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Georgia native begins new Southern Baptist ministry in eastern Idaho


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IDAHO FALLS – Pastor Jimmy Horsley and his wife, Bonnie, are beginning a ministry at a new church in Idaho Falls.

Reach Church held its first worship service Sunday in an old warehouse at 2382 West Omni Drive.

Jimmy tells the church is an affiliate of Calvary Baptist Church at 785 1st Street and is governed by the North American Mission Board, a southern Baptist church-planting entity.

“We’re just teaching the truth of who Jesus Christ is … (and) that the Bible is the truth,” Horsley says.

The church’s mission is focused on the Biblical verse Acts 1:8, which says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Referencing the church’s mission, Horsley says, “I always want to be part of an Acts 1:8 church and not an ‘Acts too late’ church.”

Horsley and his wife first came to Idaho Falls about five years ago while on vacation. They made a point to attend church on Sunday no matter where they were and they found Calvary Baptist Church when they got to Idaho Falls.

“The reason we picked Calvary is because the former associate pastor, who recently passed away from COVID, was a missionary to the Welsh people near England. It just so happens that my family has Welsh roots. That intrigued me and I said, ‘We’ve got to go to that church,'” he says.

He later learned the pastor was Matt McGukin from Kelton, Georgia, the same place Horsley and his wife are from.

“So basically I drove 2,300 miles to meet somebody from my hometown,” Horsley says, laughing.

During their trip out west, they noticed there weren’t a lot of Southern Baptist churches in this part of the country. McGukin eventually mentioned they were looking for “church planters.”

Horsley and his wife thought about that, and when they got back home, they felt the call to begin a ministry in Idaho.

“God placed Idaho in our hearts, so we moved out here about four years ago in our camper and ended up purchasing a house on the west side of town,” he says. “We love it here. People often ask me how long I plan on staying and my answer to that is, ‘I plan on dying in Idaho … (unless) God calls me somewhere else.'”

The 40-year-old Georgia native has been a pastor for about 10 years now, but his conversion to Christ happened when he was 15. His dad passed away two years prior, which caused Horsley to become “a bit unruly.” He remembers his 8th-grade math and English teacher picking him up and taking him to church every Sunday.

“It was a process of hearing the gospel over and over again and one day realizing, ‘Oh man, I am lost and without hope and I need Jesus,'” says Horsley. “I knelt down behind a Suzuki Samurai on Gum Creek Airport Road in Roosterville, Georgia and that’s where I received Christ.”

After about 15 years, Horsley felt like God was calling him to be a pastor so that’s what he did.

His goal is to eventually plant another church somewhere in eastern Idaho. He doesn’t know what that looks like or when that will be, but he’s looking forward to his ministry and watching his Idaho Falls congregation grow.

He’s inviting you to come and worship with him this Sunday. Services begin at 5:30 p.m.

“We’re a who-so-ever church — whosoever wants to come, we don’t turn anybody away,” Horsley says. “We’d love to have people come and worship Christ with us.”