OAK HILL–Special banners were hung in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church in Oak Hill on May 16, announcing the 132nd anniversary of the church and welcoming their new pastor, Joel Kobosh.
Worship that morning included the pastor installation service led by Marty Beall, associational mission strategist for the Halifax Baptist Association, as well as the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper.
The city of Oak Hill, population 1,792, is located 10 miles southwest of New Smyrna Beach in central Volusia County. Predominantly a rural area, it was once the home of citrus growers and commercial fishermen. The church is located in a neighborhood near U.S. 1.
The mostly older congregation is excited to embrace the young pastor, his wife Abby, a nurse, and their two sons–ages two years and two months old.
Kobosh, a preacher’s kid from Wisconsin, is a 2017 graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. After completing an internship in Naples, he served as youth pastor at First Baptist Church in New Smyrna Beach before assuming his first pastorate at Oak Hill.
The church is known as prayer warriors, the pastor said. “They understand the power of prayer and are a kind and loving group.”
He believes the focus of the church “is to preach gospel-centered sermons and point people to Jesus,” he said, “and through God’s Word develop a compelling community together, a tight knit group that shows the love of God.”
Since Kobosh’s arrival, the church has welcomed a mother who rededicated her life to the Lord, and her young adult son who asked to be baptized and unite with the church. The young man is “super passionate about following the Lord and being a witness at his job,” said the pastor.
The church hosted vacation Bible school this summer with plans to spread the classes across five Wednesdays. Yet due to COVID they were only able to meet three Wednesdays.
The church is counting the endeavor as a victory for the Lord as they launched out into the community. The closing celebration included a meal, water slides and games as they asked God to bless the event. “It’s a fresh start with positive energy in our group,” said Kobosh.
The young pastor’s vision for the community includes outreach at a local school, Burns Science and Technology School, formerly a public elementary school that since 2011 houses a tuition-free K-12 charter school.
“This school has thrived, and the community is super excited, and we’d like to partner with them,” shared Kobosh. “I’ve had conversations with the athletic director and the principal offering to help with their middle school and high school sports programs.”
The new pastor said he has been encouraged by local pastors at gatherings of the Halifax Baptist Association, as well as by meeting with Craig Culbreth, east region catalyst, Florida Baptist Convention.
His life verse, John 3:30, serves as a reminder to him “that God is the One doing the work, it has little to do with me.”
“I’ve grown through prayer and the church has grown the short time that I’ve been here. God is blessing our pursuit of Him,” he shared.
“This young family now serving at First Oak Hill has all the characteristics of making a great pastor’s family,” said Culbreth.