MONTREAL—Numbers don’t do justice in describing the last two years for Kevin and Casey Kilgore and their family, but it’s a start. In just a little more than 24 months, the Kilgores have surpassed 70,000 miles traveled in their RV. They’ve visited and encouraged 265 pastors and missionaries. They’ve been to 48 out of 50 U.S. states.
And as of September 16, with the family’s visit to Montreal, they’ve encouraged church planters in all 32 of Send Network’s Send Cities. Ask what they’ve learned about North American missions in the process of this epic journey, and Kevin Kilgore doesn’t hesitate.
No matter the size of the community or the region of the continent they visit, Kevin sees a need for new, gospel-centered churches to push back lostness throughout North America.
“Church planters are rock stars,” Kevin said. “In our minds, they’re our heroes. They’re doing something that’s very, very difficult. Starting new churches is not easy. That’s why NAMB talks about churches planting churches. The denomination doesn’t do it. Individuals don’t do it. But when churches can get behind planting churches, then that’s when we’ve seen the greatest success.”
God began leading the Kilgores toward this missions adventure not long after a tumultuous 2020. On top of all the turmoil everyone faced during that year, the Kilgores lost their beloved pastor, Fred Evers of Northside Baptist Church in Tifton, Georgia. Kevin had served as the church’s associate pastor for 14 years. Then, God led the family to sell their home, pull up stakes and take off across North America, visiting NAMB missionaries in the most strategic cities on the continent.
At every stop, in big cities and small, the Kilgores have both served church planters and served alongside them. Whether providing a night out for the church planter and his family, providing practical help for his ministry or simply being an encouragement, the family tries to do what they can together.
The Kilgore girls — ages 17, 15, 13, and 11 — have embraced the adventure and enjoyed serving in diverse spots throughout North America. Before two years ago, they all attended public schools. Today, they are homeschooled and serve with their family in ministry throughout the week.
“What always stands out to me are the opportunities we’ve had to do ministry together,” Casey said. “We’ve had quite a few opportunities to do that this year, which has been fabulous.”
Casey points specifically to a weeklong mission experiences in South Dakota and participation in Send Relief’s Serve Tour event in Chicago.
In 2023, they had several opportunities to revisit church planters they’d met along the way, sometimes for the third time. This has allowed the family to build longer-term relationships with some of the missionary families they’ve served.
For example, the Kilgores have visited church planter Joshua Page and his family three times in the past two years during their trips through Pittsburgh. Page planted The Church at Mon River about 18 months ago. He says he regularly gets messages from Kevin saying he is praying for him. On the Kilgores’ second trip through Pittsburgh, the Pages had just lost a child to a miscarriage.
“It was a really difficult time for us,” Page said. “They came in with the attitude of just wanting to be a blessing and encouragement. Their girls watched our young boys, and they treated us out to dinner, and just loved on us, wept with us and encouraged us. That was just a really, really sweet time.”
Page notes that planting a church in the Northeast isn’t easy. Support and encouragement from Southern Baptists, like the Kilgores, has helped them keep going whenever they’ve felt discouraged.
“Their encouragement in our lives has been really huge,” Page said. “They just came through Pittsburgh again, like two weeks ago, and we went out to dinner with them. My wife is pregnant again, and we had an ultrasound, so it’s a real triggering time for us due to what’s happened in the past. And they were very quick to say, ‘Hey, how can we help?’ And so, they watched our youngest boy, so that I could go to the ultrasound with my wife. It is just crazy, because here’s these random people from Georgia, loving on our family as if they were an aunt and uncle to our kids.”
Once the Kilgores leave Montreal, they plan on visiting church planters in New York, Boston, and Washington D.C., before heading back to Georgia for the holiday season.
The Kilgores aren’t sure what’s next for their family in 2024, but they’re committed to following God whatever happens. In two years of trusting God for their next step, he has never failed to give direction and provide.
“As soon as we know what he’s leading us to, we’ll move in that direction,” Kevin said. “If it’s continuing exactly what we’re doing, he’ll make a way to make that happen.”