Members of Spirit of Life, an Open Bible church in Kearney, Nebraska, held a mortgage burning celebration on the church’s property Wednesday, September 30, 2020.
The ministry of Spirit of Life traces its roots to a revival crusade in Kearney, Nebraska, in July of 1929. Evangelist T.C. Newby was being used by God to impact cities and towns throughout western and central Nebraska. Many individuals came to know Christ as Savior, were healed, and filled with the Holy Spirit. From that move of God, an Open Bible church was formed in August of that year. This church ministered faithfully to the city for nearly 67 years before closing and selling its property in the summer of 1996.
In September of that same year Greg and Kathleen Mast felt a strong mandate from God to restart the church in Kearney as a new Open Bible church and gave it the name Spirit of Life. They held their first service in October, and Spirit of Life soon had a growing group meeting at the Student Union on the campus of the University of Nebraska in Kearney. In October of 2000, the church rented facilities at Sunrise Middle School and continued to grow and see people touched by Christ. In September of 2002, Spirit of Life made its third move to Horizon Middle School, where they met for nearly three years. In 2002 the church body purchased property on Dove Hill Avenue, and in the Spring of 2004 started the first phase of a building project. On May 22, 2005, Spirit of Life held its first service on Dove Hill.
When the Masts were contemplating relaunching the church, they set aside five days to seek God’s direction for the church. Greg said, “We felt Him clearly say to us, “I want you to be there for families. If you take care of my kids, I’ll take care of your church.” The church has remained faithful to that calling.
Jonathan and Becky Lumbard moved to Kearney in July 2010 to join Spirit of Life. With the goal of raising up emerging leaders, Jonathan became the leadership pastor and worked with the youth, college-age students, and young adults. He and Becky also co-led the School of the Spirit.
When Greg and Kathleen Mast retired in March of 2015, Jonathan and Becky accepted the calling of God to be the church’s lead pastors.
Throughout the years church members worked aggressively to pay off the church’s debt so they could direct those funds to other ministry efforts. Jonathan said, “We’re now debt-free on a $2.5 million dollar property (although the property and building did not cost us that much). God is so good!”