Buddy Osborn is the Senior Pastor of The Rock-Calvary Chapel of Kensington and founder of Rock Ministries of Philadelphia.
Buddy was born and raised by a single mom in Kensington, a tough working-class neighborhood, with 8 siblings. He became acquainted with the street life early on, and by the time he was a young teen had, in his words, “seen things the human eye shouldn’t see.” At 13, Buddy was taken to a boxing gym, and by the time he was 16, had honed his craft and was considered one of the best young fighters in Philadelphia, a city rich with boxing history. After winning the Pennsylvania Golden Gloves, Buddy traveled the country and abroad competing on the USA National Boxing Team. At 22, Buddy retired from boxing, and would soon realize that boxing wasn’t enough to supply what was really missing inside him.
At 28 years old, this “Kensington success story” and champion boxer was facing life in prison. His boyhood attraction to the street life had grown up with him and he was arrested on numerous racketeering charges. Buddy would ultimately be sentenced to 8 years in federal prison and would not be released until the early 90’s.
After returning back home to Philadelphia, a friend began witnessing to Buddy about Jesus. On December 31 at 8:30 at night, on the phone with that friend, Buddy gave his life to Christ! Buddy began attending Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia. For 12 years he sat under the teaching of Pastor Joe Focht. As Buddy recalls, one day Pastor Joe said to him, “Perhaps one day you’ll go back to Kensington to preach the Gospel, “ never realizing that would be exactly where God would call him. Encouraged by his pastor, Buddy traveled to far eastern Russia on a church mission trip, ministering to young men in prison camps. This mission trip would be one of several critical experiences for Buddy. Another came when he was invited to give bible studies to juvenile inmates, sentenced with serious crimes, at Philadelphia’s House of Corrections.
During one of his bible studies at The House of Corrections, a young man walked in who had been charged with murder. It was a chilling moment for Buddy. He knew this young man. He had coached him to compete for a national title. Like a thunderbolt hitting his heart, Buddy realized that although he coached him as a boxer, he did not share his faith with him. At that moment, God confirmed Buddy’s calling to reach kids on the city block, before they ended up on the prison block!
With much prayer and no money, but with lots of favor from the LORD, Rock Ministries was launched, to reach Kensington kids with the Gospel of Jesus Christ through boxing.
At 45, Buddy returned to Kensington with his old gym bag; but this time he had a bible in it. Since that moment, thousands of kids have come through the doors of the Rock, and countless have made a decision for Christ.
Buddy is quick to say that behind every good man there is a terrific woman. Buddy is married to Lucille, who is his partner in everything he sets out to accomplish for the Lord’s work. Together, with their daughter, Leigha, the Osborn family serves the Kensington community.
From the beginning, God put on Buddy’s heart the desire to reach “one kid at a time.” As God continues to miraculously grow the many outreaches and ministries at Rock, it has now become “one family at a time” and “one block at a time”.
Each day, Buddy sees God working this out through one of his favorite verses:
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”