Darlington church welcomes new pastor
By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Pastor Kevin Howard, who recently took over ministerial duties at Darlington’s Church of God of Prophecy, is that rare sort of person who always knew what his career path would be, even as a small child.
“I knew from a young age that I would go into the ministry. I’ve felt the call of God all my life. I remember preaching to my teddy bears,” Howard recalls. “I would set them up and preach to them from my little Bible, so I knew God had a hand on me at a young age.”
Howard, 30, has degrees from Winnsboro Technical College (business) and Holmes Bible College of Greenville. He credits his late aunt, Darnell Howard, with keeping him in church through his youth and inspiring him to pursue a life of faith. Howard also cites Bernie Levesque as a mentor and a great help in forming his identity as a pastor with the Church of God of Prophecy.
“I’ve been a pastor for seven years. I pastored in the Pentecostal Holiness Church for a while, and then the Lord led me here to the Church of God of Prophecy, and I’ve been in it for three years,” he says. “It just seemed to fit my style of ministry better. I sing and play the piano, and I feel like that fits in very well here.”
With a grounding in the energetic preaching styles of two denominations, Howard says his pulpit messages are “happy” and in the “traditional southern gospel style.” He incorporates vibrant musical selections into his services, and hopes that the positive energy and earnest sermons will inspire newcomers and those looking for a church home to visit the Church of God of Prophecy.
“The apostle Paul said ‘preach Christ and Him crucified.’ Without the cross, there is no victory. Victory was won on the cross, so there’s no other message to preach but his sacrifice. Jesus atoned for our every sin – past and present. So if there’s someone who is looking for a church where that is the message, we invite them to attend a service,” says Howard.
One major goal for Howard is to grow the congregation by bringing in an intergenerational audience of members who prioritize genuine spiritual connection over social capital.
“Church is not a museum for saints, it’s a hospital for sinners,” says Howard. “And we’ve got to get back to having the church be the focal point of the community. In my little church when I was growing up, when there was a death or a disaster, we knew we could find hope by just going to the church. That’s what I want to bring here to Darlington. I want people that feel like they have nowhere else to go to know that they can come here to the church and find hope here. This is home.”
Sunday services include Sunday School at 10 a.m., Worship at 11 a.m., and an Evangelistic service at 6 p.m. Wednesday nights, there is a Bible Study service at 7 p.m.
Darlington Church of God of Prophecy is located at 920 W. Smith Avenue. Their phone number is 843-393-8538. You can visit them online at www.facebook.com/DarlingtonChurchofGodofProphecy