Shy young man becomes preacher; Ken Phillips pastors at West Side Baptist Church
by Margaret Anderson
Special to The Star
Oct 08, 2013 | 1391 views |  0 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ken Phillips was a shy young man. He was quiet and didn’t talk a lot, but he said when God moved in his life he knew that God would provide the words for him to speak, and for the past 46 years God has provided those words and direction for his life. 

Phillips said that God intervened and gave him the strength to come out of his shyness.

“Initially in my life, I would not have thought that I would have ever been a pastor,” he said. “But in 1967, God called me to preach and from that day forward, He is the one who has made the difference in my life and made it possible for me to be able to stand and proclaim His Word. I learned as a young Christian that the foundation of my spiritual life was all about the Call of God - the Call to surrender as you hear His voice.”

Rev. Phillips was called as pastor of West Side Baptist Church in May.

“Being the pastor of West Side is an exciting time,” he said. “I’m grateful and appreciative of the opportunity that West Side has given me to be their pastor and shepherd of their souls and that I have the opportunity to come home to my hometown of Jacksonville to minister for the Lord. We at West Side pray that the ministries of our church will touch the people of Jacksonville and that the church will be a lighthouse in the community.” 

Rev. Phillips worked for the Anniston Water Works and Sewer Board 29 years. He was supervisor of engineering services and retired in August 2012.

He said he enjoyed the time he had off after he retired and before he was called to West Side because it gave him time to read and reflect on how he could better serve God and a church.

Rev. Phillips has been a bi-vocational pastor for churches in the Calhoun Baptist Association and Cleburne Baptist Association for the past 35 years. He was licensed by First Baptist Church of Jacksonville in 1967 and ordained at Mountain View Baptist Church in Alexandria in 1975.

He graduated from Jacksonville High School and attended Jacksonville State University and Sanford University through its extension division. He has been a member of the Alabama Water Pollution Control Association since 1984 and has served as president and treasurer.

Rev. Phillips was born and grew up in Bonny Brook. He and his wife, the former Kathy Burns, live in northeast Jacksonville. They have been married 38 years.

Their son and daughter-in-law, Keith and Stephanie, live in Mobile. They have a 5-month-old daughter, Kara. Keith is associate pastor and worship leader at Christ Fellowship Baptist Church there. Stephanie is a math professor at the University of Mobile and the University of South Alabama.

Rev. Phillips is proud that his son chose to be a pastor. 

“It’s humbling to realize that he has followed in my footsteps,” he said. “He’s a fine young man who’s letting God use him and his family in a marvelous way.” 

Kathy is a paralegal at Anniston Army Depot. Rev. Phillips was attending JSU and was driving a school bus for Alexandria High School when they met. 

Rev. Phillips likes to spend time with his family and beach fish at Gulf Shores. He enjoys reading and said his favorite book is the Bible. His favorite scripture is Romans 12: Verses 1-2 because “it reflects the true attributes of a Christian.”

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