The Dialogue with Bob Kastens
This feature is a question-and-answer session with a new Blount County Chamber member. So here we go with our 83rd installment visiting with Bob Kastens of Louisville Christian Church which shares the good news about the love of God expressed in the person of Jesus and to helps Christians grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus while ministering to the needs of our community.
Describe what the church does. We are a Christian church, with services on Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. We have Sunday School at 9:30 a.m. and Morning Worship at 10:30 a.m. We have supper on Wednesday evening at 6:00 p.m. and Bible Study at 7:00 p.m. We also have special events from time to time and work with the Louisville Christian Assistance Center to help meet the needs of people in our community.
How did it get started? A group of Christians in the area felt the need to establish a Christian church in the Louisville community. This vision was realized in September 1978 when the church was established.
What is your background? I attended the University of Tennessee and graduated from Johnson Bible College (now Johnson University). I have served in the preaching ministry for 50 years (June 4, 2017 was the anniversary). I have ministered to churches in Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida, and Kentucky. My wife was born and raised in Blount County. We were married here and our children were born here and we are glad to be back home.
Who is your mentor? My wife, the former Etta Raulston, is the best minister's wife, a guy could possibly have. In addition, my sons are both ministers. Rob serves with the Mountain Christian Church in Joppa, Maryland; and Ron serves with Crossway Christian Church in Nashua, New Hampshire. Rob's daughter, Kylie, is a missionary in Nairobi, Kenya, Africa. I have had several older ministers who have mentored me over the years - Troy Hasty and Clyde True who served Christian churches here in Blount County; as well as my former associate minister, Charlie Burgin in Louisville, Kentucky. I would be remiss if I did not mention Dr. David Eubanks, a Blount County native and former president of Johnson University and Floyd Clark, former Academic Dean at Johnson who also served Christian churches in Blount County.
Describe your congregation. The doors of our congregation are open to all - whosoever will may come. We are a loving, caring community of believers in Jesus and would like to invite the residents of our community to come and worship and serve with us.
What impacts your church? The U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of religion in America without the fear of government interference in church affairs. Ministry has changed dramatically over the years. From 1 phone at home to everyone having a cell phone. From 1 T.V. at home to everyone having their own T.V. or tablet or whatever. From 1 car in the family to everyone having their own car. And there are more distractions that keep people from attending church services like they used to. The church used to be the center of community life. Not so anymore. The members of the Louisville Christian Church are loving, caring, serving people.
Name three things you wish you knew when you started. I was well trained and equipped for ministry at Johnson Bible College (now Johnson University). I wish that I had the opportunity for an internship back then, which is readily available today. I enrolled at Johnson in January 1967, preached my first sermon in March, and began my first ministry in June 1967 with two small churches in the mountains of western North Carolina. I am a student of the Bible and am continually learning and growing in my knowledge of God's Word.
What do you enjoy about the church? I have the best boss in the world - the Lord Jesus Christ. I work with the best people in the world - Christians. I love teaching and preaching the Word of God. And I love helping to care for people when they are ill, experience a death in their family, or need help in any other way. Preachers never retire - they just go out to pastor!