“And He gave… the Pastor … to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11, 12
I’ll never forget the first time I heard the name KEITH LEWIS. I was at the BMA of Arkansas meeting in Conway, AR. in 2007. It was kind of random. I was killing time, didn’t have anyone to hang out with, so I was roaming the halls at Central Baptist College. Then it happened. I found myself privy to a negative conversation being held about Keith Lewis. At the time he was a state missionary for the BMA of Arkansas. The one pastor says to the other that he didn’t feel the mission at Ward would “make it” and he wondered why they got someone like Lewis to run the show there. Basically he contended that because Keith has a quiet personality that he lacked the dynamic needed to grow a church plant to organizing and being successful. He compared him to another missionary who had zeal and a great persona. Honestly… it got me irritated.
I wanted to jump into the conversation and say “Listen, I don’t know this Keith fella, but a church isn’t grown by any ones personality and speaking dynamics. It’s grown by the Word of God and the power of His Spirit!” I refrained myself and went into the next session ruffled. Yet it was a God moment for me. I began to feel compelled to get to know him. The thought crossed my mind that the Devil (that LIAR!) was discrediting him and attacking him. Surely this guy needed prayer and support… a friend that wouldn’t shake his hand in the hallway then talk about him behind his back. I concluded that the man was jealous. I found myself lecturing the guy “There’s no room for jealousy in the ministry! How could you stand out there and be a back bitter? He probably didn’t baptize but 5 at his church last year” I said to myself. Ha … don’t laugh I know you talk to yourself too.
In that session for a while I tuned out the speaker, and felt the Holy Spirit simply prompting me that it was meant that I hear that conversation. And indeed it was. I made it my business as the Pastor at Calvary at the time to find out about him… and I did. I held a meeting with I.V. Height in which he thoroughly informed me about the work in Ward and Keith himself. I followed his reports in the “Trumpet”. My heart grew excited and I ended up leading Calvary to support him at a later time.
In 2009, Keith called me. As the director of the camp in the BMA of Mt Calvary, it fell to his duty to contact me about preaching the camp. It was at that camp that God gave us a closer relationship. I grew to love him, Kellie and their two kids Shelby & Zack. Through the years I have found that he is a solid family man, a man who preaches the Word, loves the Lord’s church and work, and just a great guy all around. We text and talked often. He became a treasured friend. It all proved to be a providential matter as we got to watch God use him and his family lead Charity to grow and organize in 2012.
When we came back from Texas, his friendship meant even more. He has been supportive and encouraging. For a long while we searched for a church to be a part of. God eventually led us to be a member at Charity. We just never could find peace about any church in Desoto. Two months later, in March, we knew the Lord was leading us to plant a church. Keith has prayed for us and has been there for us this entire journey and Kellie too! I thought that I met him so that I could support him as a church planter. Turns out the shoe is on the other foot now and now they are supporting us!
Keith is not Ed Stetzer or Thom Rainer. You know – the church planter guru and current encyclopedia for church ministry. But he is my dear friend and sponsoring Pastor. An incredible resource because he has “been there and done that”. He has my back! I am so thankful that he is the guy in the saddle for this ministry. Looking back, even though it irritated me at the time, I sure am thankful for that “Poor-mouthing Pastor”.
Time to Toil… with Keith
Colossians 1: 28, 29