From FBC Eupora
Kevin Barnette said while growing up, he didn’t like church. It
The newly appointed youth minister for First Baptist Church of Eupora
said when he was young, he thought church was boring and “just got in
the way of lunch time.” His parents insisted he attend.
“I would wake up and beg them to not go to church,” Barnette said.
“Then gradually over time I began to listen to what the people at
church were saying. I finally began to understand who Jesus was and
that he paid my penalty of taking the wrath of God upon himself.
Knowing that I was a sinner I made a profession of faith and walked
down the aisle.”
Barnette was a member of First Baptist Church in Calhoun City until
going to college. He is currently a student at Boyce College in
Louisville, Ky., where he is expected to graduate in May.
Barnette will join the staff of FBC Eupora in June, following his
graduation and wedding on June 1 to Taylor Spratlin of Vardaman.
“We are so excited Kevin and Taylor are coming to be part of our
church,” said the Rev. Travis Gray, pastor of FBC Eupora. “They will
be a tremendous asset as part of our youth ministry and the entire
life of our church. Pray for them and for our church as we make this
Gray said Barnette seems to have formed a good bond with those in the
youth group in the short time he has been around.
“I believe that I am one hundred percent called to do student
ministry for the rest of my life,” Barnette said. “God has given me a
love for students and passion to live life with them every day. There
has been affirmation after affirmation that this is where I am
supposed to be.”
Barnette said a lot of students, especially in the South, know all
the right answers about the Bible but sometimes have problems living
it out the way God has called us to.
“I believe that my job is to make disciples of all nations, including
the South,” Barnette said.
At Boyce College, Barnette said he is surrounded by believers that
encourage him on a daily basis.
“People that go to this school are all moving toward the same goal
and that is to spread the Gospel of Christ to the world,” Barnette
said. “It has been such a joy to spend time at this great school. I
am learning under some of the top Southern Baptist professors in the
world and it is all to come back to Mississippi and share what I have
learned with students.”
Barnette said the greatest accomplishment in life has been accepting
the call to ministry.
“It was a total life change for me,” Barnette said. “First Timothy
Three is the qualifications for overseers and I believe that this
passage is what all ministers are to live by. There are things that I
struggle with on this list and we all fall short of the glory of God.
The main thing that I look to when reading this passage is that we
are to be above reproach.”
Barnette said he believes success is in living our lives as God directs.
“I think that my success is not based on how many people I have led
to Christ or how good I can preach but my success is found in living
out God’s will for my life,” Barnette said. “God’s will for my life
is to share the Gospel with everyone. The Gospel is not just for
unbelievers but it is also for people who are believers. The reason
it is for believers is because it gives hope to us that are in Christ
to live for something more than ourselves.”
Even Barnette’s hobbies offer a great way to minister to youth.
“I have always had a great love for sports. Football, baseball and
basketball are all sports that I am familiar with and love to play,”
Barnette said. “High school sporting events are huge in the South. It
is a great way to minister to students because its something they
care a lot about. It is just a plus that I love them just as much as
Barnette is the son of David and Angela Barnette of Vardaman. His dad
is a milk distributor for Cal/Chic Inc. and his mother is a second-
grade teacher at Vardaman Elementary. He has one brother who works in
law enforcement in West Point.
“I can rightly say that my parents are a big part of why I am where I
am in my faith today,” Barnette said. “They have always taught me to
put God before everything else in life.”
On June 1, Barnette is to be married to Taylor Spratlin, who will
play a vital role in his ministry at FBC Eupora. The two grew up
together in Vardaman and their relationship has lasted through the
stresses of high school and college. They believe the long-distance
relationship was hard but they feel God has given them the ability to
stay together and pursue marriage. Taylor will graduate from
Mississippi State University in May.
“I am very excited for Kevin and Taylor to join our fellowship,” said
Jason Carson, FBC Eupora associate pastor. “They both have a heart
for young people, and they are eager to serve our Lord. I think they
will be a tremendous asset to our church staff, and I pray that we as
a church family would be a blessing to them as well.”
Spratlin said she and her future husband are both excited about “this
new chapter in our lives.”
“I know the Lord has great plans for this church,” Spratlin said. “I,
myself, am looking forward to working alongside my husband in this
ministry. My prayer for these students is that they not only know
Christ, but they are following Him. We hope to disciple these young
men and women so they can go out into the world sharing and living
out the Gospel. We are ready to see what God has in store for this
ministry and how he will use each individual for his glory.”
Barnette said the community seems rich with people ready to serve
youth in Webster County.
“I can’t wait to begin ministry in Webster County and serve alongside
all of you as we work toward the same goal,” Barnette said. “That
goal is to reach the nations from small-town Mississippi with a huge
message, Christ lives!”
For more information about FBC Eupora, go to www.fbceupora.com.