October will mark 22 years that Pastor Mark Kemp has served First Baptist Church in Copperas Cove.
“We love Copperas Cove and it has been a privilege to meet, minister and disciple people for God’s work all around the world,” Kemp said Wednesday.
Kemp was born in Belton in 1965 and hasn’t moved far from home. His dad was the First Baptist Church of Belton pastor for 22 years and now teaches at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.
When he was 11, Kemp attended Glorietta Camp in New Mexico. That’s where he first felt the calling to preach and knew he would become a preacher. When he was 15, his dad was speaking at church and Kemp knew for sure God was calling him.
During his high school years, Kemp’s focus wandered. But he dedicated his life to God when he was 18 and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in religion at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.
He met his wife, Annette, at college. The couple has been married for 26 years and has two daughters.
Kemp said it is both a challenge and a blessing to work with the constantly mobile congregation at First Baptist Church of Copperas Cove and bring people together in service to the God.
“In our life and in the church we must build a culture of prayer,” he said. “We must trust in God’s leadership and not our own. First Baptist Cove is a multi-generational church striving to reach the next generation. We are blessed with young Fort Hood families and it is a mission field we are privileged to serve. First Baptist is made up of folks of all ages and must work together to accomplish God’s purpose.”
Besides serving God, Kemp also enjoys fly fishing, which he learned from a friend. His hobby takes him to the Lampasas River or, with his friend, to the Santa Fe area for relaxation.
Doris McCrary is a 64-year member of the church. She said Kemp is the best pastor the church has ever had.
“He is compassionate, humble and truly caring for the needy persons of Cove,” she said.
First Baptist Church is at 300 W. Avenue B, Copperas Cove.
Herald/Sandra Duffy Oliver