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'It's All God': How This Butcher-Turned-Pastor Led Hundreds to Christ

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A Kentucky pastor who’s been preaching for decades offered a simple but powerful blueprint for sharing the Gospel — and a reminder every Christian should heed.

In a world where it’s easy to overthink evangelism and spreading the faith, Bobby Eaton told Kentucky Today his secret to spreading the faith and growing his church is totally centered on the Lord.

“It’s all God,” he said of his evangelistic efforts.

The 77-year-old hasn’t always been a preacher.

“I was a butcher who ran a meat market for 31 years,” Eaton said.

But he eventually realized God had big plans to use him to spread the Gospel.

Eaton, pastor of Poplar Grove Baptist Church in Corbin, Kentucky, described what unfolded 20 years ago when he was asked to fill in for the then-pastor, who was suffering from cancer.

The tiny church had just 20 people in its services, which left Eaton stunned. Based on nearby homes, he expected far more people to be in the pews, Kentucky Today reported.

“I told my wife, ‘That church should be running 150,'” he said. “I took Poplar Grove as a bivocational pastor, and the Lord started blessing. We hit all those neighborhoods. We’ve just kept growing and growing, even though there aren’t many kids in those subdivisions.”

That growth continued and, two decades later, the church now has about 300 people in each service. Membership and church activity have grown under Eaton’s leadership.

Still, he takes no credit, repeatedly telling the outlet it was all God.

As for Eaton’s general ministry skills, he took some classes to hone his craft in evangelism but said he typically keeps the message simple, often using the “Romans Road” tool to share the Christian faith — a simple reiteration of Paul sharing the Gospel in the book of Romans.

And that simple approach to sharing the truth has made a big impact. According to Kentucky Today, in addition to Eaton growing his current church, he also led around 300 people to the Lord during his 13 years on staff at Central Baptist and Immanuel Baptist and while working as a chaplain at Baptist Health.

Read more about his powerful story here.

It’s interesting to see pastors keeping things simple and seeing God work. Eaton is hardly alone in his approach, with other pastors and revivalists sharing similar tactics and stories — journeys that should inspire all Christians to realize the Gospel is enough to change hearts and minds.

As CBN Digital previously reported, North Carolina preacher Ralph Sproles, who has spent nearly seven decades sharing the Gospel, revealed last month the simple secret he believes is crucial to any preacher’s success.

“Just love your people,” Sproles told WGHP-TV. “If you don’t love people, you’re not going to be effective in the ministry.”

Sproles, who is in his late 80s and still preaching at revivals and delivering occasional sermons, said this essential lesson is one every pastor must heed. Showing love for a congregation — and for people more generally — is at the very heart of any successful ministry, he said.

“I’m a hugging preacher,” he added. “I hug people.”

Sproles also spoke about the importance of intentionally vocalizing his care and feelings for others, noting doing so is an expression of true faith and devotion.

“I tell people I love them,” he said. “When I see them at church, I say, ‘I want you to know I love you,’ because they don’t hear enough of that. That’s what the Christian life is about.” 

These pastors’ approach — one rooted in truth and love — is changing hearts and minds. Read more about Sproles here.

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About The Author

Billy Hallowell writes for CBN's He has been working in journalism and media for more than a decade. His writings have appeared in CBN News, Faithwire, Deseret News, TheBlaze, Human Events, Mediaite, PureFlix, and Fox News, among other outlets. He is the author of several books, including Playing with Fire: A Modern Investigation Into Demons, Exorcism, and Ghosts Hallowell has a B.A. in journalism and broadcasting from the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, New York and an M.S. in social research from Hunter College in Manhattan, New York.