I am Still Overwhelmed Says Pastor Keithley Phillip

On Sunday 10th March, 2013, Mr. Keithley Phillip took this giant leap forward, offering himself as a true servant of his Lord, taking on the challenge to become a pastor in the 50 year old Antioch Baptist Church, located on the Infirmary Road, in St. Johnston Village, West Basseterre.

“It’s an overwhelming experience. As I sat there on Sunday (10th March), the thoughts of the responsibilities of being ordained, started coming home, and I realized the enormity of the task ahead. I recognized that going forward I am responsible to so many people who are not only members of our church, but in society generally. But more importantly, it hit home that I would now be also responsible to God as a spiritual leader of others,” shared Pastor Phillip.

He said that in his new role, he was equally responsible to ensuring that his life is in sync with the required standard of Holiness that God requires. In addition, he mentioned that as a pastor, his life has to mirror that of Christ, in terms of his deportment, walk, speech, and all the activities in which he is engaged. As a spiritual leader, he understands even more now, that his life has to be one of humility, and that even as he is careful to remember how his life ought to be projected, he still has to be mindful that he is now leading people who depend on him for spiritual and other guidance.

“In leading people, I am responsible to God for them. I am responsible to God for their spiritual growth, and as an under shepherd, to ensure that the directions that I give them are the correct ones, that the teachings I give to them are right and that I set proper examples before them. And these are some of thoughts that came to me forcibly and flowed through my mind during the ceremony to welcome me as a Pastor, “explained Mr. Phillip.

For Phillip, it was a moving experience but one that was also filled with much joy, satisfaction and pride, especially in the heart of his mother, who sat in the front row, witnessing the transformational experience through which her son was journeying.

As Phillip knelt in front of the congregation of approximately 1,000 Baptist members and friends, from St. Kitts and Nevis, and overseas visitors, his mother, just like him, was brought to tears, as over 15 Senior Pastors laid their hands on him, offering words of blessings, comfort and prayer.

The occasion was a special service of thanksgiving and awards presentation, as the Antioch Baptist Church continued its 50th Anniversary celebrations at the St. Kitts Marriott.keith2

The church was founded on 5th March, 1963 by the pioneer, the late Rev. Dr. William Connor, who died in 1990. The church is now led by William Connor’s great nephew, Pastor Lincoln Connor.

Pastor Phillip explained that it was Pastor Lincoln Connor, who over one year ago, started to suggest that given his (Phillip’s) dedication to Christ, knowledge of the teachings of God, the exemplary life that he was living, his seriousness and commitment to the things of God that the time was fast approaching for him to take the ultimate step, to become a pastor.

Following some discussions, Pastor Lincoln Connor eventually confirmed, months in advance, that it was his intention to have Phillip ordained during the Golden Jubilee celebrations.

“When I recommitted my life to God, about six to seven years ago, I thought that the best thing for me to do was to get a (better) knowledge of who God is and the only place you can get that understanding, is in his word. So I applied myself and made prayer and Bible reading daily aspects of my life. I then realized that there were things in the Bible that I needed to get a better understanding of; thus two years ago I applied to the Luther Rice University and Seminary in Georgia, USA. This was just to get my personal knowledge of the Word and what God has written in His Word. And over time I developed a love for teaching the Bible to other members,“ said Pastor Phillip.

He said that he started a regular Monday evening Bible discussion and “as I learnt, I passed it on and I suspect that these are some of things that senior Pastor Connor would have seen in me; in terms of my drive for knowledge, my living by example…and he then told me that his mind was moving in that direction, to ordain me. My first reaction, was oh!. Oh, ok, you are the Pastor! I remember over a year ago I said to him that an older member of the church referred to me as Pastor, after I had finished preaching. And he came to me and jokingly said, good message Pastor.”

In response, Pastor Connor said that the member was speaking prophetically. “And I think that was the first mention he made of it and started intimating it some more, until just over a year ago, he was more definitive when he informed me that he intended to do it at the 50th Anniversary.”

Pastor Phillip said that he sees his role as a teacher and as one supporting the Senior Pastor Lincoln Connor. He also has responsibilities for overseeing most of the committees and groups of the church. In August or September this year, the church is hoping to start a Bible School and Pastor Phillip is expected to play a leading role in that venture. In preparation, the additional hope is for him to travel to Atlanta, Georgia, USA, to further his studies. This he said however is still to be confirmed. The Bible School he said would have an emphasis on training, especially lay preachers, Sunday School teachers and church members who have that passion and willingness to learn. In other words, he said, it would be more of a theological school, offering a homegrown option, as opposed to have to always travel overseas for such training.

Pastor Phillip has been a long-standing member of the Antioch Baptist Church, where he started since in his early years as a teenager.

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