New Lebanon Baptist Church is pleased to announce the hiring of John Cotton for the position of full-time pastor. The church has been without a pastor for several years.
NLBC was founded in 1868 by a group of believers meeting at Baker School in Kilbourne. One year later they moved into their newly built sanctuary, located between Easton and Kilbourne near Crane Creek. At that time, men entered through the north door and sat on the north side of the church; women entered and sat on the south.
Aside from an eight year span during World War II, New Lebanon Baptist has offered up praise and worship at that location ever since.
WW II veteran Paul Jockisch came to the church in 1950. He and his family still attend today, and are among the core faithful that kept the church functioning while it was without a pastor. Paul is thrilled that the church now has a Baptist Pastor.
“My oldest daughter works in Manito,” Jockisch says. “She knew of John because he preached there. My son got in touch with him and he preached for us.
“I think we’ve got a good pastor. He’s done very well so far. He’s gone all through Easton calling on people, and I know he plans to do that other places. He’s a real hard worker.”
John Cotton, owner/operator of J’s Place family restaurant in Emden, was raised in the Baptist Church and felt called to preach as a boy, but he took his life in another direction.
“I ran from the idea of preaching for God,” Cotton says. “I got a good paying job that brought me some wealth. I focused on worldly things, and on providing for my family.
“Eight years ago I suffered a ruptured disk and had to resign my position. God made it so I couldn’t run anymore. It was then that I truly surrendered my life.
“To say that I immersed myself in the word of God would be an understatement. I attended three services a week (at Park Meadows Baptist in Lincoln), took part in several ministries, attended and taught Sunday school, and surrounded myself with men who loved the Lord and studied the Word.”
Four years ago, Cotton felt called to be a pastor again, and the Lord opened up opportunities that equipped him. He began to preach at nursing homes and as a fill-in pastor. Individuals began coming to him for spiritual counseling. He preached as a fill-in at New Lebanon Baptist Church, and soon realized this was where God wanted him.
“I’m obsessed with the word of God,” Pastor Cotton says. “I believe it’s God’s will that we share His truth in order to help people. I believe every word I preach and I think when people hear me they get a sense of that.”
Cotton counts his wife and their three children as part of his ministry. “Tina has a heart for people, same as I do. When I’m gone so many hours counseling people, that’s a sacrifice my family makes.”
Sunday School at New Lebanon Baptist Church begins at 10:00 a.m. Sunday Service is at 11:00 a.m. For directions and information call Pastor John Cotton at 217-871-5700 or enter “8542 N Crk 2200e Kilbourne, IL 62655” into your GPS. All are welcome.