Welcome to the very first edition of “Friend Friday”. We have yet to come up with a good subtitle or tag for this weekly post (…”an internet interview with a view”, or maybe “weekend thoughts from people that we like”) Anyway, we do hope this will be an appreciated and helpful addition to our blog that could get you going in the right direction for the weekend.
Friend Friday will be a 4-5 question interview with one of our friends who we admire and respect. We have gotten to know a lot of good people in all of our travels and know that even though they may not be famous or well known, they have wisdom from which we all can learn. As a guinea pig, I chose my pastor, Bro. Dennis Kirk. He is the pastor of Community Baptist Church in Lenoir City, TN and among other things wrote a tract entitled, “Gutters to Grace”. It has been widely distributed and used of the Lord greatly.
Grab your cup of coffee and hear what my pastor and friend has to share this Friday.
- Me: Most of the time in the US when we hear about churches going through significant changes, we hear about a pastor leaving for one reason or another or about a church split that takes place. Yet, you were blessed to be used of the Lord to oversee a church merger, something that is almost unheard of today. Can you tell us a little bit about how the Lord worked all of that out, including both the blessings and challenges that took place?
Pastor Kirk: Our church merger was definitely different. I believe that there are many churches that would greatly benefit from doing the same thing. The merger of Southeast Baptist Church and Community Baptist Church came about because there was a group of people at both churches that was more concerned about God’s Work than their own personal interest. God was stirring the hearts of both of the congregations at the same time and both churches had people that were willing to following His leading. The biggest challenge that we faced was having enough rooms for all the different classes and people. I would definitely call this a “good problem.”
- Me: Not every church has the blessing of having a multi-lingual ministry (in this case the Spanish and English departments). Have you ever had to battle against stereo-types with these two ministries? What advice would you give to a pastor who is considering starting a Spanish speaking outreach ministry?
Pastor Kirk: All of us know that illegal immigration is a hot topic in America right now. We have people in our church that love their country deeply, including myself. Over the past few months the Lord has led me to preach several times on the topics of race, the love of God, loving others, and other sermons along this same line. We develop our stereo-type feelings from our upbringings and the media that we lend our ears to, not from the Word of God. I have greatly tried to teach and admonish our people to have a Biblical worldview. To any pastor that is considering starting a Spanish speaking ministry I would say that the need is great. Hispanics, whether legal or illegal, are here and they are not going away. They are not the enemy, they are the mission field brought to our doorstep. When they get saved, they really get saved. Church becomes the central focus of their lives. There is no doubt that God is doing something in the Spanish community in America and around the world.
- Me: A lot of people think that pastors (who aren’t bi-vocational) work only Sundays and Wednesdays. I know that not to be the case with you. Being essentially “on call” 24/7, how do you balance the needs of your family versus the call of the ministry?
Pastor Kirk: Well, let me say that lately I have come to believe more and more that it must be family first. God established the institution of the family before He did the church. I involve my family in the ministry, but I am careful to make it fun for them. We go to an assisted living home every Friday, but my children know that we are going out for Icees when we leave. My son and I often visit a bus route on Saturday, but somewhere during our time we stop at Taco Bell. I can’t really say how I balance the needs of the family and the ministry, but I can say that I remind myself often that I am a husband and a “dad” before I’m a preacher and a pastor. My oldest daughter is leaving for college in four days. I’m not wishing that I would have taken her soul-winning more, but I sure wish I would have taken her to the park to play more often. The greatest work that any pastor will ever do is his “HOMEwork.”
- Me: Tell us a little bit about the church’s “literature” program. If I’m not mistaken, you write the literature used in Sunday School and the same lesson is taught in all the different classes. How has that helped the church grow together, on both the congregational and family level?
Pastor Kirk: I am a strong believer that repetition is the mother of learning. I do write the Sunday School lessons for our church and they are taught in Sunday School, preached in Children’s Church and reviewed during Wednesday’s Bible Hour. Our goal is to get everyone on the same page. But this can only be successful if the lessons are reinforced in the home. I believe that parents should talk to their children about Sunday School, Children’s Church, etc. This concept has greatly helped the families who have been willing to see the importance of their children learning the Bible. Not only the family level, but any church is going to be strengthened when it goes through the Bible together.
Once again, I want to say thank you to Bro. Kirk for taking the time to participate in Friend Friday. He truly has been a friend to us. I would recommend his blog to you with a link or large button on the sidebar, but sadly, he doesn’t have one. You’ll have to get by on this interview or future guest appearances that he may make, here. If you find yourself in between Knoxville and Chattanooga, I’d highly recommend stopping by Community Baptist Church, especially on a Sunday.
Have a suggestion about Friend Friday? The comment section is open.