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This story has been republished from NEWS-PRESS & GAZETTE COMPANY.

Pastor Roger Wilcoxen and his wife, Angela Wilcoxen

Pastor Roger Wilcoxen and his wife, Angela Wilcoxen

When Dr. Roger Wilcoxen preached publicly for the first time, on a Cincinnati, Ohio, street corner at midnight on summer Friday night, he had his eyes closed.

“How I kept from falling off the platform, I don’t know,” Wilcoxen says. “But when I opened my eyes, I had about a hundred people standing there. I went back there every Friday night for the entire summer.”

At the time, Wilcoxen was 16 years old and preaching to those gathered on the streets at midnight, including members of gangs and prostitutes.

Now, after several decades traveling across the country serving churches, ministering to those in prison, serving as a youth pastor and evangelizing, the father of five has settled at King Hill Christian Church , an independent church in south St. Joseph .

“My biggest thing is giving God opportunity,” he says. “I don’t get tripped up on ‘God’s going to heal you today.’ I don’t get tripped up on ‘God’s going to deliver you today.’ My biggest thing is let’s just give God the opportunity, and we’ll watch God do what he does best: love his people.”

Wilcoxen, who lives in Olathe, Kansas , grew up in Kentucky and felt a call to ministry at 16 years old. Although not raised in a church, he began to attend one as a teen. He was saved in the basement of a house in October 1989. During a worship service a month later, Wilcoxen says he felt called to preach.

“It was so real that right in the middle of the worship service, I said ‘Oh no you don’t’ and I sat down,” he says. “It scared the daylights out of me. I didn’t tell nobody. But I was hungry. I wanted to know the word, the scripture, so I got into all kinds of classes and everything.”

Wilcoxen soon began preaching, including the summer he spent in Cincinnati. He later attended Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas , where he graduated with a degree in cross-cultural missions. He later earned a master’s degree in counseling psychology, an honorary doctorate in divinity and a doctoral degree in Christian psychotherapy.

He has ministered at churches, led youth groups, spoke at revivals and ministered at jails, prisons and “anything and everything” in locations including Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Texas, California, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri, Wilcoxen says. Earlier this year, while working as a clinical supervisor at the Family Guidance Center in St. Joseph, Wilcoxen learned about the need for a pastor at King Hill Christian Church. He agreed to preach for the month of July.

“I was here about two weeks and it was like a happy marriage almost,” he says. “I fell in love with the people. I fell in love with the area, everything.”

He was encouraged to apply for the full-time position, which he did. He interviewed and accepted the job as senior pastor in August before staring at the small, independent church on Sept. 16. Since then, the church’s weekly attendance has almost doubled, he says.

“It’s been exciting. We’ve seen some growth,” Wilcoxen says. “Younger generations are coming back, which is really nice. It’s been really good.”

His focus has continued to be reaching outside the walls of a church to those in the community, he says. He chooses to focus on the scriptures and a personal and deep relationship with Christ, an approach that has helped in his experience with youth ministry, Wilcoxen says.

“It’s a relevance with fire, a passion for outside the four walls, reaching this generation,” he says. “It’s getting past our own ideas, our own biases, our own religion ideas and really get sold out into a relationship with Christ and so focused on that that nothing else matters.”

Although he doesn’t consider himself a counselor, he pursued is advanced degrees in counseling to be able to provide faith-based guidance to members of congregations as needed, Wilcoxen says.

“I’ve seen a lot of ministers and a lot of different ministries where people were counseling people and really had no business doing it because they were in some extreme situations,” he says. “I wanted to be a unique pastor in the sense that I wasn’t just trained in ministry, but I was trained in counseling, too.”

His hope is that King Hill Christian Church will become a “mothering church in the community,” Wilcoxen says, where members of the community can come for guidance, prayer and support even if they don’t regularly attend the church.

“It’s something that I think is unique in a sense, actually really caring about people and seeing them through the eyes of Christ,” he says. “Not seeing them through judgement. Not seeing that they aren’t dressed this way or that they act that way. That’s not important. What is important is that we love them. That just burns inside me.”

Worship service is held at 10:30 a.m. Sundays following a 9 a.m. fellowship time at the church, 5828 King Hill Ave. He sees the value the church already puts on relationships and hopes to continue to develop those relationships and support the church provides, Wilcoxen says.

“I believe we are headed that way. I don’t believe we’ve arrived. Of course, I don’t think we ever arrive anywhere. We are always growing That’s probably the most important piece, that we see that growth,” he says. “Not just numerically, but spiritually.”

To access the original article, click here .

To learn more about King Hill Christian Church, click here .

About SAGU:
Southwestern Assemblies of God University is a private, Christian university located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas. The university was established in 1927, and now offers more than 70 associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees on campus or online. More information is available at or by calling 1-888-YES-SAGU.

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