When church planter Dean Johnson felt God might be calling him to ministry, he started volunteering at his church, Broken Arrow, Battle Creek. An unexpected opening led to a secretarial position, which led in eight years to him overseeing the church’s eventual six campuses as operations and multi-site pastor.

“I learned so much about how to minister in a church—things that work and don’t work, and why we do the things we do in church,” Johnson said. “I feel like I got an MBA in church.”

When he got confirmation while on a mission trip to Jordan that God wanted him to plant a church, he returned, resigned and with worship leader and co-pastor Luke Emert started Hope Fellowship in a thriving part of midtown Tulsa.

What started as the two couples meeting together at the Emert home grew by January 2020 to a core group of about 40 meeting in a high-ceilinged former automotive repair shop. Despite being shut down because of COVID for six weeks (services instead were streamed), by January 2021 the congregation grew to nearly 110.

The building serves as Hope Coffee at the front. On the other side of the barn doors at the back is the worship center that reconfigures midweek to the living room style meeting area for Alpha groups, a ministry that engages non-Christians and helps them find their way to Christ.

“Being in the community and serving is something else really important to us,” Johnson said. Hope Fellowship serves a homeless ministry once a month, looks for ways to engage with its midtown community, and utilizes the popularity of its coffee shop to develop relationships.

“God has been encouraging me about the growth we’re experiencing,” Johnson said. “He’s reminding me He is going to build the church, not me. When I get frustrated, He tells me, ‘Relax. I will build my church. It’s not on you.’”

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.

Dean Johnson was featured in the 2021 Missionary Prayer Guide for Oklahoma Baptists. To see Church Planter Johnson’s prayer requests, visit www.oklahomabaptists.org/cp