My name is Dale Kellar and it is my joy to serve as Associate Pastor at Eastport Baptist Church in Eastport, Michigan. My wonderful wife Linnea and I have resided here for just under two years. After being called to serve as a pastor, we moved from the Metro Detroit area to beautiful northern Michigan exactly three weeks after our wedding day. We have one son, Cedar Emmaus, who became a joyful addition to our family in October of 2018. Linnea and I both grew up in large churches, so moving to a small country church of about one hundred fifty was an adjustment. When we moved north, we had an expectation that living in a rural area would bring with it a slower pace of life. We couldn’t have been more wrong! The air is crisper and the water is fresher, but the work of God’s kingdom is just as prevalent here as it is anywhere else.
I was blessed to have been born into a godly, devoutly Christian family. My parents are the model of what I desire my marriage to be and the church we grew up at seemed to be my home away from home. I participated in summer camp, VBS, mission trips, choir, youth group—you name it, I was probably involved in it. As such, I couldn’t escape the influence of Christianity and the Word of God in my life. I recognized Christ as my Lord and Savior as a young child and became His follower. However, that didn’t prevent me from doing the normal “church kid” thing and “rededicating” my life to Him more times than I can count.
In the summer of my freshman year of high school, God used one event to radically transform my life. Looking back, I can now identify this the start of His shaping me for ministry. Venturing to Kentucky for our regular summer camping trip, my family decided that we would stop for a visit the Creation Museum. I recall walking through the exhibits, thinking to myself, “Wait…the Bible actually makes sense of the things we experience around us!” I grew up public schooled, so seeing the godless, materialistic worldview of Darwinism being destroyed at the foundation felt like sweet justice. Finally, I had found a ministry that could help equip me to defend my faith and be able to, “make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you,” (I Peter 3:15). When we returned, I rushed to our church’s library to see if they had any books or resources from Answers in Genesis. Sure enough, they did! And the journey began.
My interest in creation apologetics led me to a sermon series through the book of Genesis by John MacArthur. MacArthur frequently referenced his good friend, R.C. Sproul. The very first time I heard Dr. Sproul teach, it was through his Renewing Your Mind podcast on predestination. I was immediately captivated by this new concept of Reformed theology. Hearing MacArthur and Sproul debate on baptism, I went searching for more material on the topic. After all, I had grown up in a Southern Baptist church, but so many of the teachers I had come to appreciate were Presbyterians! Enter the great debater, Dr. James R. White, and Alpha and Omega Ministries. This was my first exposure to Reformed Baptists and the 1689 London Baptist Confession. The seeds were continuing to be planted very deeply within me.
While on a short-term mission trip with our youth group during my sophomore year of high school, I began to feel God’s calling towards ministry on my life. I began to meet with my pastor who helped me explore and discern whether God was leading me in this direction. I also began to meet with another godly man in the church, Mark, who became my personal mentor and one of my closest friends. Through the wisdom and council of pastors, parents and friends, I was encouraged to pursue this calling and attended Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, where I received two degrees in Ministry and Biblical Studies. One wintery day during my undergrad, I was browsing through Tim Challies’ blog and stumbled across an advertisement for a graduate school called Reformed Baptist Seminary. My curiosity piqued, I visited their website and discovered that one of the overseeing churches, Grace Immanuel Reformed Baptist Church, was in Grand Rapids! Even better, a quick Google search revealed that the church was a mere seven-minute drive from campus! GIRBC became my home church during my time as a student at Cornerstone University and it was under their preaching and teaching that my understanding of Reformed Baptist theology and practice expanded and deepened. So, when the time came to transition into seminary, RBS was the obvious choice for me.
My time at Reformed Baptist Seminary has shaped and molded me in many different ways. The various areas of study were steeped in Scripture, deeply practical and firmly rooted in the faith passed down by those who have gone before us. Furthermore, receiving an education from a confessional institution has helped to ground my doctrine and practice in Reformed Baptist convictions. There are several people I must express heartfelt gratitude towards. To my wife Linnea, who sacrificed so much and never stopped encouraging me to press on towards completion. To my parents and family, who brought me up “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord,” (Ephesians 6:4). To the many pastors and leaders God used to help bring me to the place I am now. To the professors and instructors of Reformed Baptist Seminary who offered the highest in academic excellence paired with the wisdom and grace of ministerial experience. To Dr. Gonzales, who works tirelessly to provide a positive educational experience for all of us. I have complete confidence that God has equipped me during my time at RBS to be a better steward for the kingdom work that He has called me to.
Looking back, it becomes easy to see that we serve a God who is sovereign over all things. He uses each and every minute detail in the unfolding of His perfect plan for the world. The people, the places, the events and the times that each individual experiences have been ordained and worked out by the great and mighty King of Kings. We should reflect daily on God’s proclamation in the book of Isaiah, “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it,” (Isaiah 46:9-11). What an incomprehensible, unfathomable, all-consuming God we serve!
To the glory of God’s name,
II Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”