Better Life Ashland One Year Later

Better Life Ashland One Year Later

Doug Calhoun

Ashland Beacon

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There is a church on a hill overlooking Morehead, Kentucky that turns fifteen years old as January 2023 comes to a close. Better Life was launched under lead pastor Daniel Lucas in 2008 with the vision that the church would exist to help people follow Jesus so they can experience a better life. A decade and a half later, Better Life Morehead has seen well beyond 2000 people accept Jesus and begin their journeys into their own better lives.

From its inception, the founders knew that God was building something that would impact our region in spectacular ways. More than a decade later, Better Life decided to move in the direction of church planting and opened a campus in Grayson under the direction of campus pastor Aaron Rayburn. Better Life Grayson has become a vibrant and growing voice of the Gospel in Carter County. Celebrating their fourth year, Better Life Grayson will become Foundations Church of Grayson. What a success story of church planting!

That brings us to Better Life Ashland. Many in the Ashland / Boyd County community have connections to Morehead through Morehead State University. Better Life in Morehead was a magnet for university students wanting to build or begin their relationships with Jesus Christ, so the church gained a reputation in communities like Olive Hill, Grayson, Cannonsburg, Summit, and Ashland. When there were whispers that there might soon be an Ashland campus, people began to take notice. “My nephew goes to the one in Morehead; I’ll have to check this out.” “My daughter has been going to Better Life since her Freshman year at Morehead.” “I served as an intern at Better Life while I was working on my music education degree.”

When the opportunity presented itself, the wheels started turning and through careful prayer and planning, Better Life Ashland was beginning to become a reality. In the meantime, Derek and Jessie Withrow and their family were looking for a church in which they could grow and serve. Derek, who has a lifetime of ministry experience, was not actively seeking a pastoral position but had been recommended to pastors Daniel Lucas and Adam Eldridge for consideration for campus pastor at their Ashland endeavor. As leadership met with and got to know the Withrow’s, they began to realize this was a union that had to happen. Derek often speaks of his passion for the people of Boyd County where he calls home. Withrow commented, “It is exciting to know that we have this opportunity to reach out to our neighbors and help them find a better life through Jesus.” Withrow also emphasized his and the church’s understanding of the biblical command to “go and make disciples.” “We don’t exist as a church that gives people a place to go on Sundays, but as a place where people can go and serve,” exclaimed Withrow.

Better Life Ashland emphasizes NEXT STEPS as a catalyst for spiritual growth and involvement in and beyond the church community. “Everybody has a next step,” says Withrow. “Whether you are a new Christian or have been a disciple most of your life, God is always calling you to more. We want to help people who come through our doors discover their next steps and help them use their gifts and talents to serve in our community in Jesus’ name.”  Withrow added, “We are only one-year old and like most one-year-olds we are just beginning to walk. But we don’t feel like we are wobbly and unsure when we walk. We feel we are up and running, thanks to the guidance and leadership from our Morehead team and our great team members here at home, toward a great future of individual and corporate growth here in Boyd County!”

If you have a chance to visit Better Life Ashland at 1524 Shopes Creek Road, you will find a friendly family eager to meet you, a solid children’s program for kids ages infant to 5th grade, a developing youth program, vibrant, current worship, and phenomenal preaching and teaching. If you hang out in the lobby before or after church for coffee and fellowship you will probably hear a familiar voice. That would be pastor Derek who you may also know as the General Manager and on-air talent for Walk FM in Cannonsburg. Better Life is currently meeting at 11:30 on Sunday mornings and will be expanding to two services in 2023. For more information you can visit

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