HillSpring Church recently celebrated a decade under Senior Pastor Brent Kellogg and wife Jeri. The church held a surprise banquet in the Kelloggs's honor Sunday evening with guest speakers including fellow community pastors and Sand Springs Mayor Mike Burdge.
Kellogg came to HillSpring, then known as Cornerstone Church, in 2003 as the Youth Pastor before taking over Senior Pastor duties in December of 2007. He and Jeri have a son, Landon, and a daughter, Kalei.
"Pastors have always been my heroes," said Burdge. "I have had opportunity to sup with a few governors and senators and congressmen, and I'll leave all of them to come sit with the pastors in Sand Springs."
Burdge talked about his efforts to increase involvement in the Sand Springs Ministerial Alliance, and how crucial Kellogg's involvement was. "Now the Ministerial Alliance has come together. The (Thanksgiving) Community Service that we have here, I've been going to for forty years. We've had some good ones and some not so good ones, but even the best of them I saw did not hold a candle to what when on here (at HillSpring) that night."
He also spoke on the level of cooperation that has been going on between different denominations in Sand Springs recently. "God spoke to me thirty years ago and He said His desire in these last days was to bring the body of Christ together over denominational barriers. It has been burning in my spirit ever since then to see congregations like you guys. This is a special place."
Burdge read aloud a Mayoral Proclamation recognizing Kellogg for his success as a Christian Radio broadcaster, his service to HillSpring in various capacities since 2003, his volunteerism within the Sand Springs community including ministerial service, as well as serving on the recent Citizens' General Obligation Bond Committee, and for continuing "to share the love of Christ each and every day, in word and deed throughout the city."
Kellogg's mother told stories of his childhood, how his first word after "momma" and "daddy" was "Hallelujah." When he was about three years old, he would line up his teddy bears and stuffed animals and preach to them using a plant stand as a pulpit.
She also spoke highly of Jeri, saying "you can't separate a man from his wife and recognize his accomplishments without recognizing her too. She has such a heart for God, a passion and love for him. I'm so proud of how she serves the Lord with her talents and how she serves her family."
Church That Matters Senior Pastor Rusty Gunn and Harvest Church Lead Pastor Steve Allen also spoke highly of Kellogg.
"Church, you are blessed by having this pastor," said Gunn. "His leadership here is phenomenal in our city. He steps up to the plate at every opportunity to make a difference in the name of Jesus. He is a uniter. I know that he has united you as a church body, but not just that. He has united the greater body of Christ here in our city and I'm so excited to continue to follow on this journey that we're on together as the Lord continues to bless our city because of you and your leadership."
Allen diverged from the high praises and cracked jokes instead. "I understand you've been here for fourteen year. Four of those were as youth pastor, but we know we can't count those because youth pastors don't really work."
"I appreciate the great advice you've given me...things like 'it's always better to ask for forgiveness than permission,' 'what your congregation don't know don't hurt them,' and 'never let your congregation know as much as you or they'll think that they're your equal,'" joked Allen.
HillSpring has been heavily involved in community events such as the Salvation Army "Army of Stars Banquet" and "Boo on Broadway," as well as contributing to the Ministerial Alliance's annual Christmas Bonus donation to the Sand Springs Fire and Police Departments.
HillSpring meets on Sunday mornings at 10:00 a.m. and on the first Wednesday night of the month at 6:30 p.m. They are located at 8801 West 41st Street and can be found online at www.hillspring.tv