Pastors and Staff

Phil Nelson


Phil has been the pastor of Lakeland since July 2006.  He and his wife, Melanie, have been married since December of 1979.  They have six children and nine grandchildren.  You can often find Phil on campus at SIU engaging with students and faculty about the claims of Christ.

Phil thinks he is good at telling jokes, but many at Lakeland have a different view. You will have to make up your own mind when you come for a visit. Pastor Phil met Christ as his savior in September of 1975 on the campus of SIU.  For the past forty years he has been actively engaged in sharing Christ both here in Carbondale and around the world.

Phil’s likes and hobbies are the following: sharing Christ with students, enjoying time with his wife, Melanie and their children and grandchildren, his church family and friends, coffee, hiking, kayaking, gardening and reading.

“If you are hungry to see how the Bible points you to Christ join us sometime soon.”

Jacob McPheron

Worship & Tech Pastor

Jacob began serving as our Worship & Tech Pastor in January 2022. He and his wife Emmalee have been married seven years and reside in Buncombe, IL with their three children; Jasey, Micaiah, & Ellieana. 

Jacob gave his life to Christ at a revival service in October 2005 and surrendered to ministry at age 19. He met his wife Emmalee at University of the Cumberlands while studying Missions & Ministry. Their journey in serving God has ranged from full-time worship and youth ministry, to evangelism, overseas mission opportunities, and starting a faith-based coffee company, Walk the Globe Coffee. Jacob and Emmalee believe authentic community and serving others are the greatest ways they can share God’s love and grace. God has placed a call in their hearts to serve here in Carbondale to minister to individuals and families who are in desperate need of a Savior. 

Jacob loves sharing the hope of Jesus wherever he can. He enjoys Kentucky basketball, Lord of the Rings, pour-over coffee, bass fishing, being outdoors, & movie nights with his family.

You can contact Jacob at:

Carolyn McDaniel

Office Manager

Carolyn handles all of our administrative functions in our office. She is the backbone of most of the things that we do here at Lakeland, meaning most things would fall apart without her. Although she grew up in Carbondale, many would consider her a true Mississippian. Carolyn has been here for around 8 years and has been a big part of Lakeland. She enjoys spending time with her pit bull, “Bulldog.”

Phone: (618) 529-4906

Vicki Willis


Vicki has been our custodian for approximately 8 years and has been known to keep our campus spotless! She has two sons, one of which is a radio personality out of Cape Girardeau, DJ Lil’ Will (Ian Willis). Vicki has been a great asset to Lakeland as the one who does the ‘dirty work’ and keeps everything looking nice.