Reverend Keith Boyette said “yes” at key junctures of his life when he sensed a call from God to move into a new role. Each “yes” launched him into utilizing his gifts and heart for the kingdom. He is now the Transitional Connectional Officer of the Global Methodist Church. Yet Reverend Boyette’s journey began with his being an atypical seminary student.
Boyette practiced law in Virginia for 13 years before he first discerned a clear call to ministry. He had come to know Asbury Seminary through the works of professors such as David McKenna and Bob Mulholland, and he had connections with folks such as Maxie Dunnam and Ellsworth Kalas. “So it was not a hard decision for me to come to Asbury,” he says.
Answering God’s call meant leaving a job he enjoyed and uprooting his life. He arrived in Wilmore with his wife and three children and lived in a house near both Donald Demaray and J.T. Seamands. Boyette was admitted to the bar of KY and practiced law on the side while working towards his M.Div. His legal career was enthusiastically utilized by some in the Seminary community. He got to know some professors while doing their estate planning. He served on the board of Ichthus, represented Good News Magazine in legal matters, and even represented Asbury Seminary as part of its legal counsel, for significantly reduced rates.
Boyette immersed himself in the Asbury Seminary community in typical ways as well. He joined a discipleship group (now called a DNA group), and, over 30 years later, he is still friends with them. “It’s as if we never really left that small group in terms of the connections,” Boyette says. He also loved the academic aspect of Asbury Seminary: learning inductive Bible study, the ancient languages, preaching and teaching.
Back in Virginia after graduation, Boyette was appointed by the United Methodist conference to a rural, 150-member church in decline. The congregation quadrupled in size while Boyette served there.
After four years, Boyette reached a new fork in the road where he said “yes” once again to his discernment of God’s calling on his life. Boyette’s desire for a transition had come about when his congregation didn’t share his vision for evangelism. “I loved the people, the people loved me. I probably would have been there longer, but I have a heart for people coming to know Jesus,” he explains. So Boyette moved to God’s next appointment for him in 1998 as church planter and founding pastor of Wilderness Community Church. The mission of Wilderness was to reach those far from God—Boyette’s heart and passion.
And this church did exactly that. The majority of those who became members of Wilderness during Boyette’s time there had no prior faith commitment or had drifted away. “There was great excitement amongst the congregation. We baptized 66 adults in the first baptism service of the church. It was a very exhilarating time to be a part of that,” says Boyette, who as a lay person had been given the Harry Denman award, an evangelism award, from his conference. “God has blessed me with the gift of evangelism. You probably aren’t going to have a conversation of more than a few minutes before I’m gonna turn it to, “Well, tell me about your relationship with Jesus, and tell me about how you’re pursuing that relationship today.””
Meanwhile, Boyette continued to use his law experience to serve God. In 2000, the United Methodist General Conference elected him to the Judicial Council, “the denomination’s supreme court,” on which he served until 2008, including as secretary of council. Boyette says that this term “combined legal training and theological training in my love for the church.”
Boyette continued as pastor of Wilderness and looked forward to celebrating his 20th anniversary as its pastor. But at year 19, Boyette sensed that God had other plans and said “yes” once again. “There was a need for a group that would focus on the future of the church for those who are theologically conservative,” Boyette says. The Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) was born out of this need in 2016. Boyette was elected president of the WCA, marking his transition away from Wilderness. The WCA became a catalyst for the forming of the Global Methodist Church (GMC). Boyette explains that, in the aftermath of the 2019 special general conference, he participated in a mediation effort that produced the Protocol for Grace and Reconciliation through Separation. When the United Methodist Church’s General Conference was canceled for a third time, The Global Methodist Church, a theologically conservative body, emerged.
Boyette first served as chair of the GMC’s transitional leadership council. When operations for the GMC began, Boyette left his presidency of the WCA and transitioned to his current role in the GMC as Transitional Connectional Officer. “My legal training and education and my experience has been used in so many ways in my roles… I tell people, the skillset to be an attorney, and the skillset to be a pastor, overlap in amazing ways,” says Boyette.
According to Boyette, he looks back on his life and says he was ignorant about what God was doing, yet God obviously had a plan for him. “The watchword for my life is obedience to God,” Boyette says. “Jesus said that you love God by obeying Him…. I’m just very privileged to have the opportunity to do these things. I don’t have all the resources and tools that I need. But I’ve also learned over my lifetime I don’t need them. If God is in it… He will accomplish His work, oftentimes in spite of me.”
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