ASHLAND LifeSong Church, which started as a “high impact” church through the Kentucky Baptist Convention in 2006, isn’t done making an impact in northeastern Kentucky or even where it first started.
The church was founded in Ashland but in 2012 moved to a former school building in nearby downtown Russell in Greenup County. Even though they aren’t running out of room, they are expanding back into Boyd County with a LifeSong satellite church. While satellite churches are mostly born because the church is busting at the seams, that’s not the case with LifeSong, which runs around 240 on Sunday mornings but has room for more in a spacious gymnasium where they meet for services.
“If you look around eastern Kentucky, we came to the conclusion there aren’t any really large churches,” said LifeSong Pastor Keith Menshouse. “We’re in the shadow of two of the biggest in First Baptist Russell and Bridges Christian.”
Menshouse, who has been in Southern Baptist ministry since 1975 and a pastor since 1982. LifeSong started in 2006 in the Boyd County area, moving to a couple of different sites around Ashland in the early years before being given the former Russell Elementary school building. They hold services in the old high school gymnasium where Menshouse’s late grandfather, Glen, once played.
As a church, they are now 14 years established - the last five seven years in Greenup County.
“A lot of our folks live or lived in Boyd County or have family and friends there,” he said. “We’re starting a satellite church in a different way. As opposed to starting a new church, we’re going to have services at LifeSong here (in Russell) and in Boyd County at the Boyd County Community Center.”
Menshouse said if the LifeSong Church in Russell was too far to drive for some in Boyd County, as many have suggested, then LifeSong will bring the service a little closer to home for them.
“It’s something we’ve been looking at for a couple of years and we decided that we just needed to do it,” he said.
LifeSong Church in Russell is plenty heatlhy, but Menshouse said it’s possible to have strong congregations in both places. The church service in Boyd County will be much like the one in Russell. The high impact church plays live worship music and does the traditional Southern Baptist service, including baptisms on site, but you won’t find many shirts and ties. “You don’t have to worry about how you dress,” he said.
However, the church has sent out missions teams to Haiti and other areas and supports missionaries who have come to visit. LifeSong Church has a good heartbeat for serving, the pastor said.
Menshouse said they are using a rented community building in Boyd County that can easily hold 400 to 500. The Boyd County Fiscal Court owns the building and previous attempts to rent it were denied.
“We talked about it for years and could never get an OK, but when the new county judge-executive (Eric Chaney) came in, they said yes. We want to use that building. I feel like that’s what we’re supposed to do,” Menshouse said.
He said many LifeSong members have been taking the “Experiencing God” classes and feel they are being led into this new ministry in Boyd County. He said while there aren’t any churches drawing 1,000 in northeastern Kentucky, why not have multiple sites combining to hit that number?
“What the Lord will have to do is give me another worship leader,” Menshouse said. “We think we’ve figured out how to do the message. We will have a message and live music every week, even if I have to figure out a way to go back and forth for a while.”
LifeSong Church Boyd County’s first service will be Sunday at 11 a.m.
Menshouse said 85 percent of LifeSong Church’s congregation in Russell is from Boyd County. “If they invite people they know, then we’ll be in good shape,” he said.
Fairview Baptist Church was the sponsoring church for LifeSong, which is part of the Greenup Baptist Association.