HODGENVILLE, Ky. (KT) – James Coffey is rebuilding Athertonville Baptist Church with the Gospel to Every Home as a starting point.
The 80-year-old Coffey, who was pastor of Athertonville in 1986 and 1987, said he’s returning to try and revive the church because “God put it on my heart.” When he learned more about the Gospel to Every Home initiative of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, it put a little spring in his step.
Don’t be fooled by his age. Coffey’s engine for the Lord still runs at full throttle.
“We are going to do it right – through prayer and the Holy Spirit working,” Coffey said. “We can probably cover our area with 50 packets. We will get everyone in our neighborhood.”
Coffey said he has long been a Kentucky Baptist and has always had a heart for the gospel. So the KBC’s long-term plan suits him fine.
“It’s fantastic,” he said. “I’ve been an outreach person my whole life. We’re going to do this outreach. We’re excited about it.”
Athertonville had about 20 to 30 members when he left the church in the mid-1980’s, Coffey said. He was working at the Ford Motor Co. and traveling nearly 60 miles every week. The church currently doesn’t have indoor plumbing and only a few families attend.
“We don’t have much expense,” he said. “We pay a $40 utility bill every month.”
The services are brief, he said, because of the lack of facilities. They have 30 minutes of Sunday School and 30 minutes of preaching. He teaches Sunday School every week and preaches every other week. Steve Taylor, who works a truck stop ministry with Coffey in Lebanon Junction, shares in the preaching. Virginia Howard is another key member with a lot of responsibilities, he said.
Coffey is trying to rebuild the church but said he’d keep his membership at Vine Hill where Greg Crenshaw is the pastor. “My membership and my tithe stays there but my wife gives me some money every month for (Athertonville),” he said.
Coffey is dedicated to the work of the Lord. He said he has done a little bit of everything including going on a mission trip to Haiti and working in a jail ministry where 10 came to know the Lord during one evangelistic service. He is also a Gideon speaker and said he has “given away thousands of Bibles.”
He said the Lord spared him after he contracted COVID-19, saying it was a “miracle recovery” because he has an irregular heartbeat and is diabetic.
Coffey said he lives less than 30 minutes from the church and is intent on rebuilding it with love and care for neighbors. The Gospel to Every Home will give him some tools to get started the right way, he said. Upon learning about the initiative, Coffey said he was excited to get started. KBC evangelism strategist Kenny Rager is meeting with him along with Shawn Edwards, the missions strategist in Severns Valley Association.
“We’re going to be a worldwide church, giving to make sure the gospel goes around the world by cooperating with the Cooperative Program,” Coffey said.