For the past 25 years, I have served as pastor of Saloma Baptist Church located about five miles north of Campbellsville, Kentucky. My initial sermon at SBC was the first Sunday in 1994, and the previous Sunday I had completed a successful six-year tenure at another Baptist congregation in a nearby Baptist association. My stated intention was that I was taking a break from pastoral ministry and would be available for pulpit supply and possibly short-term interim pastorates. I had no thought of becoming pastor at Saloma as I made that first visit to preach more than 25 years ago.
After a Sunday or two, Deacon Larry Marcum approached me about becoming the interim pastor. After speaking to my wife and spending some time in prayer, and having enjoyed my initial contact with the members there, I agreed to become the interim pastor with the understanding that the search for a pastor would continue. Within a few weeks, Deacon Marcum approached and asked me if I would consider a call to serve as the pastor of Saloma Baptist Church. Although I was still reluctant, I agreed to enter into a time of prayer and consideration. As He often does, God surprised me when He led me to become the pastor of SBC, and I am now beginning my 26th years as pastor of a congregation and fellowship of believers in Jesus Christ who are faithful to the calling that God has placed before us.
God has blessed our years together. During our years together, I have had the opportunity, through the leadership of the Holy Spirit, to minister to a number of people and have been involved in all phases of their lives. I have celebrated with families in the birth of babies born who are now young adults and who now have children of their own. I have been blessed to baptize many believers into the fellowship of the church and to hear their professions of faith, to preside at weddings in their families and to stand at the bedside of many who have been sick. God has used me to offer words of comfort to those whose loved ones have passed into eternity. Many have turned to me with the heartache of daily living and the struggles of family life – others have rejoiced in living in the hope of Jesus Christ.
We have participated in building expansions and facility upgrades, purchase of new musical instruments, purchase of additional land, implementation of a ministry team model, updated our church constitution and bylaws, coordinated Green River Lake Ministry for 23 years, funded 14 water wells in Zambia, provided 40-50% of our budget in support of missions for the past 20 years, provided multigenerational/intergenerational ministry opportunities and involved our children and youth in the full life of the church, provided directed financial assistance to numerous national and international mission trips involving our church members and others outside our church, moved beyond the four walls of the church building into the community in doing ministry and mission, engaged in multicultural and reconciliation ministry by engaging with and joining African American and Hispanic congregations and ministry organizations, become one of the strongest church supporters of Christian higher education at Campbellsville University, adopted a CU sports team (bass fishing team), participate regularly in several outreach events in the community, support a wide array of Christian ministries and missions with a relatively equal level of support for local-state, national, and international levels, place great emphasis on Christian education (Sunday School, topical Bible studies, Vacation Bible School, etc.), provide direct support for Partners in Development (missions work of Lonnie and Fran Turner in Zambia with support of a number of activities there including the aforementioned water wells), etc.
I am thankful for the 25 years that God has blessed our pastoral ministry at Saloma Baptist Church. I praise God for the loving support of my wife, Cathy, and my family. The deacons and members of Saloma Baptist Church have been, and remain, very support and very active in ministry and mission. And as we move into the future, I pray that we will remain committed to the main thing as we “minister to our community and our world in the name of Jesus Christ…” I’m excited about what lies ahead in our work together at Saloma Baptist Church and in cooperation with the other Baptist churches, and churches of other denominations, as we meet the challenges of each day and seize the opportunities for ministry that lie before us. May we remain committed to the cross and resurrection and transforming power of Jesus Christ! May we share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with all with whom we come in contact and may we minister to the “least of these” in the name of Jesus Christ!