Anthony & Jenny Volkert
- Our Local
- Our Reach
- Our Self
Anthony and Jenny Volkert serve in southern Illinois, a rural area that many older, retired individuals and couples call home. As is true with many rural communities, there are very few businesses and employment opportunities, especially since the railroad and coal industries have faded. The area is economically depressed, and the community has gotten smaller as more families move to populated areas with more employment opportunities.
As a poor community, there are many physical needs among residents. Spiritually, the area hosts a large unchurched population. There is a particular need for ministries focused on local youth.
After seeing the need in their community, the Volkerts began spiritually guiding residents through ministries at Olive General Baptist Church in Pope County, Illinois. A rural, country church at the edge of the Shawnee National Forest, Olive General Baptist has had roots in the community since the late 1800s. Anthony shares the gospel with local families as pastor of the church, and also helps meet residents’ physical needs by providing car and home repairs.
Anthony and Jenny noticed that neither Olive General Baptist nor the surrounding community had a ministry for youth. In response, they started “The Happy Olives,” a group that meets once a month to teach the Bible, encourage students, and build on their Sunday school foundation.
“This rural area needs ministry like this to bring children into the church at an impressionable age,” Anthony writes. “It gives the youth a feeling of being included in the church and gives them the opportunity to learn about Christ, which can drastically change their life.”
During the summer months, the Volkerts also do camping ministry with Camp WeWoSeJe. Located in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, the InFaith non-denominational Bible camp reaches hundreds of children each summer with the gospel and a focus on discipleship. Anthony often provides maintenance help around the camp as needed.
The Volkerts have served as InFaith associates since 2005.
Anthony and Jenny have been married for 20 years, and have two teen girls. They have served with InFaith for more than ten years as part-time missionaries. Anthony has an associate degree in electronic engineering, and has worked full-time as a biomedical technician in dialysis for the last 17 years.
Jenny grew up at Camp WeWoSeJe, an InFaith camp, and her family was well acquainted with the mission. After Anthony and Jenny were married, they started attending Birdwell Community Church, an InFaith church started in the 1970s. It was in this church that Anthony was called by the Lord to preach.
After pastoring at Birdwell for five years, the Volkerts started their youth ministry in their small-town community. In 2011, Anthony started pastoring at Olive General Baptist Church, and their youth ministry continues to thrive.