Dr. John Lewis, who has 39 years of experience in ministry, doesn’t mind rolling up his sleeves one more time.
Lewis is the new pastor of Durbin Independent Baptist Church, which purchased the former Durbin Nazarene building at 7212 Durbin Road.
The church will erect a steeple and have an open house on Sept. 21 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.. It has purchased a new roof and new furniture. There are about 50 members. Lewis said the church’s Charter Day will be at 11 a.m. Oct. 13, which is also his 62nd birthday.
“How better to celebrate a birthday?” he asked.
Lewis and his wife, Vickie, are originally from the Portsmouth area. He has pastored churches in Ohio, Michigan and California.
“To be the first pastor of a church is kind of a neat thing,” he said. “I was at a church in New Richmond, Ohio, which is 180 years old now.”
He said the Durbin church was looking for a pastor and found him.
“It’s a group of people who believe like we did and they wanted to build a work,” he said. “They’ve been having services without a pastor in homes and wherever they could meet. Then they decided to buy this building.”
Lewis said it wasn’t a split from another church, but a brand-new venture. He also said the church wasn’t his ministry.
“We’re not here to maintain, we’re here to grow,” he said. “I’m sure there’s lots of folks tucked away in those hollers. It’s been my history to take a church downcast or that has been through hard times.
“But this is exciting because we are starting from scratch, even writing the constitution and articles of faith. We bought a house right down the road.”
The Lewises have four grown children and 11 grandchildren.
MARK MAYNARD can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2648.