A church plant success story: ‘The Lord’s hand is all over Boo’ | Baptist Life

MANCHESTER, Ky. (KT) – Tucked into the community of Manchester in Clay County is Cross Mountain Fellowship, a Kentucky Baptist Convention assisted church plant led by Pastor John “Boo” Smith.

Boo, as he is affectionately called, formerly pastored Gray Fork Baptist Church in Manchester. While he was pastoring, he began Impact Outdoors, a ministry designed to introduce kids and young adults to the outdoors. Boo used his love of outdoor sports such as archery, hunting and fishing, bike riding, and camping to engage local youth with the Good News of the Gospel.

John “Boo” Smith stands outside the archery range.

Church Planting and Development Associate Toby DeHay visited Boo in Manchester early in the spring of 2022 and was blown away by how the Lord has blessed Boo, Impact Outdoors, and Cross Mountain Fellowship.

“The Lord’s hand is all over Boo, his church, partnering churches / association, and the ministry. The first time Boo took me up the mountain I was amazed! “He said.” I saw a campground with 25+ sites (RV and tent camping with or without electricity and water www.campspot.com/park/cross-mountain-campground ), a children’s play area, bike trail with a repair station, archery range, an ax throwing area, open pavilion, Koi pond, and storage cabins for their camping and fishing gear. They also teach drug education and prevention along with the outdoor ministry. I’ve never seen a ministry like it in my life. It was absolutely amazing! ”


Archery targets and kayaks are part of the fun at Impact Outdoors, designed to introduce children and young adults to the outdoors.

Impact Outdoors sits on 183 acres on a beautifully wooded mountainside. This outdoor passion turned ministry opportunity began to change the way Boo and his wife began to think about their area. Boo began to see young couples coming to Bible studies as a result of the mountain ministry and immediately saw the need for a new church in Clay County. AMS Frank Peters said, “We are excited for this new church to join our association and work with them through the Cooperative Program and missions.” Living Water Community Church of Mt Sterling is Cross Mountain Church’s sending church. Pastor Grant Cannoy loves what Boo is doing in Clay County and is happy the Lord is giving them the opportunity to partner with Cross Mountain.

While the Impact Outdoors Ministry is located 1.5 miles outside of Manchester, the church is currently located in the city of Manchester and is sharing space with another church who hosts a recovery ministry in the same building.

Boo says, “This location has been such a blessing for us. A partnering church has allowed us to use this space on Sundays and has been very gracious about us creating our own worship area. We partner with Operation UNITE, the Clay County Tourism Commission, as well as private donors and churches to make all this happen. We currently have around 60-75 in attendance weekly and have been blessed with people joining, being saved, and baptized! ”


A rustic area in Manchester called Impact Outdoors awaits visitors.

Pastor Boo and a team from the Purchase Area Association in Benton have recently made plans to learn how area churches from the west can partner with Boo and Cross Mountain Fellowship. AMS Dennis Manley said, “This is a wonderful opportunity for our churches to potentially partner with a new church in the east. They are reaching people in a way that relates to our folks. Hunting and fishing is in our blood too! We want to be a blessing to planters like Boo while encouraging our people to be on a mission in Kentucky. ”

DeHay said: “I love that pastors and AMS’s throughout Kentucky are excited to partner with their KBC-assisted planters. Boo’s story is an awesome example of how healthy partnerships hurt both parties. ”

If your church or association would like to learn more about your KBC assisted church planters, please visit https://www.planterportal.com/user/viewprofilelist?org=idu9rekuwisp.


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