Kelly Walter founded Rock Brook Church in Belton, Missouri with a vision to help others find and fulfill God’s purpose for their lives. Rock Brook began in 1997 with 92 people. During Pastor Kelly’s 20 years as senior pastor, the church has grown to over 1000 in weekend services. He is an encourager and a friend.
Pastor Kelly is a modern-day Moses. There are many similarities between these two leadership giants.
First, they grow remarkable facial hair. While not a prerequisite for a leader, a grey beard suits a wise elder.
Second, both are shepherds. The word “pastor” is derived from a term meaning sheep herder. Pastors are shepherds of souls. A lot of young people today want to be platform speakers and don’t want to shepherd the souls of their flock. Pastor Kelly is an effective communicator, and indeed he feeds his members through his powerful teaching. But, you can’t guide and minister to sheep from a distance. A shepherd lives among the sheep. They love and care for the health of their flock. They show up when sheep are hurting and rescue them from danger. Shepherds smell like sheep. People in his church attest to how Pastor Kelly and his wife Katie have been there for them through thick and thin.
Third, Pastor Kelly would have been successful in other vocations. Moses managed a large livestock enterprise. For a brief time, Kelly was a manager in a large corporation. He aspired to be a seminary professor and he would have excelled at that, but God had other designs for Moses and for Kelly. They followed the call of God.
Fourth, Pastor Kelly and Moses have been steadfast. Last year, he had some complications from surgery that affected his voice. He couldn’t talk for weeks, but that didn’t stop him from shepherding his flock. Through his surgery, the loss of his voice, and many other challenges, Kelly stayed faithful.
Fifth, these men didn’t fold in the face of criticism. The Hebrews griped and complained to their leader. They criticized Moses’ decisions. Though Moses got exasperated with his people, he didn’t give up. He didn’t turn and run, he didn’t quit.
Kelly and Katie planted a Purpose Driven church in Omaha, but it didn’t work out. They moved to Belton to help a church transition to the PD model. He faced criticism for the Purpose Driven Church model, but criticism and hardship didn’t deter him from creating a healthy church.
Sixth, Pastor Kelly, like Moses, is a humble servant leader. I enjoy being with this quiet, gentle man. He is a servant leader and not a self-serving leader, full of the Spirit instead of full of himself
Seventh, Pastor Kelly surrendered his talents, all his unique tools, to God. The shepherd’s staff, sometime also referred to as a rod, was a common tool among nomadic shepherds like Moses. It was used to guide, protect, and rescue sheep.
Moses didn’t cling to his abilities, nor let his weaknesses deter him from following God. Instead, he turned his life, all of it, over to God. God did remarkable things with this surrendered life. We can also see the miraculous hand of God on Pastor Kelly and Rock Brook in the following ways:
- What began with a handful of people at Rock Brook Church has now grown to a church with an attendance of 1200 on the weekends.
- All the ministry staff at Rock Brook were hired from within the congregation, many of whom Pastor Kelly led to Christ, baptized, discipled, and trained for ministry. Kelly empowered his people for ministry.
- He has made numerous PEACE trips to North India and the Philippines, and has served an unreached people group in Nepal.
- Rock Brook Church received the Purpose Driven Church Health Award.
- Kelly and Katie’s three children are all believers and serve in the local church. They have 7 grandchildren.
Pastor Kelly Walter’s faith and leadership is worth imitating. Recently, Pastor Kelly stepped down as senior pastor at Rock Brook Church and was succeeded by his son, Ryland. This faithful shepherd will continue to serve the church and mentor young ministers. Like Moses, his life will impact generations to come.
God uses the ordinary to perform the miraculous. Moses didn’t think he was the right man to lead the people of Israel. He had all kinds of excuses. He was too old, not an eloquent speaker, and by his own words, “a nobody,” just a lowly shepherd living in the desert. I am inspired by men and women like Moses and Kelly Walter, who surrender their life and become a Rod of God.