Before he became a church planter, Brady Sharp had served as a student youth pastor and college pastor. He led a satellite campus and an adult ministries group. Then, two months after Sharp started Lawton, Credence, he was diagnosed with colon cancer.
The 20-year incubation period between the time Sharp knew God was calling him to plant a church and his move from Wichita Falls, Texas, to Lawton; the unexpected health issue; and the pandemic all reminded Sharp life was out of his control.
“This is His church; it’s not mine. He’ll take care of it with or without me,” Sharp said about what he has learned. “God taught me to trust His spirit.”
Though neither Brady Sharp nor Melissa, his wife of 13 years, knew anyone in Lawton, a group of 21 had already gathered and were ready to be a part of Credence when Brady, Melissa and their three youngsters—ages 10, 8, and 4—arrived.
Home Bible studies began immediately. The fledgling Credence congregation officially began gathering for worship in September 2018, the month his cancer was diagnosed. Part of his colon was removed in October of that year, and chemotherapy started the following month.
With his health improving and the church plant stabilizing, COVID emerged in mid-March 2020. The pandemic shuttered their rented facility.
“We had to turn over our lease,” Sharp said. “Now we meet as community groups in homes and once a month on Sunday evenings at a church for an all-church gathering.
“We work in missional communities,” the now cancer-free planter continued. Each group has a specific mission, “a group they’re regularly eating with, serving, regularly sharing the Gospel,” Sharp said.
They minister for the most part in various “pockets” of the community, such as one apartment complex of 20 families. Credence leaders are looking for a new location where the entire church family can gather, and where the facility can serve the community.
Because of the generous giving of Oklahoma Baptists through the Cooperative Program, an amazing array of ministries are supported. This unified giving encourages fellowship with other believers all over the world. Collectively, Oklahoma Baptists are advancing the Gospel together. Learn more at oklahomabaptists.org/cp
Brady Sharp was featured in the 2021 Missionary Prayer Guide for Oklahoma Baptists. To see Planter Sharp’s prayer requests, visit www.oklahomabaptists.org/cp