Prayer, Tithing and Missions Strengthen First Baptist Church of Broken Arrow in Oklahoma

Henry and Neri Tran, former First Baptist Church of Broken Arrow, Okla., members, returned to their native Cambodia to spread the Gospel and have baptized between 3,000 and 4,000 people in the past 13 years.
Photo submitted by First Baptist Church

Valuing prayer, tithing and missions, First Baptist Church of Broken Arrow, Okla., led 20 mission trips last year alone and has helped plant more than 60 churches in the past decade.

At the heart of its outreach is First Baptist Broken Arrow’s support of the Cooperative Program, giving 10 percent of the congregation’s undesignated gifts while supporting a $16.5 million, 142-acre campus debt-free, according to senior pastor Nick Garland.

“This church has always been a missions-minded people,” Garland said. He has led for 31 years the church that began in 1904 with nine people meeting in a railroad car. Today, the church draws 2,800 to Sunday morning worship and is on track to give more than $1 million to missions this year.

The 10 percent CP allocation aligns with the church’s emphasis on individual tithing.

“If we’re asking people to tithe, shouldn’t the church?” Garland said. “Let’s be found consistent in our actions and guilty of doing good. God has blessed the Cooperative Program and the people who give to missions through it.”

Garland sees in the CP a giving mechanism that treats all churches equitably.

“The genius of the Cooperative Program is that percentage-wise, a small church is just as invested in missions as the church that gives millions. Both honor the Lord with their gift,” Garland told Baptist Press. “The key to the success of the Cooperative Program is that it is not impulse giving, emotional giving, but that it is giving consistently.”

In addition to CP support, First Broken Arrow gives 3.6 percent of undesignated offerings to the church’s Global Outreach (GO) Ministry, inspired by Acts 1:8 in proclaiming the Gospel purposefully, strategically and intentionally.

“We’re called to show the love of Christ in all four areas” (Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth) as set forth in Acts 1:8, missions pastor Kevin Cottrell said.

“All are equally important,” he said, crediting Garland with inspiring First Broken Arrow to plant healthy churches on every continent. “Our strategy is very laser-focused. We can’t do everything. We have to say no to a lot of really good things to stay focused on our strategy.”

Broken Arrow and Tulsa, Okla., are the church’s “Jerusalem”; the rest of Oklahoma, its “Judea”; and Central and North America, its “Samaria.” For the “ends of the earth,” First Broken Arrow ministers in Cambodia, France, India, The Netherlands, Southeast Asia and on the Columbia/Venezuela border, with plans to enter Poland, West Africa, Australia and Antarctica.

The church supports Arms Around Broken Arrow, distributes backpacks stuffed with food for needy students and families and undergirds two crisis pregnancy centers and a Christian-based hospitality house for family members of people who are hospitalized.

A homeless shelter, assistance to victims of domestic violence and sex-trafficking, a 12-month transitional addiction treatment facility, Celebrate Recovery and disaster relief also are among the church’s local ministries. Beyond Broken Arrow, the church supports the Baptist Children’s Home, Faith Riders, area prisons and additional disaster relief work.

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SOURCE: Baptist Press, Karen L. Willoughby