Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Retirement on hold for new pastor at Turning Point Church of the Nazarene

The Rev. Kenneth McLellan, right, is the new pastor of Turning Point Church of the Nazarene. He and his wife, Ginger, had ministered at the church previously.


The Rev. Kenneth McLellan, right, is the new pastor of Turning Point Church of the Nazarene. He and his wife, Ginger, had ministered at the church previously.

BROOKSVILLE — The Rev. Kenneth McLellan may be 82 years old, but he's still going strong. Last month, he accepted the position as pastor of Turning Point Church of the Nazarene.

When the church's former pastor planned his retirement for late last year, the small congregation called on McLellan and his wife, Ginger, for help. The couple had ministered at the church before, when he served for a short while as the associate pastor. The McLellans said they would pray about the request.

"We were eating and sleeping and praying all night until finally, we felt that God wouldn't let us let this go," Kenneth McLellan said. "We made our decision that we would do it because God told us to."

With a successful ministry that was launched when he began preaching on the streets of Toronto at age 15 and that continued through decades of singing in gospel concerts, pastoring several churches and doing missions work — with Ginger at his side for the past 24 years — no one would have thought less of the McLellans had they wanted to retire.

"It was just one of those small churches that was losing momentum, and attendance was declining," McLellan said. "We got a burden for those people and didn't like the sound of it closing."

He preached his first sermon as the church's pastor Jan. 3.

It was in 1949 that a teenage McLellan preached his first street sermon. He had been inspired by the preaching of a then relatively unknown young evangelist named Billy Graham.

"I was always at Youth for Christ, and Billy Graham was one of our speakers fairly often," McLellan said. "He also spoke at our church. That was before he ever had his crusades."

McLellan had already decided at age 10 to become a missionary. But before venturing into the mission field, he was asked by a young couple to join them in forming a gospel singing trio. The threesome became the Canadian Viscounts, which later became an all-male quartet that went on to record several albums and win four Canadian Gospel Music Awards.

By 1984, McLellan had set his music ministry aside to begin mission work in Pakistan and India. Later, he would lead mission teams to Haiti, meeting Ginger, who was a team member on one of the trips. By then a widower, McLellan seemed perfectly matched with this dedicated Christian woman who also had a heart for missions. The two married and continued their travels to Haiti. Along the way, McLellan pastored churches in Nova Scotia, Maine and Florida, and the couple began touring as a gospel singing couple.

With the weighty responsibilities of a pastor, McLellan says he and Ginger will no longer travel. A recent concert given for the benefit of Child Evangelism was one of only a few that they will be able to fit in with their pastoral duties. For now, they both hope to help their new church grow in number while making sure it's "a very family-oriented and loving place."

McLellan noted they've gained one person each week for the past two Sundays.

"If we did that every Sunday for a year, we'd have half the church filled," McLellan said.

The church is traditional, which means the music will lean toward a Southern gospel style, McLellan said.

"Some of the old camp meeting style music that's in some of our hymn books fits us very well," he said. "Some of the old hymns have tremendous messages in them. If you don't drag them, and just tap your foot and sing along, some of them can be pretty peppy."

Musicians, such as a piano player, are very much needed.

"We're looking for musical people, for children's teachers. I guess we're almost looking for a whole staff," McLellan said.

And he's been giving a strong message to his congregation, telling them they need to be a spiritual hospital, willing to minister to drunks and prostitutes.

"We've always been rescue people, and I guess that's why we did the work we did in Haiti," he said. "We're treating this very much like that. We want to find people who might not be accepted anywhere else. If they want to stumble in our door dead drunk, we'll coffee them up and tell them about Jesus."

Services at the church are at 10:45 a.m. Sundays and at 7 p.m. Wednesdays.

>>if you go

Turning Point Church of the Nazarene

Turning Point Church of the Nazarene, 19384 Ingram St., Brooksville, will host a gospel music event, "Valentine's Concert with Sweethearts Roy and Amy Pauley," at 6 p.m. Sunday. The hourlong concert is free; an offering will be collected. For information about the church and a map, visit Turning Point Church of the Nazarene Brooksville on Facebook. Call (352) 796-4211.

Retirement on hold for new pastor at Turning Point Church of the Nazarene 02/10/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 10, 2016 6:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Paul Rodgers replacing ZZ Top on Ribfest 2017 lineup


    In looking to replace the ailing ZZ Top, Ribfest found some good company in Bad Company.

    Paul Rodgers
  2. Some teachers allege 'hostile and racially charged' workplace at Pinellas Park Middle


    PINELLAS PARK — Two black teachers at Pinellas Park Middle have requested transfers out of the school, alleging the work environment there has become "hostile and racially charged."

    Pinellas Park Middle School at 6940 70th Ave N, where some black teachers have alleged they were treated with hostility by colleagues after starting a tutoring program for black students. Just 22 percent of black students were proficient in English language arts in last spring's state tests. Two black teachers have asked to be transfered, according to a letter from two local chapters of the NAACP. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]

  3. Editorial: The unknown price tags in the mayor's race


    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has been busy promoting all sorts initiatives in the months leading up to the Nov. 7 election, doubling down on his progressive agenda without spending much money or generating much controversy. But make no mistake, the cost will come due after the election. Without a change in …

    The mayor is determined to get artist Janet Echelman to create a sculpture for the new Pier. But the cost would be much higher than what is allocated. Above is Echelman’s As If It Were Already Here in Boston.
  4. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  5. Judge won't cut prison term of man who pleads obesity


    TAMPA — A claim of obesity won't shave time off a Tampa man's prison sentence.

    Duane Crithfield and Stephen Donaldson Sr. were sentenced to prison after marketing a fraudulent offshore tax strategy known as a "Business Protection Plan" to medical practices, offering doctors and others coverage against unlikely events such as a kidnapping.