A pastor’s call to unite believers in Jesus Christ from all walks of life has published a book that reflects the mission of his ministry.
Alive Church Pastor Ken Claytor’s book titled “As It’s in Heaven” was released on August 7 and the book signing was held at the church’s location in Gainesville, located at 5805 NW 37th St., after Sunday morning worship at church.
The book provides insight into how a church that truly looks like heaven can help heal a racially divided nation.
“It’s been a lot of sacrifice and rewards,” Claytor said. “The big reward is seeing change in people’s lives. We’re used to changing lives, fighting addictions, and fixing marriages.”
Claytor was born in West Virginia and studied business at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia, and later worked in real estate in the Washington DC area.
Claytor says God called him to move to Gainesville to continue his ministry he started as “Spirit of Faith” in 2005. In 2007, Claytor and his wife, Tabatha Claytor, moved to Gainesville from Washington DC.
“The only time I was in Gainesville was when I raced at the Junior Olympics,” said Ken Claytor. “I didn’t know anyone in town.”
His ministry in Gainesville started with five people in their living room and they met weekly at the Phillips Performing Arts Center located on the University of Florida campus after hosting services at Thelma Bolton Center and a building on North 15th Street -east and 23rd ave.
A few years later, God began to birth a new vision in his heart, a vision that would bring people together regardless of race, ethnicity, or economic status.
“It’s a barrier that God wants us to break down,” Claytor said. “I wanted the church to look like heaven. I wanted the church to show unity regardless of race because we are united in heaven.”
In 2014, Alive Church was launched and now, every Sunday, hundreds of people are reached at its Orlando and Gainesville campuses and online.
Claytor has been married to his wife Tabatha for over 20 years and has three children – Hannah, Charity and Kenny.
Claytor said the hardest part of writing the book was being vulnerable. He said he faced racism in middle and high school and how we overcame it.
“God delivered me from that to bring people together regardless of their complexion,” Claytor said. “God has given me the grace to speak on difficult subjects. There is a boldness and a kingdom perspective that is needed. It is a perspective that needs to be heard and I want to obey God. The church should show the path in unity.”
Claytor said the book has personal experiences and provides readers with tools they can use to create racial unity in their lives that resembles the kingdom of God.
“This book lasted 10 years,” Claytor said. “I wrote this book for pastors, leaders and everyday believers. It is refreshing regardless of race and they will feel closer to Jesus. It has tools for someone to be a part of the solution.”
Pastors Jimmy and Sheri Still joined Alive Church five years ago on Easter Sunday.
They come from Kentucky where they went to a Pentecostal church, and they said
Claytor’s book reflects the man and the vision he preaches about racial unity every Sunday.
“He talks about it and he shows it every Sunday,” Jimmy Still said. “It does the will of God. Every pastor in America needs this book. Leaders are readers.”
Patrick Namiotka, a youth leader at Alive Church, said Claytor’s commitment and dedication to bringing people together, regardless of race, is a testament to his leadership as a pastor to carry out the mission. of unity and love of Jesus.
“Healing the racial divide has been in his heart ever since I met him,” Namiotka said. “Some churches do not want change. We know that Sunday is the most segregated day. [Claytor] has been brilliant with his intentions to break this cycle. One day he preached to the congregation to invite different races into their homes. It’s his real heart.”
Labor Davis said he had attended Alive Church for 11 years.
During this time, he saw the evolution of Claytor’s ministry and his vision unfold.
“It’s the most needed message in the church culture of this generation,” Davis said. “This book and this message explains the why and the how. That’s why the church is so diverse. It’s amazing to see him still standing in faith and having his character intact in the face of challenges. Watching him preach the message is powerful.”
Pastors Melanie and Neil Guistwite are the first couple Claytor married in a wedding ceremony, and were also there with Claytor when his ministry was established.
“We love the word that pastors Ken and Tabatha teach,” Melanie Guistwite said. “It’s non-denominational and straight out of the Bible. The Bible comes alive with its teachings.”
She said Claytor was chosen to bring the vision of Heaven on Earth to life.
“I believe he is the right person through whom God speaks,” Melanie Guistwite said. “He never renounces the mission that God has entrusted to him.”
She said the book is a great tool for creating racial unity in the world as God intended.
“The book is a labor of love and it really builds a world that feels like heaven,” Guistwite said. “If we really want to be like Jesus, we have to start with churches. I work for God and what an honor it is to be on this journey with pastors.”
To order Pastor Claytor’s book, “As It’s in Heaven,” visit www.kenclaytor.com.