Kelly Kopp has traveled many roads in his young life. He’s been a tour manager for a rock-and-roll band, a stage manager for a renowned rock tour, hosted a television show for a major network affiliate, served as the on-field emcee for a minor league baseball team and hung out with numerous celebrities.

All the while, he knew, since a very early age, he was supposed to be doing something else.“I always knew God had a plan for me and a specific job for me to do,” said the Kingfisher native. “But I really wanted to just see if I could make it on my own. I guess I just thought I knew better than He did.”

That was until he said God sent him traveling down a different road – in a literal sense – and got Kopp’s attention.

Kopp was asleep late one night in a 15-person traveler van as part of a tour in 2007.Traveling from North Carolina to Nashville, Tenn., the van hit a guard rail that a construction crew left on the highway, ripping it open like a tuna can and sending Kopp flying out the opening.“I woke up sliding down the highway on my back,” he said. “It tore most of the skin off my back and I spent some time in a burn center. It was awful and it ended my being on the road.”

At the time, Kopp thought everything was going exactly as he wanted it. “I was out on tour, hanging with celebrities and making good money,” he said. “And then the crash happened and all that stopped instantly.”

Nine years later and Kopp is an internet sensation using social media to spread his ministry – Reckless Love Revolution. His world was turned upside down again recently when one of his videos went viral, drawing more than 2 million views.

To some, he was an overnight success. To Kopp, it was part of a journey that’s been two decades in the making.

The son of Will and Echo Kopp and Karen Black, Kelly Kopp was always an entertainer at heart. He earned multiple scholarship offers in theater and acting upon his graduation from Kingfisher High School in 2001. However, he also felt another pull in his life.“When I was 13, I went to Falls Creek for the first time,” he said. “I felt God tell me he was going to use me as a preacher, but I let it go. I was 13; I didn’t know what to do with it then.”

After high school, the grandson of Judd and Cleo Kopp was set to attend Northeastern Oklahoma. “I was accepted, had a dorm picked out and everything,” he said. But one night when at the Lighthouse Praise and Worship Center, he felt that “pull” again. He was all set to go talk with the pastor, Randy Henderson, but Henderson was a step ahead of him.“I feel you need to stay here
for two years and intern with me,” Henderson told Kopp.“That was a really cool God moment,’” Kopp said.That sealed it for the teenager. He skipped out on college and began an internship under Henderson at the church. Kopp also worked with Gary Taylor at the New Church of Kingfisher.

However, he wasn’t finished resisting God. In fact, he was just getting started. “The pulls of the world were intriguing to me,” he said. “I was getting more into rock and roll.”

Kopp left his internship before his time was up. Over the next few years, he was the tour manager for RED, the stage manager for the Warped Tour and worked with Nickelback among others.
Life, for him, was good. “There was a time when I thought I was going to get everything I wanted,” Kopp said. Then the accident happened and his life was once again changed. Although it opened his eyes, Kopp wasn’t completely convinced. He resisted some more.

Once he healed up, Kopp was asked to hit the touring road once again. He’d just started dating his future wife, Lindsay, and knew life on the road and dating didn’t mix. Instead, he took a job with the ABC affiliate in Midland, Texas, as a salesman. Feeling the continuous need to be an entertainer, Kopp pitched an idea to the station manager for a show called “Weekend Spotlight” in which he highlighted events happening in the area. “That took about 10 minutes,” he said. “The other 20 minutes was just me doing skits and sketch comedy.” The show lasted almost a year until a new station manager came in and cleaned house.

Kopp then took a job selling for a newspaper and eventually turned that into creating content for “Pulse” magazine. “I basically took my TV show and put it into magazine format,” he said. Kopp’s dream of entertaining and gaining notoriety was getting traction. Eventually he started doing promotions for bars and clubs, then started doing “insult comedy” at clubs. “It was some of the most brutal, horrible things you could imagine,” he said of his routine, which was basically him on stage making fun of people in the audience. “I had a woman slap me, a man pull a gun on me. It wasn’t good.”

But, again, Kopp was making good money and had become a local celebrity. Still, there was that pull. “I always felt I was supposed to preach,” he said. “That never left. I thought about it almost daily, but always pushed it away and tried to do what I wanted to do.”
By now, Kopp and Lindsay, who had three children, were married. However, his newest career kept him from seeing his family much. “I felt the marriage wasn’t going to last at that point and I knew the only way it was going to survive was to quit,” he said. “We had to move away.”The new family moved to Tulsa, where Kopp’s parents lived, in 2010. Once there, Kopp took a job as the on-field emcee for the Tulsa Drillers minor league baseball team.

