Destined to Build

Destined to Build

By Floyd Miller

 

 

 

After visiting with Pastor Lynn Kirkland I left convinced that this man was “Destined to Build.”Kirkland a Gunnison, Mississippi native graduated from high school in Kentucky and begin work as a journeyman carpenter at age 18. He begin to preaching about the same time. The two careers have complimented each other. His life work has centered around rehabbing buildings and helping rebuild lives.While living in California Pastor Kirkland was a Supervisor for {{more}} two large housing projects. He was responsible for everything associated with the apartments including electrical, plumbing, and the lawns. The first one he managed was the El Pueblo housing project in Pittsburg. In addition to managing this project he started a nonprofit organization called People for Improvement, which promoted community awareness and worked to rid the community of drugs. In 1990 his organization organized a rally against drugs in the El Pueblo area in response to that rally Police Lt. William Hendricks said “ I think we have some people who are saying ‘We’re going to do what we have to do to confront these drug issues that we have,’ But it’s going to take that attitude from the whole community to really be effective.” After doing a great job with the El Pueblo project he became supervisor of the Las Deltas public housing project which was in shambles. In an interview given to a California paper Kirkland said ,“Over here, people are afraid to even come out of their houses. They are afraid to call the police.” Kirkland knew the only way to change this situation would be for residents in the community and law enforcement officials to meet and have open dialogue. His efforts along with that of other community leaders finally paid off.As I researched articles it became clear that buildings and real estate was how he made his living but building lives was his ministry. Here are a few headlines and quotes from newspaper articles. “Church tries to fill community needs, “ Daily Ledger. Post Dispatch ,Feb 13th, 1993 By Laura Stocker. For Kirkland, founding a new congregation that has so many social programs was an ambitious undertaking. But he planned for two years before opening the church, renovating the School Street building and working with local children with the People For Improvement, a project he founded for the down and out of Pittsburg. “There’s a scripture where God told Jeremiah to take the broken vessel and make it beautiful, take the rejected, the down-trodden and oppressed and give them a new outlook and a fresh breath.” he said. “ I saw beyond the old building and the poor, unmotivated lives of children today. And with prayer and perseverance, people who want to make a change will.”“Pitt pastor pushes jobs ,“ By Sam Richards – Lynn Kirkland isn’t sure why people he refers for jobs often don’t get them. He said, “ It’s probably a combination of discrimination and lack of proper skills that hold people back.”Using all of his experience, he wants to help as many Pittsburg residents in jobs as possible. “ I know plumbing, electrical, carpentry, and concrete work. I can help train people for this,” Kirkland said.“Pittsburg group diverts youth to reading program,” By Sam Richards – The six- week reading program has students ranging in age from 6 to 12, and is designed for those as old as 17. The purpose of this program was to help young people deal with peer pressure, low self-esteem and family problems,” Kirland saidIn 2000 Pastor Kirkland wrote a book entitled “Enlighten,” it deals with death and dying. He had lost his mother and his grief lead him to do intense studying on the subject. He said that he wanted to “clear up the image and fear of death.” He said that he wrote to bring comfort to those individuals and their families in the final stages of life I asked Pastor Kirkland why did he leave California. He said that he felt like he had done what he could and wanted to do something else. He said that his good friend Rev. Iziar Lankford invited him to visit Abilene. After visiting here he felt like God wanted him here.Rev. Lankford had this to say about his friend “ He brings integrity to the community as a preacher and a pastor.” “He will be successful with his church because he understands the business side as well as the spiritual side of the church.” Since moving to Abilene he and his wife Paula, have opened Genesis a clothing store, purchased real estate and he has started the Bible Way Church. He is planning a seminar that will be beneficial to the community. Minister Kirkland looks forward to a great relationship with the Abilene community.