Kyle Burchett is brutally honest about mistakes he’s made during his 25 years as a church pastor.
“I was their preacher. I wasn’t their pastor,” he said of his first several years at the helm of New Beginnings Assembly of God, explaining the church in Grayson went from being “the church nobody wanted” to a full house a few years later.
He was the 22nd pastor in the church’s 26-year history, he explained, adding that his congregation did not expect him to last any longer than those who came and went before him. Burchett, however, was determined to change that perception and stick around for as long as he was needed as the church grew.
“It got big in the 90’s and around 2001 … success about killed me,” Burchett said. “I lost my focus. It was just robotic. I got to the place where I was dried and dead. I had to study to find my sermons and I prayed only for the growth of the church.”
Along with his wife, Lisa, and son, Zach, Burchett sat down and discussed his quarter century of devotion to God’s word with the Carter County Post, while inviting everyone to join them today (June 7, 2020) to celebrate the anniversary.
Burchett maintained a smile as he spoke of the tragic circumstances which started him on the journey to the pulpit. That smile was especially notable as he told the story of how he and Lisa first met in the freezer of a Tennessee steakhouse, although his expression faded as he spoke of the child they later lost due to an extremely rare disease.
“She lived three months and the last 12 hours of her life I prayed for her to go to Heaven and told her I would meet her there,” he said, adding it was a commitment he initially struggled with.
“I started going to church to honor my commitment to her, but I was devastated. I wanted to die,” he recalled, then told of a time he felt he had to leave a church service as he heard the song “Because He Lives.”
Sitting in his car, “I wept and cried,” he said. “That day I found Jesus.”
The call to preach, he said, was another matter entirely. Despite hearing “the calling” early in life, Burchett said he had compelling reasons to resist.
“I had dyslexia – I couldn’t spell … I thought, ‘You can’t read. How can you preach?”
Again smiling, Burchett said God took care of the problem.
“When I accepted the calling to the ministry I could read the Bible – and it was wonderful!” he said, then added “I still have trouble with some of the names in the Old Testament, but I think a lot of people do.”
He remembers there were four people in the pews during his first sermon as pastor. Thinking back upon the local church’s good times and bad times, Burchett said he feels good about their current direction. His family has grown in the church, with Lisa serving as what her son describes as “a fireball” and Zach, 17, working in the sound booth as well as alongside dad during anointing and prayer in addition to accepting his own call to preach.
“I am closer to Jesus right now than I have ever been,” Burchett said, citing a short list of names of people who have made priceless contributions to the momentum and direction of New Beginnings’ efforts and outreach.
“God sent us Franci Middleton, Debbie Rogers, Asian Taylor and Meagan Helton. They was the key to the door,” he said.
With an invitation to all to join in today’s service starting at 11 a.m., Burchett said he plans to preach “God Is Real” on his 25th anniversary of becoming a pastor.
“In 25 years, the hardest thing I’ve had to overcome is myself,” he summarized.
New Beginnings Assembly of God is located at 194 Promise Land Drive in Grayson.
Story and Photos by TIM PRESTON
Carter County Post