In the Beginning
Daniel Estes Henderson (1950–2004) was the man with the vision for Lighthouse Ministries. When he talked to Lexington’s addicts and homeless, they listened. Some even turned their lives around. We lost Dan to sickness in 2004, but his legacy and spirit will remain with us forever.
In the early 1990’s, Dan and Tay Henderson began their ministry at The Salvation Army. Before long, they opened Lighthouse Ministries, where they ministered to the homeless, poor, addicted, and anyone that God sent their way who had a need they could meet.
Governed by a board of directors, Lighthouse Ministries operates solely via tax-deductible contributions from caring individuals, businesses, and churches. Initially opened as a ministry, the vision quickly expanded to include residential homes for adults in addiction to regain their footing within society. For years, Nehemiah House provided Christ-centered training to men in recovery. Today, the Rachel House provides safe living for women in transition from addiction.
At the core of each ministry is the heartfelt desire to see “changed lives for a lifetime”. All of our programs operate without fees.
In the beginning
The Lighthouse Ministries’ Nehemiah House was the vision of Teen Challenge graduate Dan Henderson and his wife Tay. Dan passed away in 2004, but the Nehemiah House continues under Tay’s leadership as the Executive Director. The Nehemiah House provides stable and safe temporary housing for men who enter the available programs. Through this ministry, the Nehemiah House continues to conform to Dan’s vision of a safe environment for men to regain their footing within society.
Governed by a board of directors, The Lighthouse is located in Lexington, Kentucky and operates solely via tax-deductible contributions from caring individuals, corporate businesses, and missions minded churches. Initiated on March 5, 1993 as a ministry to feed the homeless, poor, and needy of Lexington and its environs, the vision of The Lighthouse expanded in May, 1994 to include residential homes providing bible based training in response to individual needs. There are three distinct operations included in the mission; each operates without fees.
The first response to the need of ministry is to feed hot meals to the hungry, poor, and needy of the local communities. This program provides a platform to share God’s love in word, deed, and truth as well as yielding a resource center through which potential individuals can be referred to the residential homes of The Lighthouse and/or to local churches that are equipped to help.
The second response to the need of ministry is The Nehemiah House, a crisis induction home for men of at least 18 years of age. Designed for men with life-controlling problems, this 6-12 month program is comprised of a Christ-centered curriculum structured to assist in developing a disciplined life-style based on God’s word and prayer. Upon graduation, these men may advance to The Nehemiah House Job Program, where they are accorded assistance with job placement while continuing to live in the residence for up to ninety days in a phase-out program. Should the imposition of disciplinary action require a resident to leave the home, the possibility of re-entry after a period of thirty days is determined by staff following careful consideration and prayer.
The third response to the need of ministry is the Rachel House, a house of refuge for women (and their children) who are suffering from the anguish of abuse, the oppression of poverty, or the torment of life-controlling problems. Meeting these needs with love and understanding in a strictly confidential environment, this residence provides timely crisis management, a Bible institute, and a training center for those who surrender their lives and their circumstances to God.
At the core of each ministry of The Lighthouse is the heartfelt desire to see “changed lives for a lifetime”.
Valerie “Tay” Henderson
I was born in the housing projects in New Albany, Indiana into a family of 16 children. My motto in life was to try everything at least once. By the time I was 18 I had pretty much done just that – legal, illegal, destructive and not – I had tried most everything put in front of me, but inside I was miserable. My brother and a close family friend led me to Christ, and on June 5, 1974, I cried out to God to forgive my sins and he gave me a new life. In the early 90’s, my husband, Dan and I started going to The Salvation Army with our ministry program. Just when we were making plans for the opening of The Nehemiah House, a residence for men in the life transition training program, Dan got sick. His wonderful and amazing life ended on January 4, 2004. My time as an Insurance Consultant was over and it was time to take over the ministry and keep it going. Dan would be proud to see the vision God gave him carried out. I am attending City Vision College where I will soon receive a certificate in Non-Profit Management, and plan to continue to attend until I receive a Bachelor’s Degree. I always say, “Do what God tells you, and don’t do anything else until God tells you”.
I was born and raised in Central Kentucky. Prior to accepting this position, I was the Assistant Aquatics Director at Clark County Parks & Recreation. One of my passions is volleyball, which I take full advantage of any chance I get, whether that be playing or coaching. Since I was young I’ve always had a heart of service with a strong desire to help people, but wasn’t exactly sure where I “fit in” in ministry. Through the years, the Lord has opened doors in areas I would have never thought of pursuing. I’ve learned the best things in life truly do come when we least expect them.
I first came to Lighthouse a little over three years ago as an evening dinner volunteer for Dining with Dignity—originally serving one or two nights a week, and eventually showing up almost nightly. I fell in love with the outreach of Lighthouse in the community and knew I wanted to contribute in a greater way. Now being the coordinator of lunch volunteers, food donations, and the Michael’s Feet shoe ministry (among many other things), it’s easy to say that I do what I love and love what I do.
Stephanie Sparks Werne
Dining with Dignity Director
I am originally from Stanton, Kentucky but have lived in the Central Kentucky area for over 30 years. I am married to the love of my life, Doug, who I met while he was volunteering at the Lighthouse. I was introduced to Lighthouse Ministries in 2004 and quickly became involved with the ministry and served as a Board Member from 2005-2017. Through difficult life experiences, I developed a heart for hurting people and desire to see others experience the same healing and wholeness that I have been given by God through the Blood of Jesus.
I am a graduate of Asbury University and a member of Southland Christian Church. I have also been the Event Coordinator for our Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners since the beginning of having them. Doug and I began developing a format for the Dining with Dignity program in fall of 2015 and opened doors for the program to begin in January 2016. The program began serving three nights a week and has grown to serving seven nights per week.
I was born in Indiana and raised in Los Angeles. At the end of 2014, I had just gotten into some trouble and lost a good job. Ms. Tay was blessed enough to give me a job, and I’ve been working here ever since. I love getting to meet new people and new friends all the time–not just other employees and volunteers, but the people we serve too. I understand their struggles and what they’re going through. It’s nice to work somewhere and feel good about the job that you’re doing. It’s been a blessing to work here and be a part of the community in this way.
Marty Lautner, Chair since 2013
Dave Curtis, since 2013
Melissa Dickey, since 2017
John Garen, since 2013
Mary Ann McMurry, since 2005
Valerie “Tay” Henderson