Meeting Pastors has been a great experience for our family. However, seeing a pastor’s work when we knew him before he became a pastor is both humbling & encouraging. We were privileged to spend a few days with Pastor & Mrs. Joe Kobernat of the First Baptist Church of Geneseo, Illinois. We have known their family for many years. In fact, the Kobernat’s were members of Berean Baptist Church in Rockford, Illinois prior to accepting the pastorate in October of 1996. Susan had the privilege to learn from Pastor Kobernat when he taught at the Christian school. She, and many others, have often reminisced about his teaching at Berean and his heart for the students. Many young people who are now very successful had the privilege to learn from him.
As Susan recalls, the students of Berean were sad to say, “Good-bye” to the Kobernat family, however it did not come as a surprise that God would choose to use Joe Kobernat in this capacity. Since the Kobernat’s have taken the pastorate at First Baptist Church, the church has grown by leaps and bounds. They have built and added on new additions, began outreach ministries to nearby towns in their county and have sent countless young people to Bible college to find God’s will In their lives. Pastor & Mrs. Kobernat have raised and are raising seven amazing, godly children. Two of whom are on staff at different Bible colleges around the country, one son who serves as Youth Pastor/Assistant Pastor there at First Baptist and others faithfully serving in a local church.
In a town of 6,500, they are currently averaging 250 people weekly. For a church in a rural area, this ratio is astounding. They are currently planning to build an entirely new 3 million dollar facility to accommodate the growing numbers. They anticipate to break ground by the summer of 2011. This multi-purpose campus will include a new gymnasium, seating for up-to 600 in the sanctuary, fellowship hall, and more classroom space. This new facility has been a dream come true for First Baptist. The members have already raised a substantial amount to facilitate this new endeavor. Soon First Baptist Church will be able to expand their ministry to even great heights. God has given their congregation a great heart of giving which has allowed them to see miracles take place regarding their new building process. This congregation truly does have hearts of gold! The membership consists of hardworking, average middle class families, but there is no average giving in this ministry. Many members have sacrificed and given extra to see the work of the Lord progress in their humble little mid-western town.
Pastor Joe Kobernat
First Baptist Church
327 S. Center St.
Geneseo, IL. 61254
tel. (309) 944-3735