Church Thrives in Small Oklahoma Town
by: Stafford North | May 9, 2018
At a time when churches in some small towns are failing, there is a church in a small Oklahoma town which is doing well. The Minco Church of Christ. Minco, Oklahoma, has about 1700 citizens and this church in Minco has about seventy to eighty each Sunday morning and not only holding its own but is growing some. Of particular interest is that five children will be born this year to young couples attending the church, which bodes well for the future. The average age in this church is in the twenties.
So, how did this outstanding record come about? Jimmy Ross is the preacher there and has been for twenty years. For twenty-five years prior to his being the preacher, he lived in Minco. He is a real fixture in town. He served for fifteen years as the chairman of the local school board. He is a member of the Chamber of Commerce. Having been a bee keeper for years, he is part of the big local event for bee keepers that brings thousands to the small town for a weekend of instruction and fellowship about honey. He has even been president of the Oklahoma Bee Keepers Association.
For more than ten years, Ross has written a weekly column on religious topics for the local newspaper. He goes every morning to have coffee at a local café. In short, he knows and is known be everybody in town. He even is often invited to do funerals in local denominational churches.
There are some important lessons to be learned from this small church. First, they have found a way to get children who grow up in the church to come back there to live after college years. Often these are children raised on local farms and they come back to continue the farming with their families. Others come back to live there but commute to the Oklahoma City area about thirty-five miles away. Strong church ties have helped in their decision to return.
The members of the church are close, having had good fellowship and peace for nearly two decades. Strife in any church brings many difficulties but it is especially hard on small churches. A peaceful atmosphere makes if far more likely that people will stay, that youth will return, and that outsiders will be interested.
No doubt the continuity in the pulpit has been a big factor in the success of this church. Ross has had opportunities to go elsewhere but he thinks it is important to stay there to build community relationships and to help provide stability in the congregation.
Each fifth Sunday, the congregation uses the contribution from that day to do something special. That may be contributing to a mission work in Africa, helping an Oklahoma church where there has been a fire or tornado, or assisting some needy person locally. On these Sundays, the church often invites a special speaker to bring the message. And the contribution usually doubles on these special Sundays.
Every other year the congregation has a vacation Bible school for its youth and that event brings others in the community to attend. And twice a year, the church invites everyone in town to clean their closets and bring clothing to the church. They receive thousands of items which they use to help people locally and then they take the excess to some other place that can make use of them. This event gives them a great connection with the community.
So this local congregation is doing well from continuity in the pulpit, many good ties with the local people, peace among themselves, keeping ties with their youth, and finding many ways to serve. Good news that this congregation is doing well and a good example for many to follow. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.