Joel Crippen, 61, began serving the congregation of First Southern Baptist Church in Fort Scott in July as pastor.
Crippen earned a degree from Southern Indiana Baptist College and a general Bible diploma from Bethany Bible College, Dothan, Alabama. “I’ve also attended lots of conferences and seminars,” he said.
He started preaching with six years of youth ministry at Osage City Baptist Church (Kansas), then pastored the same church for 15 years. He also helped plant a church in Linden, KS, called Mercy Baptist Church.
He and his wife, Donna, have four daughers and 17 grandchildren. They have one daughter at home who is a freshman at Fort Scott High School.
The Crippens have fostered 100 children in 10 years, he said.
“That was a big part of our ministry,” he said.
Donna has been a postal worker for 27 years and is stationed in Waverly, KS. “She has put in for a transfer to a local post office, and has been driving back and forth on the weekends,” Crippen said.
For Crippen, he most enjoys helping people spiritually.
“Jesus reached out,” he said. “I like getting to know people and talking about Jesus. I’m a people person.”
A challenge for him is coming into a new community and getting to know people, he said. “It’s a huge undertaking.”
His personal vision is “reaching the next generation for Christ,” he said.
The church is located at 1818 Main Street and can be reached at 620.223.2986.
Sunday School is at 9:30 a.m. followed by worship at 10:50 a.m.
There are about 60 people in Sunday morning services, he said.
There is also an evening Bible Study at 6 p.m. on Sunday.
In addition there is a women’s Bible study at 10 a.m. on Wednesday and a Trail Blazers Youth Program at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday for ages 3 years through 12th grade.