Oak Grove—Kyle Shearin is pastor of preaching and vision for Faith Family Church in Oak Grove, the host town to Fort Campbell Army Post, which is one of our nation’s largest military installations. I asked Pastor Shearin about some of the joys of ministering to military families.
Pastor Kyle assumed responsibilities as pastor after the founding pastor of Faith Family, Dan Hunt, passed away. The church was started in cooperation with the Kentucky Baptist Convention, Christian County Baptist Association, and the support of local churches,
Shearin shared one of the joys is the youthfulness of the military congregation.
“Our church is very young. We have lots of young couples with lots of little kids! They take the command to ‘be fruitful and multiply’ seriously,” Pastor Shearin said.
“Most churches have a goal to get younger; we are constantly attempting to get older,” he continued. “We think it’s important to have multi-generational discipleship.”
Another benefit to serving near a military installation is the diversity of the people.
“Our church is very ethnically diverse,” Shearin said, “We believe the church on earth should look like the church in heaven—diverse ethnicities and backgrounds.”
A third benefit of serving near a military installation, he noted, is the missionary DNA of the church.
“God will not allow us to build our kingdom–only His. With the majority of our church being young military couples who pick up and move when they receive orders, our families seem to have in their DNA to be Great Commission Christians,” he said.
While ministering in a military community has a great upside, it is not without its challenges. Pastor Shearin explained, “Because of the military, we lose 35 percent of our congregation every year. We have seen over 100 people move in a 12-month period. Every three years, we have a brand-new church.”
In the short time Shearin and his family have been at Faith Family, they have seen attendance grow from one service with about 35 people into two morning services. He preaches verse-by-verse through books of the Bible and believes the Lord will build His church.
“We truly believe you can build a crowd around a personality, but you can only build a church on the Word,” Shearin said.
When asked how he leads Faith Family to reach people in a diverse community, he said, “Tony Merida says, ‘Most gospel ministry involves ordinary people doing ordinary things with gospel intentionality.’ We need an ordinary movement of people who live on mission in the rhythms of everyday life. This is the driving force behind our church.”
Elaborating on the church’s approach to reach new people, he said, “Our church evangelism strategy consists of one word–hospitality. When Jesus did evangelism, he did it around a table. We encourage our people to do the same.
“We frequently ask our people, ‘When is the last time a non-Christian has sat at your dinner table?’” he shared. “We don’t ask this question to arouse guilt. We think guilt is a poor motivator. Grace is much better.
“Once we see that Jesus pulled up a seat for us at His table,” he added, “we will practice open handed hospitality to those in our community.”
How can Kentucky Baptists pray for Faith Family Church? Shearin listed the following requests:
- Pray for financial resources to help them build. “We are in the process of raising funds for a new building. We are doing it in three debt-free phases: Phase 1—$125,000 (18,000 raised); Phase 2—$115,000 (already raised!); Phase 3—$80,000.”
- Pray about coming to help them reach soldiers and their families with the gospel. “If you are retired, pray about spending a few months in Oak Grove. We need the wisdom that comes from many years of walking with the Lord.”
- Pray for them to be effective in their mission. “Pray that we will make Jesus famous in our city.”
Faith Family Church is strategically placed to reach many of our nation’s finest with the good news of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Please join in praying for them, and the other Baptist churches in the Oak Grove community, that they will experience a great spiritual harvest. (WR)