history of klife

Since 1926, Kanakuk Kamps, a Christian summer adventure sports camp, has been ministering to kids in an athletic environment in and around Branson, Missouri. Since Kanakuk was highly successful in reaching teenagers for Christ, parents voiced their need for follow-up ministry to continue their spiritual growth throughout the year. Joe White, owner of Kanakuk, and Richard Beach, then a Kamp director, began to talk and pray about this need. What could be done to continue the experience students encountered with the Lord at camp?

In 1979, Joe and Richard met with laymen from Colorado and campers parents from St. Louis. All parties involved shared similar insights about facilitating the growth of kids’ faith throughout the year. The purpose of KLIFE would be a discipleship ministry that would provide an ongoing environment for students to continue their spiritual growth.

The first KLIFE ministry began in St. Louis in 1979. In the fall of 1982 the second KLIFE chapter began in Kansas City. In subsequent years, with the continuous outpouring of God’s blessing, KLIFE Ministries now reaches from Florida to Wyoming.

After several years of development under the leadership of Doulos Ministries, KLIFE grew to the point of requiring its own parent organization. In the fall of 1989, KLIFE Ministries, Inc. was formed. In 1996, a permanent National Board was added to the structure of the National Support Center, and in 1997 the NSC headquartered in Conway, Arkansas. In the summer of 2002, KLIFE moved it’s National Support Center back to the place of its birth, Branson, Missouri. This move allowed KLIFE to be closer to it’s sister ministries, Kanakuk Kamps, Kids Across America, and the Kanakuk Institute.

History of Bartlesville KLIFE

By Suzanne Warren, Original Board Member

"It started with a prayer… and many kamp families asking, 'Why can’t this wonderful spiritual high that our children feel at kamp continue throughout the year?' And the idea of KLIFE was born. A Christian club offering fun, support, fellowship, and discipleship for teens. It had been started in a few cities, but could it happen in a town the size of Bartlesville?

A group of parents met in the fall of 1986 to discuss the possibilities, and we prayed…

We needed a place to meet, we needed staff, and we needed financial support. We were optimistic, we had doubts, but we still had faith. Our prayers were answered with just the right young man to lead us, two temporary meeting locations; first at the canteen, then at the empty Tyler house (now the Denyers’ Home) and finally the donation of the downtown location, which was sold in October of 2014.

Our first fundraiser was held at the community center and the Lord provided just the right amount to get us through the first year.A group of people with a vision for the youth of Bartlesville, bound together with a common goal; through corporate prayer and the selfless financial support and labor of hundreds of people, began what has now lasted almost thirty years.

The kids of yesterday’s KLIFE are now the parents of today’s KLIFE kids. They are now board members, community leaders, KLIFE staff, serving in other ministries and churches, and disciple makers themselves that continue the vision and tradition of KLIFE; and it all started here in Bartlesville KLIFE. We don’t have many opportunities to see our dollars at work more vividly than in experiencing lives changed by the Gospel of Christ."

Tom & Ami Preston

KLIFE Champions Award

In 1986 a group of families approached Kanakuk Kamps about starting a KLIFE chapter in Bartlesville, OK.  Tom & Ami Preston were part of that group and very instrumental in making KLIFE a reality in Bartlesville.  Tom & Ami served as the first Board Presidents for Bartlesville KLIFE and through their generosity provided us with our first home in the fall of 1987.  After being allowed to use the space located at 107 Frank Phillips Blvd. rent free for 15 years, Tom & Ami graciously deeded the property over to Bartlesville KLIFE.  We continued to meet in that location until the property was sold in 2015.  Tom & Ami were champions for Bartlesville KLIFE through their leadership and determination for KLIFE to come to Bartlesville and also when they provided us a home for the ministry.  We want to honor them by recognizing other individuals and families who have been champions for Bartlesville KLIFE over the years.


2012: Jim Curd, Donna Barclay, Garri and Suzanne Warren

2013: Cindy Neptune, Chuck and Robin Holland, Dennis and Linda Befort

2014: Tom Preston, Margaret and John Lanning, Gary and Janet Rix

2015: Margo and Mike Proctor, Kerry and Mark Denyer, Donna and Roger Skelly

2016: Ron and Lisa Kennedy, Gary Quinn

2017: Rod and Cindy McIlvaine, Ken and Sandy Dossett

2018: Shirley and Peewee Kimrey