Loyalty, longevity are hallmarks of Kenneth Luckadoo at Gills Chapel Baptist
By Ashley Perham
B&R contributing writer
MOORESBURG — Kenneth Luckadoo is retiring after spending more than 50 years as pastor of Gills Chapel Baptist Church in Mooresburg.
Luckadoo, a bivocational pastor who lives in Tazewell, drove 100 miles round trip to get to his church on Sunday mornings.
“I went back Sunday nights if the weather was all right,” he said.
Luckadoo started preaching in high school and began pastoring churches while he was in college. He attended Carson-Newman University for one year and Lincoln Memorial University after that.
While serving as a pastor, Luckadoo also worked several jobs as a principal, grade school teacher, and high school director of maintenance. He also worked in human resources for the state of Tennessee.
Luckadoo was ordained at Shawanee Baptist as a teenager and began serving as a pastor when he was approximately 21 years old.
He first served as pastor of Tazewell Baptist Church in Tazewell before being called as pastor of Gills Chapel.
Luckadoo estimated that he has preached 130 funerals and baptized close to 90 or 100 people, including two on his final Sunday as pastor.
“It should have been more,” he acknowledged, noting that Gills Chapel is a small country and family church with few people who move in or out of the community.
Luckadoo’s heart for the children in his church — as well as those he met during his career as a teacher — is evident.
He said his greatest memory of being a pastor is seeing little children come to the Lord.
The children were also his favorite part of teaching, Luckadoo said.
“I taught in Claiborne County in the coal mining camps,” he said. “Had to drive quite a bit to get there, and it was rough. “A lot of the children didn’t have clothes to wear,” he added, “and you wouldn’t believe it, some of them didn’t even have electricity.”
As almost 60 years of bivocational ministry comes to a close for Luckadoo, he shared advice for other bivocational pastors: “Make the time and spend what time you can.” B&R