Tahlequah Daily Press

September 24, 2013

Unwilling rebel becomes passionate pastor

Special Writer

TAHLEQUAH — God can use every willing person in ministry, and sometimes, the unwilling rebels become passionate pastors.

One such pastor is Rev. Jimmy D. Briggs Sr., of Liberty Mission Church.

More than five years ago, Briggs and wife Kathleen pioneered the Liberty Mission Church after a brief pastoral at the Prayer House Church.

They began in ministry at Stilwell Indian Mission with a five-year tenure as missionaries, and Briggs also served as associate pastor at Stilwell for Paul Etter and Daystar Ministries.

“My mission is to see lives changed and turned around, people free from drugs and alcohol, plus other addictions,” Briggs said.

His training began as a child in Sunday School and church, and for a while, he rebelled.

“I attended the seminary of hard knocks, I was a former outlaw doing many things I am not at all proud of, but that was the best training for the ministry,” he said.

Briggs never saw himself following in his father’s footsteps.

“My dad, Earl G. Briggs, was one of the greatest ministers I have ever known. Under his ministry, we went to church Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday evening and Friday evening, most of my life,” he said. “I feel all that church going was my best encouragement.”

Although he attended church, Briggs had no idea he wanted to be a pastor.

“The Indian Mission Missionary wanted me to be his associate pastor, which I thought would be fairly easy. I already had been a deacon a couple of times and had taught Sunday School, as well as preached,” he said.

Looking back, he said he knows now he was called all along.

Liberty Mission Church members are all unique and each have their own ways, he said.

“We are non-denominational, all are welcome. We have people from every walk of life, as well as many different denominations: Catholic, Baptist, Holiness, Pentecostal and more,” Briggs said.

Both band and choir are important aspects in their worship services. Briggs plays the acoustic electric guitar; Kathleen plays the tambourine, and grandson Darin plays the drums. They also have a few more guitar players, a keyboard player and an organ player.

The atmosphere of worship and the sincerity of the members to want to do better in their lives is what Briggs enjoys about this church.

“We include the youth in all of our worship services and functions. We want them to know God is real and we can rely upon him in any situation of our lives,” Briggs said.

Along with Sunday and Wednesday worship, every first Friday evening they host a singing and benefit.

“A lot of the local people from different churches, mostly small country churches, join us, as well as we go to theirs when they have their singings and functions,” he said, “and do benefits for people in need when it is necessary.”

He greatly values his wife in their ministry.

“My wife, Kathleen, is a prayer warrior,” he said.