And he continued to resist. “God told me he was waiting on me,” he said. “But I still thought I knew better. I was so wrong.” Finally, about two years ago, Kopp said “God really got ahold of me.” The urge to preach continued to fester inside of Kopp. “It got so strong, I really didn’t know what to do,” he said. He emailed about 100 churches asking about youth pastor jobs. He got zero replies. “I told God that he told me to preach, but I didn’t have anyone to preach to,” Kopp said.

Kopp said the response was to use Facebook, a social media site on which he had more than 1,500 friends. Yet again, he resisted. “I said ’no.’ People will make fun of me,” Kopp said. “They still think of me as this rock and roll guy.” Kopp tried his own form of compromise and started a blog that he wrote and posted once a week. “Nobody really read it,” he said. “Nobody really cared.”Finally, he relented. “One morning I grabbed my phone and shared what was on my heart and posted it,” he said.
The video got about 90 views. More importantly to Kopp, people left comments and interacted with him, letting him know that his message had affected them. Kopp realized he had his audience. “There was really nothing special about it,” he said. “The page started with a couple hundred people following it.” Kopp said one day he was driving and had a vision of speaking on “creation vs. evolution” but with a different camera angle and with Kopp bouncing around at different spots on the screen, something to keep the viewer’s attention. As soon as he got home, he shot the video and posted it. Within two days, it had 50,000 views and soon he had 2,000 followers.

But that was only the beginning.

In May, Kopp posted a video entitled “Is it a sin to get a tattoo?” Kopp has his arms covered in tattoos and felt the need to broach the subject. Little did he know the video would quickly surpass 50,000 views. Then 100,000. Then 500,000. Other outlets started to pick it up. Soon it was over 1 million views and is currently approaching 2.1 million.

“It was cool to see what God used to qualify me to so many people,” he said. “The world used my tattoos to disqualify me, but God used them to qualify me.”

Kopp posted another video on homosexuality. It has more than 42,000 views. His response to the Orlando mass shooting already has more than 34,000 views. All told, Kopp has posted about 40 videos in the last year, all shot and edited himself. “Some videos gets millions of views and some may get 1,500,” he said. “But I know because of the comments I get that each one was made for a reason.”

They’ve also served as a springboard for his “Reckless Love Revolution” ministry that he started about a year ago. In short, the ministry wants to take the “random acts of kindness” theory to an entirely new level. His group has a number of promotional materials, including “Why?” cards with a link to his website.The “Why?” cards are intended to be left behind whenever someone does a random act of kindness, so the recipient who goes to the website will be introduced to (or reminded of) the Gospel’s message of God’s love in a nonconfrontational manner.

In two weeks’ time, more than 2,000 cards have been mailed to people in 28 states wanting to spread the ministry. The ministry got a huge boost recently when he was contacted by the Kingdom Youth Conference. The initial point of the call was about him being a speaker at one of the conference’s 17 stops nationwide.It turned into “Reckless Love” being a part of all 17. “Most speakers get 30 minutes. We’re getting two hours to talk to kids and then take them out and do ‘Reckless Love,’” Kopp said. “That’s going to slingshot this ministry.”

It comes at a price. The cards, the t-shirts, the postage and all other promotional materials cost. “We do need funding, especially with the news of these youth conferences,” Kopp said. “We’re going to need shirts and cards to take to all of these kids. But we also know that God always provides.”Kopp has also been asked to be the keynote speaker at a men’s conference in Daytona Beach, another conference in San Antonio and is fielding calls daily for more engagements.

He flies to Nashville this week to tape a segment for Juce TV, a youth television net-work that’s part of the Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN).

And in the midst of all of this, Kopp became a father when his son Jaxx was born 18 months ago, expanding a family that already included stepchildren Brennen 15, Chase 12, and Avery 11.

In other words, Kopp’s visions for success at an early age are finally being realized. “I had this whole vision of bring a preacher traveling the world to speak since I was 13,” he said. “Now I can see that happening. It’s not  just a dream anymore. I’m right on the edge of breaking through.”

But before it happened, Kopp said he had to stop and – finally – listen.  “My whole life I’ve been looking for fulfillment and success,” he said. “I finally realized the fulfillment is in Him and He’ll give you success. I wasted 20 years learning this.”

[Ed. note: For more on Kopp’s ministry, including how to donate or to receive “Why?” cards, visit Kopp said every bit of the donations go directly to the ministry.
Cards can also be received by texting the word “WHY” to 24587.]
Written by Michael Swisher – Times and Free Press Managing Editor