Greetings! My name is Justin Kirkwood and my family and I just made the move to Alabama last Thursday. It’s great to finally be here in Huntsville and with Rivertree Church! We have been praying for many months about joining your family here and we are very grateful God has allowed this opportunity.
I was born and raised in Texas, raising animals, fishing, hunting, and playing football. God called me to the ministry when I was a high school student. I remember telling God that being in the ministry was fine as long as it didn’t mean I would be some kind of crazy missionary!
I went to college to study theology and ministry at East Texas Baptist University. It was there that I met my wife, Catherine, who has supported and served alongside me everywhere the Lord has sent us. God quickly broke my heart for the almost three billion people in the world who have never heard the Gospel for the first time. After that first year in university, the Lord began leading me to become one of those “crazy” missionaries and I spent that first summer in Zambia, Africa. During that summer God allowed me to see His heart for the nations and for all people to have an opportunity to hear and respond to the Gospel.
After returning to college, I changed my major to a concentration in missions. During the next couple years, I worked for Young Life as an interim area director and then served as the College and Student Pastor at a local church.
Not long after Catherine and I graduated from college, God sent us to live and serve in St. Petersburg, Russia for two years with the International Mission Board. Our first son Gabriel was born during this time in Russia.
We returned to Texas and I began serving as the Associate Pastor for Student Ministry at a church in Lufkin, TX. I also began gradually working on my seminary degree in Theological Studies and Intercultural Leadership at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky. During the 5 years that we served in that church, we taught our students and the church about God’s heart for the nations and led them on several of their first mission trips to India and Russia. Our precious daughter, Abigail, was born at that time as well.
God wasn’t done with us in Russia though and He sent us back to serve there for another 3 years with the International Mission Board. This past few years in Russia, we worked with university students and young professionals starting many reproducible Bible discussion groups for non-believers. God’s Word penetrated hearts and the Holy Spirit changed many lives during the past few years. We also had another beautiful child while in Russia, Michael.
We are so thrilled that God has now brought us to be a part of the family at Rivertree Church! We are excited that we can join with you in reaching the community, the nation, and the world with the Good News of Christ!
I'd love to talk with you about missions at Rivertree. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the church phone number 256-539-7171.