By John L. Inman, III
CLARKSBURG—Oakland Baptist Church Pastor Andrew Kuttenkuler was born and raised in Tipton, and in junior high, he started going to a youth group at Tipton First Baptist Church.
He would attend weekly meetings and be involved in the summer camps and monthly activities. In between his seventh and eighth grade years he accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior.
“It was no longer about what I could do,” Kuttenkuler said. “It was about having an intimate relationship with my Creator. This was a transition in thought for me as I had been raised to think it was about doing good works.”
Over time Kuttenkuler felt a yearning to preach and work in ministry. In between his freshman and sophomore years he came forward to accept the call into ministry. Later on, Fortuna Baptist Church invited him to fill in a couple of times, which led to him doing it every other week.
He moved on from there to work at Pilot Grove Baptist Church, Latham, as a youth pastor when their pastor felt called elsewhere. Kuttenkuler once again filled in at the pulpit and preached. During this time his friend, Zach Whitson, informed him of the need in Clarksburg that Oakland Baptist had for a pastor.
“He said they had just lost their pastor,” Kuttenkuler said, “and encouraged me to put my resume in. I did and six months later they called me as their pastor. Before then I did not even know about the church. The transition from youth pastor to pastor was easy for me as I had been preaching on Sundays at Fortuna and then at Pilot Grove. Now I don’t work as much with the kids and I miss it sometimes, but I really enjoy serving at Oakland.”
He said Oakland has been a very loving church to him, his wife, Katie, and their recent addition, James, who was born six weeks ago.
“It has been awesome here,” Kuttenkuler said. “We have made some changes and they have been on board. Being a small, country church sometimes you think success is measured in holding steady, but I think God is going to use this church as a light in this area. I do not see us becoming some mega church, but God definitely has a use for us in this area and we fill a gap other churches cannot fill.
“Tipton and California have wonderful churches. We have more of a country feel than some of those other churches. If the big scene is not for you and you are looking for a small church, we have a great church. We do things together as a church family. If I want to go hunting, I will call up one of the deacons and we will spend a day going hunting together. Our church is on board to serve, and honestly, the hardest thing for me as a pastor is coming up with more ideas.”
Kuttenkuler said he has found a source of strength in his wife, Katie. He said she has been really supportive and has been on board through all the transitions they have made thus far. He noted that she truly has been a partner for him not only in their marriage, but also in the ministry.
Kuttenkuler currently works bi-vocationally as a math teacher in Tipton and as a pastor. He does not see himself becoming a full-time minister and would like “nothing more than to be here in 10 years,” he said.
He has not overlooked the importance of being a witness as a teacher. He said it is a bonus being able to be a witness inside the system. He added he might not always be the best witness, but he feels God has gifted him in being a teacher. All in all, nothing compares to being able to minister for Kuttenkuler.
“You talk about the coolest thing ever,” he said about ministry. “In high school I played football, wrestled, and played baseball, and had tremendous success in the football program. But winning a state championship does not even come close to being on a mission trip and really doing God’s work and doing something which will last longer than a couple of days. You may feel good after winning a title, but it is nothing compared to the real satisfaction you get out of ministry.”
Oakland Baptist is located on Oakland Church Road, nine miles northwest of California. Sunday School is at 10 a.m. with worship service at 11 a.m. Children’s choir and Bible study are Wednesday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m. Kuttenkuler had some final words about Oakland:
“If you are looking for a church,” he said, “I give the tagline; ‘we are just a bunch of sinners trying to praise God.’ We are not trying to be perfect or save the world. We are just trying to serve God in our area.”