher education developing her skills in listening and understanding others as she prepares for her call to ministry. She continues her education at Nazarene Theological Seminary working towards a Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree. Mary Elizabeth and Tyler understand their call to be a partnership in ministry and life and are learning what that looks like. They have been the youth pastors at Southwood since September 2018 and are passionate about guiding Southwood’s teens to grow in their own faith and chose to follow Jesus into the world.

Children's Pastor

Joseph Blissett

Joseph is a district-licensed minister of the Church of the Nazarene on the South Arkansas District. Joseph is currently enrolled at Nazarene Theological Seminary in the Master of Divinity Program. He and his wife Celeste started attending Southwood in 2017 when they moved to Kansas City. Joseph and Celeste have been married four years, and they had baby girl, Crystabel, in January 2020. Joseph values teaching and preaching, and he is discerning God’s call towards a pastor or missionary.

  December 2020  
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