Up Close and Personal with David Kelly

With the 2013 Southern Ohio Pastors Conference just around the corner, we wanted to spend some time letting you get to know the men who will be speaking at this year’s conference by asking them to answer a few questions for us. Here’s the sixth of a series of posts leading up to the conference on September 21.

Dave Kelly

David Kelly – First Baptist Church – Wellston, Ohio

What is your ministry background and education?

I came to Christ as a sophomore in college, receiving a B.S. in Elem. Ed. from Lock Haven State, PA (1975). Upon graduation, I attended Dallas Theological Seminary, got married in 1976, and earned a ThM in New Testament Greek and Exegesis (1979). My thesis is relevant to our conference: The Relationship between Discipleship and Following (akoloutheo) in Luke’s Gospel. During my seminary days, I spent time being discipled by a professor and being mentored by our pastor.

Upon graduation, I served as a youth pastor, Webster Bible Church, Webster, NY, 1979-82; as pastor at the Hermon Baptist Church, Hermon, ME, 1983-89; Grace Bible Church, Sangerville, ME, 1989-2007; senior pastor at Calvary Bible Church, Lusby, MD, 2007-2012; pastor at First Baptist Church, Wellston, OH, June 2012-present. For 8-10 years I helped coordinate workshops for the Central Maine Sunday School Conference; I have been a hospice chaplain; and I taught College Composition, English 101, for approx. 9 years through a community college.

What are some ways that your background in ministry has helped prepare you for your current ministry context?

Since the guy who led me to the Lord spent time discipling me, I caught the disease, which continued during seminary and was enhanced throughout ministry, and especially through missionaries and conferences. Biblical Ministries Worldwide and ABWE have held leadership programs for local church pastors and within the local church, and they emphasize developing lay leadership. (Crossworld is another mission organization that does this perhaps to a lesser extent in my experience.) Several conferences have been instrumental in stressing and exemplifying discipleship: Moody Pastors’ Conference; Shepherd’s Conference (Grace Community Church, Jn MacArthur); Word of Life pastors’ conferences, IFCA, Int’l. annual conferences; NANC training (though it emphasizes counseling, it does so through a context of personal growth and discipleship).

What is God doing in your church and/or community right now that is really exciting?

As an older church with deep traditional roots, we have been discussing what church planting looks like since we almost need to “re-plant” ourselves in our community. We’ve been visiting our Awana homes and several community businesses to connect and offer to pray for their needs, and we will have a presence in the city’s Coal Festival Parade this year, while handing out water bottles (“Connecting with You”). The Sunday morning preaching series through Luke emphasizes discipleship. Not only are the deacons discussing Al Mohler’s book, The Conviction to Lead, but we’re also informally coming together on occasion as couples for fellowship to discuss ministry vision.

What do you hope to see accomplished by the SOPC?

I am hoping to meet a few other pastors and stay connected with them over the coming months. The concluding workshop panel discussion should provide a wide variety of formats for discipleship, which might serve as a catalyst to either introduce or continue vibrant, creative learning/discipleship/mentoring relationships through local churches. Interacting with others about this topic can be challenging without discouraging.

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  1. […] David Kelly is the pastor at First Baptist Church in Wellston, Ohio, and will be sitting on the panel discussion, Variations in Small Group Discipleship. He is a graduate of the Dallas Theological Seminary (ThM). […]

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