by Cheryl Brugel
Where in the world is David K. “Kelly” Fath Jr. (’91)?
Many would remember Kelly at Cedarville—for his involvement in Student Government or intramurals or giving campus tours, while others may have met him after graduation as he served as an admissions representative for Cedarville, traveling to high schools and college fairs encouraging students to attend Cedarville University.
Still others might remember that in the Fall of 1992, Kelly enrolled at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., where he received a Juris Doctor in 1995. Following law school, Kelly went on to work in Grand Haven, Michigan, practicing local government law and actively serving in his church—Calvary Church in Fruitport, Michigan.
Others may recall that Kelly left law to enroll at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, a decision prompted by an increased involvement in ministry at his church and that during seminary he was involved in short term mission trips to Brazil, Romania, Albania, Hungary, and Ukraine.
Some may know Kelly from his time in West Michigan as he served on the Alumni Council and was the Regional Alumni Coordinator for various alumni gatherings in and around Grand Rapids.
And some may even have heard that Kelly joined the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE) as a full-time missionary in Central and Eastern Europe. But even with all that knowledge, still one could ask, “Where in the world is Kelly Fath?” for one only has to look at Kelly’s most recent ministry itinerary to realize that he does not stay in one place very long!
Officially speaking, Kelly’s address is Bucharest, Romania. Here is where Kelly can be located between missionary trips. But Kelly’s missionary work is taking him all across Europe as he partners with other missionaries, serves churches, and trains leaders throughout the region. As an ABWE missionary, Kelly wears several hats. Initially, he went to Romania in 2004 to direct the Church Ministries Institute, a program designed to strengthen and encourage local Romanian churches by providing basic theological and ministry training for lay people. While Kelly continues to oversee this ministry, he is also now serving on the Leadership Training Team for ABWE’s Central and Eastern Europe region. And, finally, as a member of Holy Trinity Baptist Church in Bucharest, Kelly is helping a young church planter in the village of Ciocanesti and serving on the church’s mission team, which will be taking the challenge of missions to churches throughout Europe. Between these three ministries, Kelly is often “on the move.”
As the Director of ABWE’s Church Ministries Institute (CMI), Kelly writes curriculum, schedules courses and instructors at churches, and raises funds for the ministry. He also has the privilege of teaching some of the courses himself. He shares that last summer (2006), he taught New Testament Survey courses in Bucharest and Alexandria as well as Church History courses in Tulcea. By the close of 2006, CMI was actively teaching in 5 churches in Romania. Kelly’s goal for 2007 is to expand that to at least 8 teaching sites. He would also like to expand the course offerings to include 3 levels of courses. Currently, CMI offers level 1 & some level 2 courses.
As a member of the Leadership Training Team for his region, Kelly works alongside missionaries from Budapest, Kiev, and Odessa. One of their roles is to be a resource to other ABWE missionary teams and their training programs. They also provide training support in yet-to-be-opened countries in order to establish or develop relationships with national leaders.
After a year of planning, Kelly’s church launched “Missions Torch in Europe” this past February (see www.missionstorch.eu for more details). Kelly serves on this mission team. The team’s plan is to complete a 3+ year, 39 country tour, taking the challenge of missions to churches across Europe. This past December, Kelly and the church’s senior pastor traveled to a church in Kiev which had been identified as a strategic Ukrainian church to both host the Mission Torch team in Ukraine and to participate in the visits to the remaining countries. He shares that at this church, Central Baptist Church of Kiev, they found a mission team that had been praying for God’s leading for the next step in missions. While they had been praying for direction, Kelly’s team had also been praying—for the right church to host their team in Ukraine. Kelly writes, “How neat to see each of the churches be the answer to the other’s prayers!” As a new member to this Mission Torch team, Kelly is looking forward to seeing first-hand how God will work through this historic endeavor.
While Kelly Fath may be hard to locate at times, his desire is to be right where God wants him. Whether in Austria for Leadership Training Meetings with fellow teammates or in Moldova to teach a week-long course on the Reformation, Kelly is being used in Central and Eastern Europe to partner with missionaries and churches to train leaders across the region.