- Faith & Family
When Rev. Kenton Williams is not busy juggling the demands of the 95-year old St. James Baptist Church of Coconut Grove, the minister – like millions of other Americans, likes to unwind by indulging his passion for sports. He loves watching basketball and football in particular.
When asked what he thought about the current popularity of Tim Tebow – a quarterback for the Denver Broncos who is now getting tons of media attention for openly expressing his devotion to God – Williams cautioned Christians from declaring the celebrity a true tool of evangelism.
“For some people, it has inspired them to strengthen their faith, but I also see those who just pray to mimic him and it has no spiritual basis whatsoever,” Williams explained.
Leading a church with nearly 200 members, St. James Baptist Church chooses to focus much of its ministerial work on outreach services.
“We have what I like to call the care ministries which are the feeding and clothing ministries,” he said.
Twice a week, the feeding ministry gives out food to the neighborhood.
After receiving his license in ministry 1993, the 51-year-old Williams has seen many trends come and go within the faith community. One phenomenon he embraced whole heartedly was the use of music as a method of praise.
“Everybody is getting more into the praise and worship and accepting that it is just the [expression of the] freedom of the spirit and allowing God to have His way,” he said.
Although this worship method has been popular for years in other Christian denominations, its increasing popularity in the mainstream is due to better education and increasing understanding, according to Williams.
“But if you understand that, there is nothing wrong with allowing the presence of God to have His way,” he said.
And while worshippers continue to grow and learn in their walk with Christ, Williams admits that he continues to learn and grow as well.
“Spiritually, I’ve learned that there will be some obstacles and you have to be able to let go and let God handle it,” he said. “I’ve also learned that there are some struggles that regardless of your tax bracket that [people] all have in common.”
The reverend sees each day as a new opportunity for himself.
“I’m always trying to be better in my knowledge of the world, in the how I interact with the congregants and those that I come into contact with,” Williams said.
For a man who once dreamed of serving a lifetime in the military, Williams now finds fulfillment serving as a pastor and teaching Scripture and biblical principles to others.
However, he admits that there are some aspects of being a minister that he is less than enthusiastic about.
“Sometimes just dealing with the confines of traditional thinking and what I mean by that is some of the rituals and traditions of the church,” he said.
By Kaila Heard