Sept. 16, 2010
For Immediate Release
By Linda Waggener, marketing and media relations coordinator
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky., — Rick Mann, pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Russell Springs, Ky., and preacher at the lake service at Jamestown Marina, holds an anniversary service each Labor Day holiday weekend and invites as special guest speaker, Dr. Jeff Eaton.
| Attending the Labor Day anniversary service
were from left, seated: Rabon Smith, Pastor Jeff
Eaton and Pastor Rick Mann. In back are Julie
Winn Eaton, left, and Susan Branscum Mann.
(Campbellsville University Photo by Linda
Eaton is guest speaker for two services on that day, the Lake Service which he founded at the request of Baptist Church Elder Rabon Smith 21 years ago, and he also speaks later at homecoming services at Fairview Baptist Church.
Mann said that Eaton is a brother, friend, supporter and mentor. “Jeff baptized me, performed our wedding and preached my ordination service. He is someone who I love deeply.”
The lake service is at the spot where then state policeman Rick Mann vacationed with no suspicion of how his life was about to change. While attending the Russell County Fair during that vacation he met his wife to be, Susan Branscum. He also met Terry Smith at that time.
“Terry was the main spiritual influencer in my coming to faith in Jesus Christ,” Mann said. “I was sitting under his father Rabon Smith’s Sunday School teaching and Jeff Eaton’s preaching at the time, but it was mainly Terry being willing to hang out with a sinner like me that had a significant impact.
“I trusted Christ on January 1, 1993 and immediately became a one-woman man. Susan and I married later that year,” Mann said. “I was also sitting under Terry’s father Rabon’s teaching when I answered the call to preach in March 2003, and then answered the call to pastor Fairview in September 2005.”
When Mann was struggling over whether, and where, to enroll in a theology program, it was Eaton who guided him to research Campbellsville University’s School of Theology. Mann has just completed his Master’s of Theology degree at CU.
It was a letter of gratitude from Mann to CU’s President Michael V. Carter that brought the story of these relationships together. Mann said in his letter, “The education and training I have received was timely, relevant, practical, inspired and extremely useful in my ministry development. Each class was extremely timely as the pastor of the local church with a desire to lead the church through a transition of becoming growing and vibrant.”
| Rabon Smith is shown with his grandson, Terry,
and granddaughter, Ashton. They were in
attendance at the Labor Day weekend service
of the Lake Cumberland Jamestown Marina
church. (Campbellsville University Photo by Linda
Carter said, “I was deeply touched by Rick Mann’s letter describing what it meant to his development as a young pastor. Student feedback is invaluable as we endeavor to grow the School of Theology while staying true to our deeply rooted Baptist beliefs in training servant leaders for Christ.”
As a bi-vocational minister, owner of five McDonald’s restaurants, Mann feels he knows about leadership and he said, “Two of the classes should be required for every master’s of theology student, “Planting Missional Churches” with Ed Stetzer and “Leadership Development” with Reggie McNeal.” He said both courses address a desperate need that exists for the church in North America.
Mann said that he prayed about whether to sell his businesses or to remain a bi-vocational minister. He said, “The Lord spoke to me and said to take what you have go on – almost like the Shamgar Principle — which speaks of starting where you are, taking what you have and doing what you can.”
Like his friend and mentor, Dr. Jeff Eaton, Mann came to the ministry as an adult student. He grew up in Hartford City, Ind., earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Manchester College where he was the first football player in college history to become an NAIA First Team All American, and went on to become an Indiana State police officer in 1990 where he served until the vacation to Lake Cumberland that changed everything.
He and Susan have four children at home, Barton, Brooklyn, Braxton and Blake. Mann became pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in 2005. On his website, he posted his desire, “… for everyone to know that Christ died and was resurrected so they can live forever and become ‘fishers of men’ themselves. Fairview has a Christ-like desire for people everywhere to ‘Come, Connect, Care and Change.’ C4 is our vision. Come just as you are, Connect with Christ, Care (with the compassion of Christ) for others, and Change to become more like Him, and you just might CHANGE the world!”
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with over 3,000 students offering 45 undergraduate programs, 16 master’s degrees and five postgraduate areas. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.