In 1987 I was called to pastor a rural church a few miles as the crow flies from where my Grandpa Pierpont’s old farm. I have my grandpa’s name: Kenneth Pierpont. One day after driving to Newark on a hospital call and stopping to visit my grandpa’s grave I wrote this essay.
About sixty years ago in a humble little Methodist Church in the village of Chatham, Ohio, a twelve-year-old boy made his way up the aisle in an old-fashioned revival meeting and was saved.
That twelve-year-old boy was my grandfather, Kenneth D. Pierpont. He was one of the most colorful men I have ever known. A W.W.II veteran, CB diver in the South Pacific, one-time semi-pro baseball player and boxer, he entered the ministry after my father at the age of fifty-five. Grandpa farmed a beautiful one hundred-ten acre farm in the hills east of St. Louisville and worked for over thirty five years as a machinist at Fiberglass in Newark
Whenever I go to Newark I pass within sight of the little chapel were Grandpa was saved and the place, a little further south, were his body awaits the resurrection. I have my grandpa’s Scofield Reference Bible from which he preached just a few days before he went home to be with the Lord in October of 1980.
As I fulfill my duties as a country pastor here in Brandon, it is common for me to run into someone who knew Grandpa or one of his brothers.
Often I think of my big, physical, grandfather and his simple, direct Gospel messages, his humble ministry to country people.
When working he was a no-nonsense, no-foolishness man but when he and Dad and Uncle Bill and our families would gather during holidays he was full of life and humor-an endless supply of good clean jokes.
My ambition in ministry is very simple. I just want to be an old-fashioned Bible preacher- direct and simple. I want our church to be the place where a twelve-year-old boy could feel the tug of God upon his heart and make his way to an altar of prayer. I want to be hard working and no-nonsense because I can ‘t imagine a responsibility more grave than dealing with the eternal souls of men. I want to be joyful and happy-spirited because there is no vocation more eternally rewarding than the Gospel ministry.
By God’s grace I want to see families strong. I want to see baptismal waters constantly being stirred with people following the Lord Jesus to the higher ground of obedience. I want to sing the old hymns of the faith with enthusiasm. I want to sing new songs from our heart of hearts. I want to preach the Bible with power, the holy life, a hell that’s hot, judgment that’s sure, a heaven that’s real, the blood, the book and the blessed hope, the love of God for sinners. Somehow then I think if my grandfather were to look in one day he would feel right at home.
(Written circa 1988)
Kenneth L. Pierpont
Riverfront Character Inn
October 6, 2003