NASA’s Clifton Arnold is a rocket scientist with a successful formula for church planting.
“You get them in the door with music, you keep them in the house with teaching,” Arnold, who planted Kingdom Life Fellowship in Houma, La., in 2016, told the Baptist Message. “People go to churches where they like their worship style and their teaching is solid.”
When he is not preaching at Kingdom Life Fellowship, Arnold manages four NASA rocket propulsion test sites — at Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Miss., Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, and Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio.
While working on projects to reach the planets and the stars, he uses opportunities to discuss creation and heaven with those he meets in the space industry.
“It’s really amazing that they parallel and feed into one another,” Arnold said. “People are interested in what God has to say about the rest of the universe, and, sometimes you don’t have an answer and you say, ‘Well when I see Him, I’ll ask Him. But right now, the Bible tells me this,’ and that’s the way I approach it.”
Louisiana Baptist support
Arnold is thankful for God’s faithfulness throughout the church planting process and for His provision for the new congregation through the financial and spiritual support of the 40 people who attend Kingdom Life Fellowship.
But he said the Louisiana Baptist Convention’s Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering is critical, too.
“Without [Louisiana Baptists’] support we could not reach this unreached group within our community,” Arnold said on a promotional video on the Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering website. “And for the kingdom, the larger kingdom, this will be tremendous.”
Destined for space
At an early age, Arnold knew he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father, who as a naval officer worked in missile development.
Arnold’s work in the space industry has taken him up close with some of history’s most famous figures, including President Ronald Reagan, astronaut Buzz Aldrin and NASA administrator and astronaut Charlie Bolden.
His most memorable projects have included testing of a propulsion system that one day could possibly transport astronauts to Mars, spacecraft that have mapped gases, fields and streams coming from the Sun, and a thermo-vacuum chamber that simulates space environments.
But the meetings with famous individuals and working on projects around the United States pale in comparison to the joys of church planting, Arnold said.
“I have an opportunity on Sunday to tell everybody who created this great world and the universe we live in,” he said, “and Monday through Friday I try to figure out how it was done.
“My first job out of college was on the weapons side with the Department of Defense,” he noted. “You have death and destruction and all that other gory stuff that went along with that, and God just gave me such insight that ‘I’m not preparing you to continue to do those type of projects. I need you to do something more beneficial for mankind — to explain why we have such a beautiful world and why we are so unique.'”
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Source: Baptist Press