This Saturday, Aug. 18, marks a special milestone for a local church pastor.
Pastor Dan Kemp, of Calvary Assembly of God Church in Rolla, is celebrating his 30th anniversary with the church.
A reception for the pastor and his family will take place Saturday from 2-4 p.m. in the church's fellowship hall. The church is located at 148 West Little Oaks Road. There also are special plans for the Sunday service for Kemp.
Kemp started pastoring at the church in 1982, after he sent in his résumé and interviewed for the position of pastor.
“I did a couple of Sunday services and the people asked me to come be their pastor,” Kemp recalled.
During his years as pastor, Kemp said the church has tried to reach out to children, but noted that the congregation is balanced in terms of children all the way to seniors.
“We have a good group of people,” he said. “They are salt of the earth, the highest compliment I can give someone. They are hard working, love God and serve God.”
Kemp added, “No church is a pastor. A church is the people.”
One of the changes over the years has been the physical church building itself. A new wing contains the church's fellowship hall, storage, a kitchen and new bathrooms.
In addition to services at the church, Kemp said he also visits the Rolla Towers apartments and Rolla Manor Care Center.
Kemp and his wife, Jean, are involved in the GRACE (Greater Rolla Area Charitable Enterprise) program, the hospital chaplain program and the ministerial alliance.
He also is involved with the National Day of Prayer and is the presbyter of the Sullivan section of the Assemblies of God, which is responsible for 34 churches in the area.
Kemp also serves on the Missouri Ozark Community Action (MOCA) Board and he and his wife are head counselors at Cross Pointe Kids Camp at the Lake of the Ozarks.
His hobbies include “tinkering” with computers and enjoying time with his only granddaughter, Elizabeth.
Kemp has been a pastor for a total of 42 years and has no plans to retire at this time.
“When I do retire, I don't want to really retire,” he said, noting that he wants to work alongside other pastors or young men or women who are preparing for the ministry.
Before coming to Rolla, Kemp pastored for 12 years, starting in January of 1972, at the First Assembly of God Church in Warrensburg.
Kemp said Rolla and Warrensburg are very similar communities, noting they are both college towns and county seats and both are near military bases.
He became pastor in Warrensburg at the age of 22 and married Jean in May of 1972. In fact, he bought her engagement ring from offerings while he was a pastor.
“No pastor is a pastor without a wife. She's as much a part of the church as he is,” Kemp said, noting that his wife has worked with every department in the church.
Pastor Kemp holds a degree from Central Bible College in Springfield, Mo.
He grew up in Bismarck, Mo., and attended the First Assembly of God Church there. He was involved in the youth group, known as the Royal Rangers at the time. His pastor there, the Rev. Charles Leathers, let him preach and said the church helped “get my foot” into the ministry.
“That congregation encouraged us boys (who wanted to enter the ministry) so much. I felt like God wanted me to enter the ministry, specifically the pastorate,” Kemp said.
His wife grew up in Flat River, which is now part of Park Hills. Kemp said one Sunday he and others from his church in Bismarck visited Jean's church in Park Hills. While they knew each other before then, it was after that visit when he and Jean started writing each other.
Kemp and his wife have two daughters, Melissa and Julie, who has been serving as a missionary in the Czech Republic for about a year and a half. The family recently visited Julie this summer.
Calvary Assembly of God Church started in the mid-1960s with Pastor Beadle serving as the first pastor. Kemp is considered the seventh pastor.