By Carl Stagner
Daniel Castle became the senior pastor of Prestonsburg Church of God in Prestonsburg, Kentucky, this past November. In December, the church rejoiced over ten baptisms. More baptisms are expected, as three lives were just rededicated to Christ. These figures may not seem noteworthy—until you consider the size of the church. Eighteen people were around to vote Daniel in as pastor in November. At morning worship in February, the church welcomed fifty-nine people through their doors.
To celebrate all that God has been doing at Prestonsburg, the church will soon hold another special dinner event. “Salvation is a huge deal!” Pastor Daniel explains. “If we have angels in heaven rejoicing over one sinner being saved, why shouldn’t we rejoice, as well?” For Daniel and the Prestonsburg church, celebration dinners simply make sense. “It fits into our strategy of doing life together,” Daniel reflects. “While planning a celebration dinner, we encourage all the recent converts to ask their families to join us. Our purpose behind these dinners is simple: to build genuine relationships. At the last celebration dinner, we had 109 people—and two were saved!”
Doing life together, as Daniel describes it, exemplifies the biblical model of the church in the second chapter of Acts. For six weeks, the church focused their studies on Acts 2:42–47. As a result of their listening to the Spirit’s illumination of that text, the church discarded the existing bylaws, and replaced them with new ones based on the scripture passage. “After that foundation was established,” Daniel recalls, “we planned our year and set goals. We came up with a new image for branding, and decided to define ourselves by three simple words—Christ, family, and community.”
Every pastor wants to see more people commit their lives to Christ. Every pastor wants to see their congregation get excited about ministry. Daniel feels especially blessed to be a part of a congregation that “truly gets it.” He explains, “We have a core group of people that desire to point outward, and not inward. They understand and embrace technology, they’re not stuck with one style of worship, and they don’t care what you look like or what your background is. We represent a true mix of our community—from bikers to doctors, from former drug-users to those who have never tasted alcohol. No hair, purple hair, clean-cut—all are treated the same, and all are important to us.”
When Daniel Castle accepted the pastorate, he told his elders that the church would have a baptism service that next month. The Spirit began to work. As time passed, Daniel’s thoughts kept centering on the number ten—that there would be ten baptisms.
At the Kentucky State Youth Convention, three young adults accepted Christ. More and more hearts were surrendered to the Lord through the ministry of the church that month, and the number of people ready to be baptized climbed ever upward. “I preached a couple of weeks prior to the baptism that we were going to prepare our fields for ten to be baptized,” Daniel recalls. Thus, the church ordered ten celebration T-shirts for those who would be baptized, and hung ten signs on the wall to display testimonies of salvation. But one sign was left blank. Baptism Sunday had come, and only nine had committed to be baptized. “While giving the altar call, I had the nine take the signs down and bring them up front, leaving the remaining one on the wall. Then it happened. Actually, a lot was happening. We had the altar full, and one young man dedicated his life to the Lord. He wanted to be baptized right then and there! He is a high school football player; a good-sized fellow. Do you want to hear the exclamation point God put on this miracle? The tenth shirt we had ordered was just his size!”
Prestonsburg’s primary concern is sharing the Good News and leading people to salvation in Christ. They’re not just sowing seeds. They’re preparing for a harvest.
Learn more about the Church of God at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.