While Lincoln County organic gardener Kathy Naish became an ordained pastor in 2007, obtaining a seminary degree from Gardner-Webb University’s School of Divinity, it wasn’t until this summer that she accepted a position as head pastor of a local church.
Naish previously served as Pastor of Spiritual Formation at Viewmont Baptist Church in Hickory, where she oversaw Christian education, children’s ministry, senior adult ministry, Sunday school, administration and items pertaining to pastoral care.
“This was a gift to me from God,” she said of her recent undertaking as head pastor at First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, on Buffalo Shoals Road in Lincolnton.
“It felt like who God was calling me to be.”
Naish said she first felt the Lord’s tug on her heart to lead her very own congregation during her time at Viewmont.
“I really just resonated with the role of pastor,” she said.
For the last several years, Naish slowly progressed in her church tasks, taking on roles with increased responsibility. She began her ministry as a part-time children’s minister then felt led to work with a variety of people and ages.
“As the call continues to develop you and evolve, you simply step into the next role,” she said.
While the fairly small Disciples of Christ denomination is a far cry in size from the larger-scale Baptist denomination under which the Georgia native grew up, she accepted the change with open arms.
“The denomination (and church) has been very open and welcoming and affirming of me,” she said.
Naish has seized the opportunity to grow her 50-member congregation and work to establish a children’s ministry for the church.
The Disciples of Christ denomination has been around nearly two centuries with First Christian Church founded more than 80 years ago in Lincoln County, Naish said.
Her personal goals at this point are to “focus on God’s direction” for herself and the community and not live by her own agenda.
Naish and her husband have two children, 26 and 24, and are avid small-scale organic farmers, growing a variety of crops on their two-acre property including squash, corn, okra, beans, tomatoes and pumpkins.
The local pastor owns a number of chickens and said she’s in favor of any community-supported agriculture movement.