Planting a church in downtown Cincinnati has been “the greatest experience of my life and the most difficult experience—sometimes on the same day,” said Pastor Kirk Kirkland of Revive City Church. He views his church as a miracle, saying, “We really shouldn’t exist. There were times when we didn’t know how we would make it, but God came through.”
Kirk expressed his amazement at God’s provision for establishing and growing Revive City. He and his wife, Karen, moved into a downtown area where there were few healthy churches and began meeting their neighbors, talking to people in restaurants, and handing out flyers. In 2013, the church was established.
To continue getting the word out about Revive City, they gave away food, had an Easter egg hunt, and started a backpack ministry. God saw the church through eight moves, and the people continued to come.
One of Kirk’s passions is that the church would reflect the multiethnic population of the community, and if you visited Revive City, you would see it does. The congregation is a mix of Black, White, and Hispanic. Since the ethnic groups come from varied backgrounds, it is sometimes a challenge to incorporate their traditions. As Kirk said, “Ministry to multiethnic groups demands a special calling; it is Jesus who causes it to happen.”
Effect of the Virus
COVID-19 impacted the work of Revive City when the church had to shut down in March 2020, but when summer arrived, the congregation began meeting outside. In August, the church moved into a nonprofit’s facility. Their numbers continue to climb toward pre-pandemic levels, and more people are coming to visit. Kirk said his people are resilient, as new member classes continue to fill up.
“The Greater Yes”
Kirk said he recognizes he must be a good steward of his time. In addition to church responsibilities, the Kirklands have four children. “I’m no good to anyone if I’m not intentional in protecting family time,” he said. When evaluating possible commitments, he asks God’s guidance in determining which one is “the greater yes” to help him know where God wants him to be.
Kay Rollings is amazed at the way God uses willing people to reach the lost.