Sunday, August 22, 2021

Honoring Nick Kinn

The Bible tells us to give honor to whom honor is due. Yesterday was the 70th birthday of the minister most responsible for helping me become a successful soul-winner. Therefore, I’ve written this tribute to him.

Alex Nicholas Kinn Jr. was born on August 21, 1951, and grew up just west of Minneapolis. Like myself, he went through confirmation at a Lutheran church that didn't teach the necessity to be born again. Following high school and a brief college stint, Nick was drafted into the U. S. Army and got stationed in Germany. After his discharge, Nick returned to Minnesota and continued being an alcoholic. One night, he caused a drunk driving accident that almost killed six people.

Meanwhile, a few Christians had reached out to Nick with the gospel. Two of them happened while he was in the military. Another person had slid a tract underneath his door. A turning point occurred 45 years ago today. After Nick had been out celebrating his 25th birthday, he got down on his knees at 2:00 a.m. and said, “Jesus, if you’re real, I’m tired of being a drunk. Come into my heart.” His life hasn’t been the same since.

Nick immediately started witnessing but didn’t lead anyone to the Lord until almost three years later. While hosting an Amway meeting in his house, Nick had an altar call. One woman came forward to give her life to Christ. After attending various churches, Nick started going to Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park. In 1986, he was asked to take charge of their evangelism ministry. Two years later, Nick left his job at the post office to become a full-time pastor. As he often says now, “I used to be a mailman, but now I’m a messenger.”

I first attended Living Word in 1991. Back then, Pastor Nick also led outreaches called “All-Church Evangelism.” Wednesday night services were canceled once a month during the summer. That was to encourage more congregation members to share their faith. I participated in a few of those but didn’t pray with anyone until three years after my conversion. By that time, I committed myself to evangelize with Living Word every Monday night. Soon I became a team leader and started training other people how to win souls. 

My faithfulness to Living Word’s evangelism ministry resulted in various blessings. Since Nick and I are about the same size, he frequently gave me clothes he no longer needed. One night after returning from an outreach, Pastor Nick asked if anyone wanted prayer. I mentioned my starting a sales job with a meat company that day and needed to make money. Nick suddenly took up an offering for me. I received $68 in cash. That sales job wouldn’t work out for me. Eventually, the Lord led me to go into full-time ministry.

For over a decade, I mostly traveled along the east coast as a missionary. During which, I had little contact with Pastor Nick. Then one night in a Minneapolis suburb, I walked into a bus station. Nick happened to be evangelizing there along with another man I knew named Tom. Nick gave me some of his “Have You Heard the Good News” tracts. Tom then handed me $20. That inspired me to resume regular outreaches with Living Word during return visits to the Twin Cities area. I still enjoy listening to Nick’s teachings before we hit the streets.

I appreciate Nick Kinn’s continued commitment to the Great Commission and also his sense of humor. Often we experience bouts of holy laughter while looking at each other. With the help of other laborers involved with Living Word’s evangelism ministry, over 1.6 million salvations have occurred. Pastor Nick has (so far) ministered in 28 countries and 35 states. May the Lord give him many more years to give the devil a black eye.

And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you- 1 Thessalonians 5:12

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