Penton is active in many groups, ministries
Published 1:57 am Saturday, September 19, 2015
First Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Kelly Penton is a familiar face in Washington Parish.
Penton, 44, does a number of different things throughout the parish, but through everything he does, his goal is to continually spread the word of God and help young people.
Besides being the pastor at the church, which is located in Varnado, Penton is a member of the Varnado Police Department. He’s also the chaplain for the Bogalusa Fire Dept. and the offensive/defensive line coach for Ben’s Ford’s football team.
The 1990 Bogalusa High School graduate has been at First Missionary Baptist Church for two years after serving in the youth ministry at Antioch Baptist Church in Pearl, Miss., for six years. Before that, he was a youth minister at Edgewood Baptist Church in Bogalusa.
“While I was there (Antioch Baptist Church), I began to pray for not a perfect church, but I began to pray for a perfect church for me that I could pastor,” he said. “I was going on my 12th year in the youth ministry working with young people. I loved it, but I felt like there was something more I could do in my ministry.”
From there, he was called to come to First Missionary Baptist Church to preach a revival. He said the church’s pastor had retired. Penton said that after the first night, church members asked him if he would consider coming to be their pastor.
Penton said after the revival, they began to talk to him and pray.
“My wife (Shannon) and I began to pray and the Lord sent us here,” Penton said.
Penton and Shannon have been married for 24 years and they have a 17-year old daughter, Caitlyn, who is a senior at Ben’s Ford Christian School.
Penton said he’s a busy man, but added that he makes sure to spend time with his daughter everyday.
“Even though I’m a busy man with the community, I’m a family man,” Penton said. “No. 1, I’m God’s man and No. 2, I’m a family man. I love my family. Though I’m busy, I spend a lot of time with my family.”
He said the church has amazing people.
“We’ve broken a lot of ground since I’ve been here. Our main focus is reaching this younger generation,” Penton said.
Penton said they’ve got a motto: “It’s not about us, it’s all about Jesus.”
He said the first part of that, “when it’s not about us” means that they begin to start reaching out to people they might not agree with.
“We call it trying to love the unlovable and reach the unreachable,” Penton said.
He said the church has really grown.
“I love it on Sunday mornings and Sunday nights, the first five pews are filled up with nothing but teenagers,” Penton said. “It’s really awesome.”
This summer, they were able to take their young people to Austin, Texas. Thirty-one people, which included parents, went on the trip. They went to Austin to help a church called Disciple Life Baptist Church.
“They’re a church there that’s trying to get established,” he said. “While we were there, we basically went out. One of the things we did was we walked down some of the main roads of Austin and went around to many of the bus stops.
“We had some Bible tracts we handed out and we passed out water as well. While we were doing that, we were able to make some contacts with people, meet people and love on them. We got to meet some homeless people while we were there.”
Also, Disciple Life Baptist Church bought out a car wash and the youth were able to wash people’s cars for three or four hours each day.
They also spent time going into the washaterias. They asked people if they could wash their clothes and help them out. While they were doing that, they also told them about the Lord. They also took 150 energy drinks to the Austin Police Department to let them know that people care for them, and went to one of the fire sub-stations to let the firemen know they are appreciated.
“That was some of things we were able to do in Austin. Mainly, just to get out and teach our kids how to love on people that are different from them,” Penton said.
Penton said that trip was awesome.
“It was life-changing for me to see. I think the people that went, the 31 we had, if you talk to all 31, I bet everyone of them got something different out of it,” Penton said.
When Sundays come around and Penton preaches, his goal is to study the word so that everyone in the church can understand the Scripture.
“My goal is to rightfully divide that scripture so everyone in here can hear the word,” Penton said. “My goal is first to glorify the Lord Jesus and not to be a heretic, but preach that truth, and not so much my opinion on things, but allow people to hear the word — sort of touch their heart and change their life.”
The church has Sunday school at 9:30 a.m. with church service at 10:30 a.m. There is another service Sunday evenings at 6 p.m. There are also midweek services.