When Pastor Mike Keown went to Coolidge Baptist Church on Sunday morning, he did not expect the welcome that awaited him. His wife, Kathy, his family members, and the entire church family planned an event to celebrate a significant milestone. Sunday was a surprise celebration for 40 years in ministry.
Mike went to Coolidge Baptist Church as pastor in 1983. He served in that church for five years. He moved on to serve in other churches which grew during his time as pastor. In 2007, Mike answered a call from Coolidge to return as their pastor.
While Mike served as pastor of a local congregation, he also served the community where he lived. He was elected as Mayor of Coolidge, Georgia. Later he was elected to the Thomas County Board of Education, and then to the Georgia House of Representatives.
I got to know Mike very well in 2009 and 2010 when he ran to represent the 2nd District of Georgia in the United States House of Representatives. Republican candidates ran for the office but over the past few cycles had received just over 1/3 of the vote. Few offered any hope of winning. In 2010, Mike carried the 2nd District with the exception of heavily Democrat, urban areas in Columbus and Albany.
Several national news networks projected Mike as the winner. It was in the early morning hours that the votes came in from a few precincts and Mike’s campaign fell short by a tiny margin.
The celebration on Sunday was not about political elections. It was about 40 years of service in the ministry. That says something about our system of government.
We are a government of the people. We do not have a monarchy. We do not have a dictatorship. Our government was established as a great experiment in self governing. The people who had to live under the laws were the same ones who made the law.
Leaders were elected, either directly or by the individual states, to serve for a period of time. They came from all walks of life. The idea was that they would serve in the great experiment of self-government and never become insulated or isolated from the people they served.
The service at Coolidge Baptist Church celebrated 40 years of service in ministry for Mike Keown. Through those years of ministry, his primary focus as been on pointing people to see the truth and hope of eternal life in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
During those years, Mike also saw the gift and responsibility we have as a nation free citizens to govern ourselves in freedom through the political process. We have freedom in our nation that is unsurpassed. Mike Keown is an example of a servant’s heart accepting the stewardship of this great experiment of self government.
Thank you, Mike, for your service. May God richly bless you with many more years of influencing lives for good.by