Bishop Kenneth B. Spears is Pastor to a crowd of over four thousand members; the people are drawn to the teaching of the man of God. Charisma permeates every word spoken where on Sunday there is an expectation for an anointed word of impartation to help those who seek it; surely he is gifted. His experience speaks for itself as he has shared the word of God with all for more than 30 years. He serves as Presiding Bishop of the Full Gospel Fellowship of Texas, and is author of the book “The Church’s Finest Hour.” He is also a publisher, media personality; as well as a prominent leader in the community. His ministry “Be Restored” reaches many through its television and radio broadcasts weekly in several states. In the community, he is an exemplary leader where he serves on several committees and boards, and has been accredited several awards for his dedication
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
(Matthew 5:14-16 ESV)
Life is challenging for many, especially when viewed from the concept of light and darkness. Where does the world seek shelter when they cannot see their way through life’s struggle? This picture of the light that shines in a dark world deserves attention. First Saint John Full Gospel Fellowship is that beacon of light which shines, and Bishop Kenneth B. Spears is the Shepard who guides it.
Appropriately situated, the church building in Fort Worth, Texas is placed atop a hill in the south side of the city. This church is also the beacon of light to guide an impoverished community to which it serves where the church motto is “The church on the hill that serves in the valley.”
Statistical data for the City of Fort Worth gives note of just how impoverished some areas really are, including the south side where the light of this church reaches many there. Poverty in the city has a wide range of targets one in particular; the 18 to 24 age group at just above 11 percent is hardest hit. Moreover, data includes single females with children who make their homes in the area where this church presides. Females with no husbands represent 53 percent of the poverty level here.
Where does “the church on the hill that serves in the valley” fit into this sea of poverty? When asked what the message of the “Church on the hill” conveyed to those in the valley Bishop Spears gives an account of Moses who stood on top of the mountain with his hands lifted, and of Joshua and Aaron in the valley fighting. This illustration builds confidence in the man of God as a spiritual intercessor for those in need while encouraging one to look up to seek further past the problem for help.
The glimpse of prayer going forward on behalf of the people also lends credence to the church mission statement says, “To build a ministry that re-establishes confidence in God, the body of Christ, pastors, and/or preachers in the local assembly in the communities where we live.” (Hebrews 10:35). Truly the people have much to place their confidence in. The church is an active participant in the community it serves and is seen making great strides to ensure they play a key role to alleviate poverty in the community; prayer is always the key to change, and answered prayer has brought much needed business development to the community and neighborhoods.
It is a unique, and a live fellowship which takes place within the walls of this house of God and upon entering its sanctuary one is sure to take notice that this is not your everyday run of the mill church setting. Here you see a live band complete with praise dancers, praise team and choir. Is it contemporary? Yes. Is it Ordinary? No. However, with the rise of the Mega Church comes the temptation to handle church business as any other business of the world’s setting with all its money making gimmicks; one has to wonder how this church remains grounded through it all and not “dampen” the “inspiration.” Bishop Spears was asked how he keeps First Saint John from becoming “Institutionalized?”
He says, “I suspect that if you only view the church as an “institution” it will dampen the “inspiration.” But I view the church not as an “institution,” but a unique, live, vibrant family that is constantly changing and growing.” He speaks further to add that the spirit of God is continuously moving this being the essential nature of the body of Christ. Intercessors are in place to pray before, during and after worship to prevent the dampening of the worship experience no matter the size of the body.
In the community the church serves an even greater purpose of fulfilling their mission of building confidence through their Community Development Corporation which allows focus of health education, homelessness and concentrations to enlighten issues concerning senior adults to be addressed; and, as a result the church is watching change in a number of areas, Bishop said. Accordingly, Bishop Spears’ sermons are broadcast on several radio stations in several cities across the states; Texarkana and Hope Arkansas along with some parts of Louisiana, Kansas City, Missouri; services can be viewed via streaming over the internet from the sanctuary.
Women today still face challenges in the church; as well as in the community because of discrimination in the pulpit, competition in the work place as well as the political arena.
Bishop Spears, author of the book, “The Church’s Finest Hour,” addresses a key issue concerning women through a conversation with God who speaks of his deceased mother “Doris.” In that conversation he confesses that he was posed a question where God asked, “If Doris could talk about Me in her house; why can’t she talk about Me in My house?” Bishop Spears notes that this question and conversation was an incentive, and a precedent to embrace women in leadership roles in church and out. He is supportive of women using their gifts, but shares that from a Godly perspective all should be used “decently and in order,” which ensures neither her husband’s role, or the role of her pastor is not compromised.
Bishop was asked his opinion as to whether or not a woman can be President of the United States? He responded by saying, “I believe that a woman will one day be President of these United States, but like the timing it took for a black man to become President it will come with the struggle, criticism and challenges which denotes time.”
He adds to that by saying, “Women are as valuable as men, a job should not be judged on gender, but skill and ability.”
He concludes by saying, “My mother was a woman, my wife is a woman, my sister is a woman, grandmother, and great grandmother were women, and I don’t want any of these people in my life to be discriminated against. I support the values of women, the gifts of women, and the vision of women.”
Well said Bishop. Indeed the church is in its finest hour.