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Although, Rhonda Fields had not planned to be a pastor when she came to Grant County, her love of ministry had led her to be prepared.
When Cornerstone Assemblies of God Church in Dry Ridge decided to disband, there were five people who wanted to stay together and their resolve culminated into Christ Community Church at 139 N. Main Street in Williamstown.
“We felt that the Lord had called and ordained a church,” said Cheri Walter, one of the five charter members. “It started as Heritage South in Williamstown and then moved up and became Cornerstone. We didn’t feel like the Lord was through with it yet.”
James and Rhonda Fields lived in Nicholasville doing interim ministry when the Assemblies of God governing body asked them to come to Grant County and conduct a Bible study.
“We didn’t move until late summer of ‘08,” Fields said. “At our age, I thought, ‘We are crazy planting a new church.’”
Her broad smile is contagious and she exudes energy and fondness for Grant County and its people.
“Well, I loved it and where your passion is, that’s usually where God’s will is for your life,” she said. “I feel like I’m half way between Lexington and Northern Kentucky and I love a small town and I also like a big town, Cincinnati, to go shopping or whatever. I like getting to know everybody. I enjoy EVERYTHING I do.”
Officially, James was the pastor of the church, but in 2007 he became ill; by 2008, he was given a diagnosis of lung cancer, which spread to his liver and spine. As he became more incapacitated, Rhonda was not only her husband’s caregiver, but functioned as the church’s pastor. In October 2010, after much suffering, James died.
“I guess I miss him more right now than I did in the very beginning,” Fields said. “I realize he is not coming back. And sometimes I say, ‘Oh, you left me with all of this.’ But, he was so sick. So I have to look at it, he is out of his misery and he was not happy not being able to preach.”
After his death, Fields took some time off and when she returned to church, she agreed to stay on.
“There was never any question that Rhonda would take over,” Walter said. “She had pretty much taken over before Pastor died, and he was no longer able to come. When the board met, we discussed it. Everyone felt the same way, Rhonda would be our pastor. She is just so warm and loving and open to new people coming in and making them feel welcome and wanted. We’re just beginning.”
As a preacher’s daughter, Fields has always been surrounded by ministry. Her mother’s family was in ministry, her daughter married a minister and her son is the pastor of The Vineyard in Lexington. She had her own nine-year campus ministry at Northern Kentucky University.
“I was youth minister at our church in Alexandria until we hired a full-time youth minister, and we had 10 of them (students) leave at the same time for NKU and I went with them,” she said with laughter. “Actually, they made the appointment with the student activities director and we started a campus ministry.”
There are three official steps to becoming a pastor in the Assemblies of God denomination: certification, license and ordination, with several years of studies in between. Fields, already certified, was licensed in 1990s, during her ministry at NKU, and was ordained in 2008.
“I loved the college students, absolutely loved them,” Fields said. “
Now, as pastor of Christ Community, she arrives at the church at around 8 a.m. and begins her routine.
“I pray for an hour, hour and a half,” Fields said. “I go into the church (sanctuary) and I march around it seven times and pray, and then sometimes I read my Bible. I just felt led to do that, and I really contribute the success we’ve had to prayer.”
Although there are many churches in Grant County, she believes their storefront location is filling a unique gap.
“We like being in this location, because we feel like we are reaching people that maybe some of the others won’t reach—that wouldn’t go to a big church,” she said. “Everyone wants to do something, they want to fit.”
The church is growing, sometimes feeding more than 600 people from their food pantry, which is open every other Monday. They are going to offer Lifeline Connection, which is a ministry for people who are addicted to various life problems, such as alcohol, drugs or depression. On Wednesday nights, they do a prayer-walk; walking around town, pausing at businesses, empty buildings and the justice center.
“We pray for the businesses to prosper,” she said. “We want to see these buildings rented and sold and used. We pray for the bank—we pray for favor with the bank (she smiles).”
The church has had some financial help from the Assemblies of God in refurbishing their current location to brand-new ambience, but as in most churches, money is sometimes a problem. There are even times when Fields passes on taking her salary and as she talks about it, her characteristically upbeat tone changes to that of a mother concerned for her children.
“Well, we do so much, with so little, but I want them to get used to paying, because I may not always be with them,” she said soberly. “I don’t want to be an empowered leader; I want to empower leadership to others—to find the giftings and talents they have.”