After 30 years of preaching God’s word, pastor Ken Harmon is retiring from the pulpit full time at First Baptist in Newberry.
However, he’s not one to let retirement mean he’s off duty from showering the world with the love of God.
Harmon says it was his choice to become an interim pastor for the S.C. Baptist Convention which means that he will preach from the pulpit whenever needed.
Aside from some interim pastoring, Harmon says he’s looking forward to some bike riding, reading, some fishing and perhaps some deer hunting.
He’ll also have plenty of time to spend with his wife, Joy Harmon, who is also retiring from being the organist for First Baptist.
The Harmons also will be able to see their five grandchildren more.
Another fun part of retirement is the ability to travel whenever.
Harmon points out that they have a cottage getaway up in the mountains of North Carolina which he says provides a relaxing refuge.
The couple will relocate to the Irmo area which is closer to some of his family and he’s looking forward to experiencing a different part of South Carolina.
While he was in Newberry, Harmon has definitely been involved with organizations and missions within the community as well as around the country.
Interfaith was a part of Harmon’s life from the time he arrived in Newberry.
As part of Interfaith, he was able to interact with different denominations as well as religions. The group is made up of all faiths.
Years ago, Harmon also recalls being a member of the Civitan group until it eventually faded away.
Harmon points out that he gladly did many activities that ministers do; however, he did it all because he wanted to.
Some activities include: hospital chaplaincy, jail visitations, nursing home visits and ministry through local media outlets in the community.
Harmon also enjoyed leading members of his church in studies and mission trips.
One study he recalls is called Master Life and is basically a workbook that participants do five days a week.
“I always felt like one of my jobs was to help people grow as believers and that’s (Master Life) has been a good tool,” Harmon points out.
In fact, through the Master Life study, 40 people have been led. In addition, five people have entered the ministry full time through his tenure.
Aside from helping others achieve ministry careers, Harmon has been on mission trips every year and has also helped to plant churches.
While he has also taken a personal mission trip to Ecuador, many trips involve training pastors and preparing sermons for the new churches.
Locations include New Hampshire, Maine, Wisconsin and even Colorado.
In fact in 2003, Harmon says that he helped to start a church in Aurora, Colo. where the tragic shooting recently happened at a movie theater.
Feeling the calling
Harmon has been in the ministry for many years but he felt the calling to the ministry when he was entering the teen years.
While Harmon grew up in the Baptist church, he says, “I felt like God was calling me when I was around 12 or 13. I kept having the impression that I was responsible to God with my life. I felt like he was leading me.”
However, Harmon did feel some nervousness as he explains he was a bit shy and the thought of standing up in a front of a crowd was a fear.
However, he decided to follow that calling and obtained a Masters of Divinity as well as a Doctor of Ministry.
Throughout the years, he’s seen several revivals and even began a contemporary worship service at First Baptist.
In fact, he says that the pastor prior to him at First Baptist was his pastor growing up in Greenville.
Now a church committee is under way as the search for a new pastor will continue for a few months.
A supportive and loving congregation wishes Harmon well
Harmon will miss his church family but he says that the church is made up of many supportive and loving people.
He says they have been good to him and his wife throughout the years.
“My wife and I both feel like the Lord blessed us when he called us to this church and let us minster here to people of Newberry. Throughout the ministry here, God has been faithful to supply our needs and work in his church,” says Harmon.
“Jesus is such a good savior and it’s a privilege to make him known through words and actions,” he continues.
In fact, one of Harmon’s favorite Biblical verses is Ephesians 2:8-9 which he sums up as saying that God offers the gift of salvation to people.
While Harmon has done his best to share the gift of Christ with others, he’s looking forward to spreading more of Christ’s love throughout retirement.