BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (BP) – The turbulence of the past few years has left many young adults feeling lost and searching for answers to spiritual questions. That description fit Kenneth Durlin, a young man recently baptized through the Kairos ministry at Brentwood Baptist Church.
The 34-year-old Durlin said his spiritual journey started in the summer of 2019, even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Describing his summer as “rough,” Durlin said going through a divorce was one of many reasons he began searching for hope and answers in the Bible.
Despite growing up in the South, Durlin said he had never once been to a church before attending a Kairos service in the fall of 2019 and had never read the Bible before the weeks leading up to that service.
“I was trying to find some kind of hope and faith and a path in life,” Durlin said. “When you’re lost, that is what you are looking for. You’re looking for some kind of guidance, path or direction to move forward. I had no idea what I was getting into when I read the Bible.”
Durlin said his family never had an opportunity to attend church because his father worked seven days a week. His family didn’t really read the Bible in the home either, so he had no context of Christianity other than what he heard from the media or other sources.
He began his search by opening the Bible and Googling “hopeful” verses, trying to find some encouragement.
“I was kind off just lost and unhappy in life, and I just needed some guidance and some help,” Durlin said.
After a couple weeks of this, he began looking for churches to attend, and someone recommended Kairos, the young adults and college ministry at Brentwood Baptist.
Durlin appreciated that the Tuesday night service worked better with his work schedule, and he enjoyed the music. Yet, the most important factor for Durlin was the Gospel message preached during the service.
Having been deeply impacted by the message, Durlin followed the church’s prompts for the next steps to get involved with the ministry. This led to a meeting with Matthew Purdom, discipleship minister for Kairos, the very next day at the church’s café on campus.
During this meeting, Purdom shared the Gospel with Durlin, and he prayed to receive Christ. Purdom called the meeting one of the most “effortless” conversations in sharing the Gospel he’s ever experienced.
Purdom immediately invited Durlin to his Bible study and began discipling him – something he insists is a key component to the Kairos ministry.
“I think one of the biggest keys to reaching millennials and Gen Z is just being with them in the rhythms of life,” Purdom said. “We tell them to read the Bible and to study, but really the measure of loving them is simply to do the spiritual practices and disciplines with them.”
Durlin echoed this sentiment about the importance of the Bible study for him personally.
“I think the Bible study is what I got the most from,” Durlin said. “He (Purdom) was the biggest help in the world. After only going to church a couple times and reading the Bible on your own, it is a little overwhelming.
“He was a great teacher, and what was great with him was he brought it down to a level where a beginner could get going and understand it. He was also there if I ever had a question about anything. His teaching and everything else helped me continue on. I never really got discouraged because he was always around.”
As Durlin began studying Scripture, he became convicted about his need to be baptized. Plans were in place for him to be baptized during a Kairos service in March 2020, just before COVID-19 shutdowns began.
Kairos eventually began holding services on Sunday nights, but work commitments and COVID-19 concerns kept Durlin from being able to attend.
After staying connected to the church as much as possible and watching services online, Durlin began attending Kairos again immediately when services returned to Tuesday nights last fall.
Durlin and Purdom also resumed plans for baptism. Durlin was finally baptized, along with another young man, during a Kairos service Dec. 7.
Purdom hopes baptism represents not finality for Durlin, but a new beginning.
“In some ways him being a faithful disciple and being baptized is a new beginning for him to then look to make other disciples and baptize them one day,” Purdom said.
Durlin encouraged other young adults to find the help and hope they need through a local church.
“I’m now able to see the bigger picture of life, and the bigger picture of living a God-centered life,” Durlin said. “I know God loves me and I’m going to do what’s right to have my relationship with God. The decisions that I make are in reference to doing right with God. I feel like God has given me so much, and he is a part of everything in my life.
“When you feel lost in life you feel like there’s no opportunity to get yourself on track and not feel lost, but there is, and it’s church and everything that it offers. All you have to do is seek someone out and ask for help.”