Pastor Taylor Phelps, 36

Pastor Taylor Phelps

He was tenderly known as “Pastor Taylor” by hundreds of people not only in Tennessee, but in Kentucky and Virginia. He suffered from a heart attack and passed away on January 11, 2023, while doing one of the things he enjoyed, exercising at 5:00 A.M. each morning with the Knoxville F3- Fitness, Fellowship, and Faith group. His family and friends are still in shock by his sudden death. He was born September 30, 1986, in Madisonville, Kentucky. He resided in Dawson Springs, Kentucky until moving to Madisonville in 2000.

Taylor accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior at 9 years old at Oak Grove Baptist Church in Cadiz, Kentucky. God called Taylor to preach at the young age of 16, and he began to serve God during his high school years. In 2002, he preached his first sermon at Park Avenue Baptist Church. He graduated from Madisonville North Hopkins High School in 2005. He was the youngest student accepted at Clear Creek Baptist Bible College in Pineville, Kentucky, and graduated in 2010 with a B.A. in Pastoral Ministries. It was at Clear Creek College that he met and married the love of his life, Andrea Pickens. They married on August 5, 2006.

Taylor’s first pastorate was at the age of 23 at Dryden Baptist Church in Dryden, Virginia where their son Clay was born in 2010. Taylor helped enlarge the church buildings and grow their membership. In 2014, God called him to leave Dryden. He visited Caney Ford Baptist Church and on June 15, 2014, accepted the position of Senior Pastor. Child number two, Evie, was born in 2017. During his nine years tenure, his vision and creativity increased the programs at Caney Ford that had a positive impact on church members and the Roane County community. The measure of a person’s life is not its duration but its donations. Pastor Taylor’s donations were many! He planned the 150th Church Anniversary program to recognize the church’s accomplishments and history. He wrote and published a book, Caney Ford Baptist Church A 150-Year History because he wanted “to mark this moment in time.” He was always looking for ways to grow the church and help people in the community. He started the Diaper Closet Ministry to help mothers by providing diapers and children’s clothing. He started the AWANA program for children and youth that has had over 40 participants. He started the UGO Food Card program to help needy families. He organized the Christmas Gift program to provide gifts for children. He started the Backpack program that provided backpacks full of school supplies for kids at the start of the school year. He personally helped pay for food and gas for people who stopped at the church needing help. He enjoyed visiting local schools during “Career Day.” He helped plant a church and mentored the pastor. He served on numerous Big Emory Baptist Association Committees. Pastor Taylor continued his education while at Caney Ford. He received his Master of Arts degree in Biblical Exposition with emphasis in Human Growth and Development from Liberty University in 2021. He was working on his Ph.D. in Biblical Exposition at Liberty University School of Divinity.

Pastor Taylor was preceded in death by his Grandmothers Patricia Eaves and Eva Nell Phelps, Grandfather Marvin Phelps, Father James Phelps, and uncle Eddie Phelps.


He leaves to cherish his memory, his wife Andrea Phelps, his children Clayton and Evelyn Phelps, his mother Connie Phelps, his Brother James Phelps, his sisters-in-law Lauren Phelps and Katherine McNabb, and nephew Ryker Phelps,


Those who knew Pastor Taylor will remember him for his faith in God, humility, kindness, generosity, knowledge of the Bible, and his sincere concern for people’s soul. He built his family foundation on faith, love, and the Word of God. This is not the end of his story. He leaves his example of a dedicated pastor to his church and community, the legacy of the programs he started that have helped numerous people, and his family to carry on the Phelps name. As his family and friends mourn his loss, we know that Pastor Taylor would encourage us to trust that God will minister to us and give us strength to continue our walk with God.


The family will receive friends from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Saturday, January 14, 2023, at the South Harriman Baptist Church. The funeral will follow at 5:00 p.m. with Reverend Randy Roper and Reverend Matt Cannon officiating. The burial will be Sunday, January 15, 2023, at 3:30 p.m. at Bookwalter Cemetery in Knoxville. The family will meet in the parking lot of the Knoxville Expo Center 5441 Clinton Highway Knoxville, TN. 37912 between 2:45 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. for a procession to the Cemetery. Kyker Funeral Home of Harriman is serving the Phelps Family. www.kykerfuneralhomes.com

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