FREDONIA, Ky. (KT) — Taking the gospel outside the church walls is something David Little has consistently promoted during his time as pastor of Dexter Baptist Church in Calloway County. That vision includes taking the gospel behind other walls — prison walls in Little’s situation — and he has seen God work miraculously in that process.
“God has been good to allow this country boy to go there and share Jesus,” Little observed. He has pastored Dexter Baptist for almost 11 years and has been employed at Western Kentucky Correctional Complex since 2006. He currently is maintenance branch manager at the segregated, dual-sex, medium-security prison, but began as a mechanic at the facility.
He started serving as a volunteer chaplain in 2006 and joined in working with HR Ministries in its various programs. But in recent months his opportunities to preach to groups of men and women in the institution have significantly increased.
Little said his wife, Sandy, and other women from the church work with the Celebrate Recovery program for women in the prison on Tuesday nights. “Every third Tuesday they’d have a guest speaker preach, and sometimes I would preach, sometimes other preachers would and other times they would have a lady give her testimony.
“Then COVID-19 hit, and volunteers were not allowed in the prison,” he said, noting that measures were put in place that effectively halted programs such as Celebrate Recovery and Rubies for Life. “The warden (Bobbi Jo Butts) asked me to start preaching on Tuesday nights. I said ‘Yes, I’ll preach to them.’”
A few weeks later, Deputy Warden for Programs Chris Hatton asked Little if he would preach to men as well. “I was tickled that she came up with the idea,” Little said, and a plan was adopted for him to preach to women on the odd Tuesdays in a month and the men on the even Tuesdays.
On his first Tuesday preaching to the women, Little used the 3 Circles presentation, and five professions of faith were made. On the third Tuesday new women showed up at the session, and two were saved. On his first session preaching to the men, one was saved while several responded by asking for prayer and making rededications.
“Todd Gray taught us Three Circles. We’ve used it at our church and at Job Corps. I had one deacon say he used Three Circles to lead someone to the Lord. Our song leader, Brandon Shropshire, has been preaching at Ledbetter Baptist the last two Sundays. This past Sunday he called and said he ended the service with Three Circles and a man was saved.
“We’re a small church but very mission-minded,” said Little. “We do a lot of work for the community. In the last 10 years, I’ve seen them (church members) grow and do mission work. They have the gift of hospitality. Before COVID, we did a tent revival — it was the first time for the church to have a tent revival.”
Little said that even during COVID, the church has seen God at work. “We’ve baptized several during COVID — we had some church members get saved then.” He applauded the church for its support. “It’s because of them that I am able to drive to prison and back. They are part of what I am doing — they pray for and support me.”
Harrell Riley, executive director of HR Ministries, said Little has “served alongside and with us in various forms over the past 14 years. In particular, during the COVID situation, we were looking for an avenue in the prison."
Riley said Little being a staff member played a key role in the opportunity. "David has a heart for inmates and a heart for those who are harassed and helpless — he wants them to know Jesus. He has taken every opportunity to share the gospel.”
Riley pointed out that not only does Little work there full time, but he spends an extra five to six hours a week of his own time to meet the needs and minister inside prison walls.