Small-Town Pastoral Couple in Kentucky Reaches Thousands through Media Ministries

A blog and radio program helped them connect with a large audience in the community.

Paola Mora Zepeda, Southern Tidings, and Adventist Review
Small-Town Pastoral Couple in Kentucky Reaches Thousands through Media Ministries
Mykal and Melissa Ringstaff have been serving in ministry in the Harlan Middlesboro district of southeast Kentucky for more than 18 years. They have found blogging and radio to be effective methods to reach their community. [Photo: courtesy of Melissa Ringstaff]

Mykal and Melissa Ringstaff have been married for almost 25 years and have been serving in Seventh-day Adventist ministry in the Harlan Middlesboro district of southeast Kentucky, United States, for more than 18 years. While raising a large family and pastoring three small churches, they found creative ways to reach people through media ministries, demonstrating how God can use anyone where they are.

Struggling with feelings of inadequacy and shame throughout her childhood, Melissa became a teen mom at the age of 15. Being a mom so young ultimately forced her to drop out of high school, and by the time she reached 21, she was a divorced mother of three.

Raised in another Christian denomination, Ringstaff discovered the Sabbath and began studying her Bible. In 2000, she decided to be baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. A year later, as she pursued her passion for writing and her personal goal of learning to code a website, she launched her blog called A Virtuous Woman.

“I’m the last person you would think would have a ministry about Proverbs 31,” she says. “I made some poor decisions when I was a teenager, but I felt like God wanted me to encourage other women who may be struggling as well.”

Her website is aimed at mothers, wives, and women who feel they are not good enough. emphasizes purpose over perfection and calls readers to find their identity and strength in Christ. Melissa believes that all can find freedom and the confidence to live with purpose.

With more than 85,000 monthly pageviews on her website, Melissa’s words have become a source of inspiration for countless individuals. She says this form of ministry has been a huge part of her spiritual journey.

“I’ve received many emails over the years from readers who have told me my articles have helped their marriages, feelings of overwhelm at home, or that one of my articles helped them escape abuse,” she says. “The blessing for me really comes from knowing what I’m doing is blessing others.”

Ministry Extends to Radio

Melissa shares this passion for media ministries with her husband, Mykal. Recognizing the challenges of reaching people with the gospel in remote Appalachian communities, Pastor Mykal felt called to start a radio ministry. After careful planning and intense prayer, he launched a weekly radio program in September 2020, through WUIC 102.5 FM in Harlan County, Kentucky, called “Knowing Jesus.”

“We’ve talked about the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the attributes of Christ, family values, the 28 fundamental beliefs, and the certainty of the second coming,” Mykal says. “If it’s in the Bible, we talk about it.”

The show, which airs every Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m., has had more than 250 episodes now. Through it, many lives have been touched, several people are receiving Bible studies, and one plans to be baptized soon.

“Overall, ‘Knowing Jesus’ has brought more acceptance of the church in the community,” he says. “People know more about who Adventists are. Some have started recognizing my voice, and that just opens the doors for me to share with them about our message.”

Though the Ringstaffs’ ministries are separate, they constantly encourage one another.

“She supports me, and I can certainly support her,” Mykal says. “That’s kind of how we work.”

The couple agrees that digital media is a powerful tool for evangelism.

“Through my journey, I’ve realized the profound impact of blogs, radio programs, and social media to reach people,” Melissa says. “I mean, you wouldn’t necessarily look at a girl like me and think, ‘One day she’s going to run a website that reaches millions.’ But that’s the beauty of it — all of us, regardless of our pasts, God uses us where we’re at.”

The original version of this profile was posted by Southern Tidings.

Paola Mora Zepeda, Southern Tidings, and Adventist Review