Clear Fork honors retired pastors

Posted September 28, 2021 at 2:03 pm


Contributed by Randy Speck

This past Sunday, September 26, was the annual homecoming celebration at Clear Fork Baptist Church. During the morning worship service, Pastor Bob Sawyer and the congregation honored its four retired pastors who have been serving in the church for quite sometime.

Bro. Mike Mitchell answered the call to preach in the spring of 1972, near his 19th birthday. He graduated from Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri, in May of 1974.

After he and sister Kathy were married, the first church he served in was Northern Park Baptist Church in Greenwood, Indiana.

Two years later, he answered the call to serve as assistant pastor and youth minister at Independent Baptist Church. After serving at Faith Baptist Church in Avon, Indiana, in 1978, Mike and Kathy moved to Tennessee, and it was in April of 1994 that the Mitchells moved to Kentucky.

Ten years later, in 2004, Bro. Mitchell was asked to serve as interim pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Monticello, and in August of 2005 was called as pastor there. The Mitchells came to Clear Fork in 2011. Bro. Mike says he is thankful for all the doors of service God has opened for him over the last 49 years.

Bro. Lamon Hubbs was 20 years old when he answered the call and began preaching in 1962, almost a year after he and his wife, Betty, were married. The first church he served in was Greenhills Baptist Church in Hamilton, Ohio.

When he first moved to Kentucky, he pastored at Macedonia Baptist Church, which began in a one room school house in London that soon became filled to beyond capacity at each service. Bro. Hubbs and his family first moved to Albany in 1977, when he began pastoring at Stony Point Baptist Church.

Like Bro. Mitchell, Bro. Hubbs also pastored at Immanuel Baptist Church in Monticello. Later, the Hubbs family returned to Hamilton, where Bro. Hubbs labored at Greenhills, New Testament and Freedom Baptist churches, the latter of which started out meeting in a barn. Bro. Hubbs, with his knowledge of construction work, helped with the building of the meeting house. Bro. Hubbs retired from pastoring in 2016. He has been preaching now for going on 60 years.

Bro. Larry Spears began his ministry in the United Methodist circuit in 1958 at the age of 18, serving in several churches before leaving the Methodist movement in 1965 and joining Landmark Baptist Temple in Cincinnati, Ohio. Like Bro. Mitchell, he attended Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missiouri. In 1968, he organized Harvest Baptist Temple in Owensboro, Kentucky, followed in 1974 by Bible Baptist Church at Beaver Dam.

From 1984 to 1988 he pastored at Bible Baptist Church at Campbellsville, and then for thirty years he pastored Grace Bible Church in Owensboro, a ministry that began as a Bible study group. During their 61 years of marriage, he and his wife, June, have done evangelism in preaching and music, covering most of the eastern half of the United States, including traveling with a successful gospel group based out of Landmark Baptist Temple known as The Rhythm Masters.

Today, Bro. Larry and June say they are blessed and happy to be a part of Clear Fork Baptist Church. Bro. Larry has been ministering and singing for more than 63 years.

Bro. Roger McDonald was called to preach in 1964 at the age of 17 and preached his first sermon a month later at First Baptist Church of St. Claire Shores, Michigan. He pastored his first church at the age of 21 in Bula, Missouri.

Later, he served as associate pastor at Edgewood Baptist Church in Rock Island, Illinois. Between 1975 and 1985, Bro. McDonald planted four churches in different states and started a christian school for grades K through 12. For a while, he also traveled with his family holding evangelistic meetings, and was pastor of the First Baptist Church in Ventura, California. Later, Bro. McDonald moved to Tennessee, which eventually led him to Clear Fork, where he served with our pastor, Bro. Sawyer. From 2010 to 2019, he was on staff with Bro. Fred Allred at Faith Baptist Tabernacle in Jamestown, Tennessee.

During most of these years, Bro. McDonald served the Lord through radio and newspaper ministries. Bro. Roger has been in the ministry now for 55 years. ​

Jeremiah 3:15 says “And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” Pastor Sawyer stated it was an honor to acknowledge the four retired pastors who have blessed the church with their presence. These four men have been serving the Lord a combined 221 years!

Having men of God preach and assist pastors at Clear Fork is actually a tradition that began at the church in 1838, when the church, which was organized in 1802, called William Armstrong Cooper of Beaver Creek in Wayne County to act jointly with Clear Fork’s first pastor, Isaac Denton, in helping with the church. He also assisted Bro. Denton’s son, Joseph, and then Alvin Bertram, during their pastorates at the church.

While assisting at Clear Fork, Bro. Cooper also served as pastor of Beaver Creek (his home church) and also preached and served at other churches, including Seventy Six Baptist Church in Clinton County, and his work was abundantly fruitful.

More than once while he was preaching, revivals broke out lasting several days. Bro. Cooper continued his service at Clear Fork up until a couple of years before his death in 1909, at the age of 95. Upon his retirement from the pulpit, Bro. Cooper had served Clear Fork off and on for 69 years.