Meet Our Regional Leaders: Keith Collins
What local church do you pastor?
Lakeview Christian Center in New Orleans, LA.
How long have you been a pastor?
I have been a pastor since 1993, so 22 years now. I was saved out of a Catholic background as a teenager, was educated as a mechanical engineer, and was eventually raised up from within the church and brought into full time ministry as a pastor.
How long have you been a part of Sovereign Grace?
We were officially adopted into Sovereign Grace Churches in 2005. I think we are on record as the most expensive church adoption in history, since just after our adoption we were wiped out by Hurricane Katrina and Sovereign Grace sent us over $300,000 to help us and our people to recover. We began to attend conferences and relate to Sovereign Grace in 1997.
Which churches are in your region?
Sovereign Grace Church, Woodstock, Georgia (Senior Pastor: Aaron Anderson), Sovereign Grace Church, La Grange, Georgia (Senior Pastor: Russell Tusing), Crossway Community Church, Crestview, Florida (Senior Pastor: Jim Brown), Grace Covenant Church, Jacksonville, Florida (Senior Pastor: Joe Calabello), Grace Church, Winter Garden, Florida (Senior Pastor: Wayne Brooks), Redeemer Church, Lake Nona, Florida (Senior Pastor: Benny Phillips), Grace Community Church, Melbourne, Florida (Senior Pastor: Cary Hughes), Kingdom Life Church, Nassau, Bahamas (Senior Pastor: Cedric Moss), Christ Community Church, Covington, Louisiana (Senior Pastor: Jeff Ehrhardt), Lakeview Christian Center, New Orleans, Louisiana (Senior Pastor: Keith Collins).
What is your vision for your region?
I’m grateful for the doctrinal emphasis, the local church emphasis, and the relational emphasis that has always been in Sovereign Grace and is clarified by Our Seven Shared Values. I would be eager to see those dimensions continuing to grow and remain strong, vital elements of what each of the local churches in our region are pursuing and experiencing.
I feel that in the past 5–7 years the shifts in lifestyle, pace, and informational influence in our culture has been a powerful force that is affecting the way we reach people, as well as the way the body of Christ is pursuing discipleship. I have felt like what I was previously accustomed to calling “pastoral ministry” has morphed into something that feels more like being a “missionary to the American suburbs!” People’s ways of thinking and patterns of life have shifted, and our pursuit of effectively connecting with and influencing people is more challenging than it’s ever been.
This need has all the more awakened my awareness of our need for the favor of God and the power of God to be with us in all that we seek to do. With this in mind, the pastors in our region met for three days of drawing near to God in prayer and fasting to seek God’s hand of favor and His supernatural outpouring on all that we are seeking to accomplish as local churches. It was helpful to be reminded of our dependency on the Holy Spirit to do what only He can do in making our gospel proclamation fruitful.
What are the pastors in your region excited about?
As we gathered as pastors, I was so encouraged to hear the faith and fight in the pastors of our region for the health and the mission of their churches. Many have faced unique challenges in their recent history, but they have a great love and single-mindedness to face difficulties and to see God’s kingdom come with power and influence in their people, their churches, and their cities. As a region we have benefited from relationships that have been a source of strengthening and encouragement, to which we are indebted to guys like Danny Jones and Aron Osborne, who have wonderfully led our region in the past. We are excited about writing new chapters in those relationships and exploring ways that we can connect our leaders and our churches regionally in the future.
Mark Prater is the Executive Director for Sovereign Grace and serves as an elder at Covenant Fellowship Church. He and his wife, Jill, have three married daughters and a growing number of grandchildren.