Vincent McCaskill says it was a “Damascus Road Experience” which has led him to go into ministry and be the founding pastor of By God Inspired Fellowship in what was a former motorcycle dealership location in Horn Lake.
While McCaskill never was actively persecuting God, as Saul did before the experience on the road that led him to become the Apostle Paul, he said there was a defining moment that spoke to him to leave the career track of television news and public relations and to start moving toward leading a church.
“My calling came in 2010,” McCaskill said. “I’ve always loved the Lord, I was really not walking in the fullness of the assignment and ministry that God had called me to do.”
Where McCaskill was first walking was in a television newsroom. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi in journalism, McCaskill was seen on Memphis station WHBQ-TV in the early 1990s, when the station was an ABC affiliate.
From there, he worked in New Orleans and Raleigh, N.C. stations before he and his pregnant wife left North Carolina and McCaskill took a job working in communications at the University of Mississippi. They later moved to Southaven and he commuted to work in Oxford each day for about three years.
“That was the best move I could have made, although it didn’t look that way on the surface,” McCaskill said. “It was a repositioning moment. Although our income became much smaller, we never missed a beat. God always provided for us.”
McCaskill took on a position in the Memphis (now Shelby County) school system and his wife Rhonda went to work at Delta Medical Center.
Vincent now works as the Executive Director of SchoolSeed Foundation in addition to his pastoral duties. SchoolSeed is independent of the Shelby County Schools, but is entrusted to raise money for the district’s programs where federal, state and local money are not available. SchoolSeed also coordinates community efforts to support the district’s public schools in Memphis and Shelby County, Tenn.
While the McCaskills were transitioning to life in DeSoto County, the urging grew to follow God’s calling to minister and the couple began holding Bible studies and church services at the Southaven Holiday Inn.
While continuing to work in the school system, McCaskill became an ordained minister through the Downline Discipleship Institute of Memphis. Brown Missionary Baptist Pastor Bartholomew Orr became a mentor of McCaskill during his growth in the Word.
Eight months ago, the church left the hotel and now resides in the former Harley Davidson dealership at 6935 Windchase Drive, off Goodman Road West in Horn Lake.
“We always joke and say ‘the hogs have gone to heaven,’” McCaskill said. “The people who owned Southern Thunder leased this building for about a year before they built the facility on Church Road.”
Regardless of the history, By God Inspired Fellowship is about worship without being tied to tradition. The non-denominational church welcomes a growing number of worshippers each week that now range between 100-150 on a given Sunday who seek to honor God without the “crutch” of traditions.
“I don’t want man-made tradition-isms to get in the way of people having that authentic connection with Jesus Christ,” McCaskill said. “What we try to do here in our multi-cultural, multi-ethnic congregation is be intentional about bridging the gap between cultures. Everything we do is inspired by God.”
Members of By God Inspired Fellowship are also encouraged to not keep their faith inside of the walls of the church building but actively preach it to the world.
“In Hebrews 10:25 it is written, ‘We are not to forsake the assembly of the believers,’” McCaskill said. “Coming together is important. You come together to be equipped, but you are not being equipped to sit in a pew. You are equipped to be the church in the community.”
In addition to Sunday services held at 10:30 each Sunday morning, BGI Fellowship offers Wednesday night Bible Study and activities for teenagers and children alike. McCaskill also holds Monday evening “Fireside Chats” to answer questions and discuss topics that affect a person’s faith.
More information about BGI Fellowship may be found at bygodinspired.org. The church also has a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
“We’re called to be peacemakers,” McCaskill said. “Not to let people run over us, that’s very different. God gives us eyes to understand the biggest issue among people is their unwillingness to get to know each other. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.