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September 21st, 2019

abundant lifeAbundant Life Fellowship at Eighth and Clay will have its final service this coming Sunday. L&T photo/Robert PierceROBERT PIERCE • Leader & Times

 

Every Sunday morning, churches across America welcome members and guests through their doors to find a deeper relationship with their Savior and Creator.

This coming Sunday morning will be the last for one Liberal church. Abundant Life Fellowship (ALF) was started in 2002, and after nearly two decades, Sunday’s service will bring church there to a close.

Before coming to pastor at his current church, Dr. Ollie Kinser pastored another church in town, and Kinser’s son, Delvin, said when that church closed, the elder Kinser did not have a place to go.

“He and my mother, who was alive at the time, still felt the call to Liberal, so they started Abundant Life Fellowship,” Delvin said. “We met initially in someone’s home and then moved to another building in town.”

Initially, ALF church took place in a room local radio station owner Mario Laredo had in his building which he used for meetings and conferences.

“We did that for a few months,” Delvin said. “Then the location at Eighth and Clay, the building we’re in now, became available, and the church purchased that and has been in there since.”

Over the years, Delvin said the current ALF building has been renovated and modernized.

“That building had been there since the late ’50s,” he said. “Over the years, we’ve had the opportunity to minister to a lot of people.”

Recently, though, Delvin said Abundant Life’s numbers began to decline, and church leaders began discussing the possibility of closing the church.

“This summer, we finally determined it would be best if we went ahead and closed the doors and see what God would lead us to do next,” he said. “This is something we have discussed and prayed about for a few months. The reaction of those who have been coming, there was no one surprised. I think everyone wants to do what God is leading us to do, and we are in agreement this is what God is leading us to do.”

Delvin said he and the rest of the Kinser family will most likely remain in the community, however.

“Pastor Ollie and myself have no plans to move from Liberal,” he said. “There’s no place we’re scheduled to go. We still love Liberal and plan to be here and be a part of the community.”

Delvin explained Abundant Life’s mission statement, which is on a banner at the church.

“We felt the call to minister to those who have hurts in their lives,” he said. “The mission statement says, ‘Bringing healing and restoration to those who have been hurting by the power of God’s presence and the presence of God’s power.’ We’ve preached God is a loving God who knows our difficulties and knows our circumstances and wants to minister his life to us.”

Dr. Kinser will turn 75 this year, and his son said the pastor has no intentions of leaving the business.

“He’s been in the ministry since 1965 and has always been in the truth of God’s word and has always preached the truth of God’s word,” Delvin said. “He’ll continue to do that. He has always said he’ll never retire from preaching the gospel.”

As for Sunday, Delvin said there will be little change from Abundant Life’s normal services.

“We’ll have a regular Sunday service,” he said. “We’ll be meeting at 9:30 for Sunday school and a time of prayer and church at 10:30. We’ll sing and pray and hear the word and have a typical service other than the fact it’ll be the last one.”

While the last service at Abundant Life will obviously be a sad occasion, Delvin did say there is still a silver lining amongst this dark cloud.

“It will be emotional I’m sure at times, but we really believe this is God’s leading,” he said. “There’s some excitement as well to see what God will do next and for the people who attend our church, the excitement of what’s next for them, where they may go to worship and God opening new things in their lives. It’ll be bittersweet, I’m sure, but our message will be ‘God has something newer, bigger and better,’ and we’ll be encouraging the people to seek Him for what that is in their own life.” 

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