By LAURA EASTES
• Daily Leader
It’s a new beginning for New Life Church as the church has welcomed a senior pastor to the non-denominational Christian church located in Liberal.
Senior Pastor H. Kennedy Miller of Kenosha, Wis., arrived to the church four months ago marking a major milestone for the congregation. Miller is the first trained-spiritual leader to lead the church and is known to the congregation as an apostle for revamping the 30-member church located at 108 S. Pershing Ave.
Hailing originally from Georgia and attending theology college in Illinois, Miller brings over 25 years of ministering and life experience to New Life Church.
“It is a new church, but new as in having a new beginning,” Miller said. “New Life is a non-denomination Christian church with more of a charismatic flavor. I am more of a teacher. I want people to understand, go out and do it.”
Miller is unlike most church leaders. While Miller is the lead pastor for the Liberal church, he remains senior pastor at the church in Kenosha. Miller and his wife, Lisa, jointly minister together the Wisconsin church. In addition to Liberal and Kenosha, Miller oversees and is actively involved in churches in Fort Wayne, Ind., Brunswick, Ga., and Milwaukee
Miller’s goal is to build the church up spiritually and for the church to become a steward of service to the local community. Miller believes the church, which began in 1996 and originally met in a garage before obtaining a church building in 2001, can become a major influence in the community.
“The overall vision is for our church to become, in this area, a mega church,” Miller said. “But mega tends to have a meaning as thousands of members. That’s not what we are talking about. We are talking about a church that can grow, but have a mega influence and better the community.”
Miller admits he is a busy man but ensures the Liberal church is a top priority. Miller is in Liberal for the first Sunday and first Wednesday for church services each month. He constantly stays in touch with members in Liberal through e-mails and phone calls.
“I have protégés, or for scriptural understanding of what you would call our sons and daughters, those who serve as people I can send out when I can’t be there,” Miller said. “If I couldn’t go somewhere or if something is needed in a specific area, I will send them out.”
Miller said the future is bright for the church. The last few months have involved re-establishing the church and all members are going through a membership class by Miller.
New Life Church founding members and husband and wife, James and Essie Witherspoon are looking forward to the changes. Prior to Miller’s arrival, the church relied on individual members to step up as pastors and lead the church. The Witherspoons said while members did the best they could, it was evident the church needed someone to lead with proper training.
Miller’s preaching style is something the members of New Life Church and the people of Liberal have never seen, Essie Witherspoon said.
“What I have seen, it looks like he will be really good,” Essie Witherspoon said. “He has done some things we haven’t been through. He is training us through a membership class. We have never had that before. It’s real different but good. He has come in and wants to know Liberal. I think he is going to be pretty good.”
The New Life Church congregation invites the community to come to meet Miller and experience his preaching style. Miller will be in Liberal for Sunday’s service at 11 a.m. Jan. 2 and be conducting services at 7 p.m. on Jan. 3 and Jan. 5.
“I want the community to know we are here and we are looking to become a valuable asset to the community,” Miller said. “We are looking to be a place for people to come and say, ‘I need help.’ A place people will know, the love of God really exsist there. To those in the church community and to those who have been to New Life in the past, they may have seen a stigma or an approach on this church in the past. I want people to know that stigma is being removed and for people to look forward to something new.”