The Presence of God is Tangible as the Holy Spirit Moves in Grayson, Kentucky
When people walk through the doors of New Beginnings Assembly of God, many say it’s an experience they’ve never felt before – the tangible, overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit.
From pastor to parishioners to visitors, each one says when they enter the Grayson, Kentucky church, it’s unlike anything they’ve ever encountered.
“The Spirit of God is there as soon as you walk in the doors,” says Heather Miller who recently began attending New Beginnings and rededicated her life to Christ. “You feel at home, you feel at peace, you feel like you can just walk up to the altar and give Him everything in your life. It’s this drawing in your stomach that He can forgive you for everything you ever did . . . I just can’t put it into words how awesome God’s presence is — it’s indescribable.”
Just over three months ago, New Beginnings was averaging 100 in attendance, but now is seeing 150 to 160 coming through the front doors every Sunday morning. And in the last 12 weeks, pastor Kyle Burchett has baptized 132 individuals — a majority of them having recently made a first-time commitment to follow Christ.
“Several weeks ago, I was getting ready to preach, and this woman just runs up to the altar after worship service, ‘I want to get baptized,’ she says,” recalls Kyle. “I’m thinking, Sure, we can do this at the end of the service. But then she tells me she wants to get baptized right now — so I agreed, thinking that maybe this would take 10 or 15 minutes.”
But Kyle was mistaken.
“As soon as I baptized her, another person runs up wanting to be baptized, and then another and another and another!” Kyle says. “I baptized 30 people that morning — making sure each one had accepted Christ and understood the significance of being baptized — and never got to preach.”
Kyle says that people are being saved, healed, baptized, and filled with the Spirit. Some have experienced deliverance from demons.
“There’s such a strong presence and anointing of the Holy Spirit during the service,” says Lisa Burchett, Kyle’s wife. “The anointing is so strong, people are just running to the altar . . . they feel the presence of God, tears are just flowing down their faces, they can’t leave until they get saved, the Holy Spirit convicts them so much!”
Kyle shares that a woman, who appeared to be about 50 years old, recently walked through the church doors.
“Suddenly, she threw herself down onto the floor and started banging her head on the concrete,” Kyle says. “A demon was manifesting. I had one of the men put his hand under her head to keep her from hurting herself and we prayed over her, and the Holy Spirit cast that demon out.”
A few weeks later, a young woman approached Kyle. He had no idea who she was. She asked if she could share a testimony. Not one to allow people he doesn’t know or has not vetted to give testimonies, Kyle changed his mind when he learned the bright-eyed, 20-something young woman standing before him was the same “50-year-old” looking woman they had prayed over just a few weeks earlier.
“She shared how she had been sexually abused by her father and uncle starting when she was just 5 years old,” Kyle says. “She said, ‘I’ve been tormented my entire adult life, and this is the first time, since I was a child, that I am free.’”
“It’s just an awesome feeling to see what God is doing,” Lisa says. “You don't want to miss anything — you just want to be right in the middle of it. God is getting ready to turn Carter County, Kentucky, upside down!”
HOW IT BEGAN
Few would have ever imagined this church being a place for the Holy Spirit to rest upon. When the Burchetts first began leading the church of then four people in 1995, Kyle was the 22nd pastor . . . the church was 26 years old.
“When I was praying about whether or not to pastor the church, the Lord told me, ‘Don’t take it for one day if you won’t commit for at least 10 years — those people deserve better,’” Kyle says.
The church building itself may have caused a “less-called” person to seek other ministry opportunities. Among numerous other challenges, there was no central air, no sound system, the platform was visually bending because it was rotting out, the walls were full of termite holes, and carpeting was a generous term for whatever was on the floor. A fixer-upper? Closer to a tearer-downer.
But God blessed the Burchetts’ commitment. In 2001, the growing church of now roughly 70 people poured the foundation for a new 10,700-square foot church. And that’s when Kyle says he made a significant mistake — he tried to grow the church.
“I began looking at all these programs and methods to increase attendance,” he says, “but what happened is, I found myself the CEO of the church rather than the pastor . . . and when your priority is getting people in the seats, you’ll find yourself compromising (Scripture) to do it — so as not to offend someone or some group.”
