DR. KENNON VAUGHAN

My Story

When I was 13 years old, a counselor at a Christian sports camp shared with me the Gospel, and though I’m sure I had heard it before in church, it was like God gave me ears to hear it and eyes to see it for the very first time that day. Something happened inside of me, and I was convicted of my sin, and my need for salvation by grace, and I placed my trust in Christ. I felt the weight of sin lifted. I had new desires and new affections. I felt like a new creation! But I didn't know what to do next. I had no knowledge of the Bible, and no idea how to grow in my faith.

When I got home from camp, I knew I needed to share with my dad what happened. I was the only son, sandwiched between two sisters, and naturally, dad was my hero. He was a great man, but he was not a particularly spiritual man. So one night over dinner, I tried to get my story out. I tried to tell him what had happened, but I felt like a giraffe on ice. I stumbled over the words. I couldn’t seem to convey anything clearly. It was really awkward, and we never spoke of it again.

A few years later, dad was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, and given only months to live. I was devastated. I cried out to God, begging Him to heal my father, and in my hurt, He drew near. It’s hard to explain this, but I felt closer to Jesus than I had ever felt before. His Presence literally sustained me, and though I lost my dad, I gained real intimacy with Christ.

From the moment He saved me, God has mercifully continued to draw me to Himself. Even in my unfaithfulness, He is faithful. He has been incredibly gracious to put Godly men in my life who have taught me His Word and modeled Christ before me. As a young man in ministry, Roy “Soup” Campbell became a spiritual father to me, and my relationship with Soup was my first taste of Biblical discipleship. We met weekly, and as Soup taught me God’s Word, he showed me God’s love, and his life served as a blueprint for how to follow Christ.

Later I had the chance to study the Bible under Pastor Tommy Nelson as a part of his “Young Guns” program, where I would literally sit in my chair in the wee hours of the morning, marveling at the beauty of God’s Word. I went on to complete a Masters in Biblical Studies from Dallas Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from Gordon Conwell, and during my time in post-graduate work, God gave me two more mentors in “Prof” Howard Hendricks and Dr. Robert Coleman. Being with them as they followed Christ was better than any textbook I ever read, and having them pour into my life has been a gift beyond words. In each of these relationships, God allowed me to walk closely with men who walk closely with Him, and each one of their lives has marked me in an indelible way.

Through these relationships, God gave me a deep passion for discipleship and a burden for the local church, and at His leading, I started Downline Ministries in 2006 to help churches more effectively train their leaders to make disciples. Over my years of service with Downline, God was also preparing my heart for pastoral leadership, and slowly but surely I felt led to plant a church built around the Gospel and making disciples. After a season of praying and processing with my wife, the elders of my church, and close friends and mentors, I was commissioned to plant Harvest Church in Memphis in October 2013. It is such a privilege to pastor a church so loving, so authentic, and so deeply committed to God’s Word and the Great Commission, and I stand in awe at the work God is doing in and through Harvest to make disciples in our community and to the ends of the Earth.

I’m married to my sweet Kathryn, who is mom extraordinaire to our four boys: Caleb, Luke, Jonathan, and David. I love reading classics, playing sports, riding my bike, grilling out, DATE NIGHT, and doing ANYTHING with my boys, who are the delight of my heart!

My Hope For Harvest

My hope for Harvest is that we would be ever captivated by the Gospel, and in response to God’s grace we would love others sincerely, preach the Word boldly, worship God passionately, and disciple others intentionally as we surrender our lives together in joyful obedience to our King…and in so doing, that we would truly be a Gospel-driven, disciple-making Church.