Byron couple bucks religious tradition

Sun News correspondentAugust 14, 2013 

MICHAEL W. PANNELL/SPECIAL TO THE SUN NEWSKen and Barbara King explored many churches before Jacob’s Well Ministries and found them spiritually empty. Ken King is pastor of Jacob’s Well, which he says pays close attention to Christianity’s Jewish roots.

BYRON -- Ken and Barbara King said the church building they meet in with the congregation of Jacob’s Well Ministries was built about 1904. It’s still surrounded by crop-producing fields and sits by Jordan Chapel Cemetery just off Ga. 42.

Ken King, 74, was born near Hazlehurst in the same house his father was born. He said he’s a third-generation, semi-retired lumber and timber man with assets in south Georgia.

Barbara King was born in a clinic in Byron and grew up in Fort Valley.

The two met at Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus then moved to Atlanta, where they lived for 43 years, raised a daughter and chased the American Dream -- he in the timber business and she as an English professor.

They said when they die, they’ll be the fifth generation buried in a Crawford County family plot.

Their story sounds traditionally Southern, and it is. But they said when it comes to tradition, there’s one thing they hate: religious tradition.

“People are hungry for God today and for the power of God,” Ken King said. “People are sick and tired of the traditions of denominational theology and want something that’s real, something alive. That’s the reason we hate religious tradition. We want people to know a real and living Jesus who saves, heals, delivers and gives abundant life. Not just about him.”

Ken and Barbara King said their lives were changed forever in 1990.

“We were nominal Christians,” Ken King said. “In 1990, we had an encounter with God and Barb was healed of Parkinson’s disease. We were baptized in the Holy Spirit and have operated in the gifts of the Holy Spirit ever since. The traditions of men don’t matter to us like they did for so long.”

Ken King said in the early 1990s he and his wife read the Bible non-stop as well as works of early Christian writers, historians and Jewish historians. Ken King said his mother was a Jew who married a gentile and he considers himself a Messianic Jew. Though Jacob’s Well is not a Messianic fellowship, he said it pays close attention to Christianity’s Jewish roots.

Before coming back to Middle Georgia four years ago, Barbara King said they had a church in their home in Atlanta for 27 years. They began doing the same here.

“We tried a number of churches in the area and found them to be quite dead spiritually” Ken King said. “We met other people with the same problem and started getting together. We outgrew our home and started meeting here on Giles Road four months ago. Our meetings aren’t traditional at all and vary week to week. They might last two or three or four hours. We have messianic dancing and allow the expression of the gifts of the spirit.”

Ken and Barbara King said they minister at the Peach County jail and have seen hundreds saved. In part, providing a church for former inmates led to the founding of the Jacob’s Well. The Kings are certain they’re right where God wants them.

“A trustee of the property here told us many years ago a lady pastor spoke at the church and stopped her sermon to tell the congregation one day another group would meet here that would bring the fire and power of the Holy Spirit,” Ken King said. “I don’t know how long ago or who she was, but I believe God prepared this building for us from the beginning of time.”

Contact Michael W. Pannell at

Jacob’s Well Ministries

Address: 1740 Giles Road, Byron, Ga.

Phone: (478) 225-5753

Leadership: Ken King, pastor

Worship: Sunday worship 10:30 a.m., Bible study Monday 7 p.m., Wednesday service 7 p.m.

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