Prior to Franci Middleton’s encounter with Christ about a decade ago, few, if any, would include her in the category of “warm fuzzy.” No, her demeanor leaned much closer to the “Don’t mess with me or I will hurt you” realm.
Kyle confirms that Middleton was an intimidating individual, a brawler, who “would fight at the drop of a hat.”
“I was on the needle – I had a heroin addiction,” Middleton explains. “Well, actually, I was using anything addictive that I could get my hands on to get some kind of feeling of relief.”
Middleton got charged with trafficking drugs, which landed her in jail and drug court. That’s how she met Kyle, who was a part of an organization, called ENOUGH (Every Neighbor Outreaching Uniting Giving Help). Through that encounter, she ultimately accepted Christ. Even though she admits to relapsing into drugs for a time, when she came out of that and recommitted herself to Christ, this time her commitment stuck.
“The enemy wanted to kill me, to see me dead,” she says. “But when I came out of that relapse, God gave me a hunger for Him that has changed me forever.”
Several months later, in 2015, she worked with Kyle to begin a ministry through the church called REwired — a ministry for those caught in addiction and struggling with life-controlling issues. Middleton says that between 75 to 100 people now attend the REwired Friday night services and the altars are always filled.
Heather and her husband, Nathan Miller, recently started attending New Beginnings and have found their lives turned totally around by Christ.
“I met Franci while trading some farm animal and she had something that I wanted,” Heather says. “It’s hard to explain, but she made me realize how great God was and made me feel God again in my life.”
Nathan, who says he struggled with addiction, has seen his life do a 180. He says he had gone to church before, but never had a relationship with Christ. He explains it was a chance encounter with a Christian man from Louisiana at a truck stop in Maryland that got him thinking about God again.
“God put someone in my path, I went with it, and I’m glad I did,” Nathan says. “My life has changed a lot . . . the only thing it can be is God.”
“God took my husband, of all people — he’s fully recovered,” says Heather. “He’s not drinking, not taking anything he’s not supposed to take, he’s living his life for Jesus — it wouldn’t be possible without God.”
“People are looking for a place to be loved, accepted, and transformed and they found it here,” Middleton says. “Families are being restored, children are coming out of foster care, and people are even being called into ministry.”
In addition to leading REwired with Kyle, where Nathan and Heather also volunteer, Middleton leads worship on Sundays, with Heather also being part of that team.
“I remember, as a little girl, I had asked God to give me a voice to sing,” Middleton says, “and here I am a worship leader!”
The Burchetts and Middleton agree that God is doing a great work among people in the community of 3,700 who others have shunned.
“People you would not imagine coming to church in a million years, some addicted to drugs and others from really dark and lost places, are coming in here and giving their lives to Christ,” Middleton says of REwired and the church.
2 CHRONICLES 7:14
Kyle leaves little doubt as to Who and what is responsible for the sudden and intense presence of the Holy Spirit in the church.
“It’s all about prayer,” he says. “We are the same church, same congregation, same style of worship, same preacher, the only added element is focused prayer. When I quit trying to be the CEO and instead be a pastor, let the Holy Spirit be the Holy Spirit, and made prayer a priority, it’s literally become the most exciting time I’ve ever had in pastoring.”
Kyle believes that it’s vital for the pastor to be the main intercessor for the church — it’s not something to assign someone else to lead.
“It had to be something I was in front of to be successful,” he says. “So at 7:14 (based on 2 Chronicles 7:14) to 8:14 every Saturday night we have prayer.”
Prayer times are also held Sunday mornings before the service, with others praying Sunday afternoons and during the weekdays. Kyle and Lisa both view prayer ministry as the most important ministry of the church.
As far as services go, the Holy Spirit has free reign. Worship songs might be changed, messages may or may not be preached or adjusted, service may last an hour or three hours, and people never have to wait to make a decision for Christ.
“That’s one of the things I love about this place,” Nathan says. “They let God do the work and it feels great letting Him do it.”
“I’ve never been in a service at New Beginnings that the presence of God is not evident,” Middleton says. “But these last few months, His presence has been tangible. There’s this draw, like an anticipation of something coming. I believe that in the hills of Kentucky God’s about to pour out miraculous things that are undeniable by any eye.”