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Keown marks 30 years at Phenix City’s Lakewood comment (0)

July 26, 2012

By Maggie Walsh

July 11 was a milestone for Charles Keown, minister of music and senior adults for Lakewood Baptist Church, Phenix City, as it marked his 30th year ministering through melody at the church. “That’s got to be some kind of a record,” said Onezima Everritt, office manager and finance secretary at Lakewood Baptist. 

During his 30 years of ministry, Keown has served the Russell Baptist Association church as minister of music and youth, then as the minister of music and now as minister of music and senior adults. He joined the Lakewood staff after graduating from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

Keown originally planned to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a pastor but changed paths at the suggestion of the late Kenneth Bergdolt, then a professor of music at Mobile College (now the University of Mobile). 

Bergdolt planted a seed, Keown said, encouraging him to minister to young people instead. This seed flourished into a 30-year ministry that has evolved and adapted with each passing year. 

With the full support of Lakewood behind him, Keown has led a children’s choir, youth choir, young men’s ensemble, orchestra and senior adult choir. 

He said he hopes these programs encourage a love of music and worship in the next generation, no matter what style of music is preferred.

The senior adult choir has approximately 90 members from Lakewood and surrounding churches. The choir has been invited to LifeWay conferences for senior adults multiple times and has traveled as far as Spain at the request of the International Mission Board to lead worship services. Keown said he is proud of the “very talented” group.

The orchestra is another arm of Lakewood’s music ministry and is incorporated in the blended worship service on Sunday mornings. Created in 1997, the orchestra boasts a variety of instruments, including trumpets, saxophones, flutes, clarinets, a baritone, a tuba, a French horn, a violin and a viola. Keown plays the trombone in the orchestra. 

He also has fostered a love of music in all four of his children, beginning all of them on an instrument at the age of 5. He laughingly said he “raised [his] own string section.”

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