Rising up: New pastor and steeple renews church


By Christine MacIntyre
Staff writer

Pastor Kevin Caldwell is not your average pastor, nor is he just a pastor. Caldwell is as down-to-earth as they come. The Grass Lake resident of 20 years is a bi-vocational pastor, as he stepped into the role of senior pastor at Grass Lake Baptist Church in April of 2020 while also working full-time as a law enforcement officer with the Michigan State Police.

Caldwell has been in law enforcement for 22 years and pastoral work for 15 years. He holds three master’s degrees: Master of Divinity, Master of Ministry, and Master of Biblical Studies.

At 35 years old, Caldwell says he decided to join the U.S. Army Reserves due to his deep love of God and country.

“This of course came after my wife’s permission, who previously served in the U.S. Navy as a Master at Arms and a trooper with the Maine State Police,” he said.

Caldwell graduated from Initial Military Training and Basic Officer’s Military Course and subsequently commissioned as a chaplain.

“For nine years I served to meet the spiritual needs of many different units: infantry, military police, aviation, logistics, and transportation, to name a few,” says Caldwell. “I provided PTSD debriefings, confidential Biblical counseling, suicide prevention classes, and interventions conducted church services and briefed senior military commanders on the religious aspects of a mission.

I was called to active duty at many different locations and am currently in the Inactive Ready Reserve.”

George Haynes uses his bucket truck to assist in the installation of the new steeple.

His work at Grass Lake Baptist Church has been rewarding thus far, as the church body is growing both spiritually and numerically. Caldwell is aware that some people may veer away when they hear “Baptist” in the church name; however, he says, “Grass Lake Baptist Church recently removed all non-biblical judgmental or legalistic standards traditionally present in an independent Baptist church.”

“[We] are more interested in the Gospel message of Christ and the sanctification of believers than it is in what people are wearing or what version of the Bible is in their lap.”

The church body is full of welcoming and loving Grass Lake area residents who are, according to Caldwell, “some of the kindest and most generous people I have ever met.” Every person, from every background, are welcome with open arms at Grass Lake Baptist Church.

“I preach the one truth that comes from the Bible, regardless of what version people are comfortable reading from. The message is very practical, and I teach people how to apply the principles to their everyday lives,” Caldwell says.

Community engagement and outreach is a huge factor that Caldwell integrates into his mission, as he gears up for upcoming events and expansion opportunities.

“Bible study groups are forming, and significant community outreach events are being planned. We have many children in the church and our children’s education program is growing and is a crucial ministry of the church. The church is in the approval process of constructing a new large building where it will expand its outreach, activities, and footprint in the community,” says Caldwell.

In addition to all this growth, Grass Lake Baptist Church received a donation of a new steeple – thanks to an anonymous church member. The building had a steeple years ago, but it was made of brick and was not salvageable. The church has been without a steeple since the removal of the old one.

The new steeple was installed last Thursday, Aug. 6. Church members Michael Alexander, George Haynes, and owner of A-One Construction and Concrete John Boroughf worked together to install and secure the new fixture.

Carol Martin, a member of Grass Lake Baptist Church, takes a ride in a bucket truck.

“With the raising of the new steeple this week, my hope is that the cross atop is a beacon of hope, healing, and redemption for our community and to the ends of the Earth,” says Caldwell.

When he isn’t busy preaching or policing, Caldwell enjoys spending time with his wife of 20 years, Elizabeth, and their four children: Joshua (18), Samantha (14), Andrew (9), and Graceson (8). “In addition, my parents live with us, so it is a lively household!” he says. Spare time activities include reading, biking, walking through Grass Lake, and meeting new people.

Caldwell is a busy guy, there is no doubt, as he is bi-vocational. His time management skills learned while in the military and in law enforcement is sure to come in handy now more than ever as he prepares for exciting growth and refreshing change at Grass Lake Baptist Church.

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