The COVID pandemic slowed the launch of Bixby Church, Church Planter Lendell Nolan said.
“We had scheduled to launch in August, then January, and then Easter,” Nolan said of the COVID-related delay. “We were meeting in small groups and then the gathered groups for monthly worship services.”
When they launched, it was at the Carmichael’s Pumpkin Patch facility.
“Everyone in this region knows where (the pumpkin patch) is,” Nolan said. “Steven Carmichael serves alongside me. He’s the first person I took one-on-one through MasterLife (discipleship program). I was in the ninth grade, and he the eighth.
“We’re both from Bixby; both our extended families live here—parents, siblings, nieces and nephews—and they’re all believers,” Nolan said. “Last Christmas, they helped distribute door-to-door to all 8,000 homes in Bixby a copy of the Jesus film, Gospel tract and an invitation to our first Christmas Eve service.”
While it’s the first time for Nolan to plant a church, he prepared for it with 25 years of ministry, as pastor of discipleship in two churches and most recently executive pastor of Roswell, N.M., Grace Community. He’s also a leadership coach.
“God used Mark 5:19 to call me to ‘go home’ and plant a church that plants churches,” Nolan said.
Bixby, a southern suburb of Tulsa, has doubled in population over the last 20 years and expects to double or more again in the next 20 in part because of its excellent school system, Nolan added.
“We’ve been praying for church planters,” Nolan said, citing two men the church is working with already. The church plans to start the Dan Morgan Church Planting Institute, a residency program for church planters complete with housing.
The institute is to carry on the legacy of the man who coached Nolan in church planting. Morgan died in 2020 from COVID.
“God brings people together and orchestrates our lives.” Nolan said. “As long as you realize God is in control it’s an awesome adventure.”
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Lendell Nolan was featured in the 2021 Missionary Prayer Guide for Oklahoma Baptists. To see Planter Nolan’s prayer requests, visit oklahomabaptists.org/cp.