Above: Todd Fisher, executive director-treasurer of Oklahoma Baptists, prays for Skylar and Jamie Spradlin and for Weatherford, Trinity during an Oklahoma Baptists meeting.

Some events are life changing. They leave an impression that does not go away. Typically, we think of such life-changing events as negative events. We think of funerals, wars or catastrophic destruction in nature.

A fire on Nov. 1 caused Weatherford, Trinity to lose its building.

But life-changing events can also be positive. They can be a wedding, the birth of a child or the salvation of a loved one. Occasionally, the negative and the positive combine to leave a mark so deep that it impacts a person’s entire worldview.

As many may know, Trinity Baptist Church of Weatherford experienced a life-changing event. On November 1, our church building caught fire. All that was left were a few books and some financial records. In a matter of minutes, our congregation effectively became homeless.

For the first time, our people were experiencing what many other churches around the world experience regularly—an uncertainty about the future, confusion about the present and a strange sense of sorrow at something we know to be unnecessary to the work of the Gospel. Unlike many church plants, our people had never existed in a temporary space or in a state of extreme flux. Yet, this is where we are now.

While the fire was of monumental importance to our emotional, physical and spiritual outlook, it is not what has left the biggest impact—at least not on this pastor. Instead, it has been the kindness of God’s people poured over us in the days since that has made the deepest mark.

In one sense, it feels strange to receive such kindness. We have tried so long to be the ones who serve others, care for others and fill the gap for others in need. Now, we are the ones receiving that kind of care. Yet, the examples of other believers applying Christ’s kindness to us is motivation to keep showing the same kindness to others.

Such motivational kindness has been sustaining as we navigate a road we have never travelled and make decisions we were never prepared to make. In fact, if it weren’t for the kindness of sister churches and ministries, we would be in much worse shape. Yet, sister churches and partnered ministries have gone above and beyond to strengthen and sustain us.

As Baptists, we always talk about unifying around missions. We rally to our missionaries and prioritize spreading the Gospel. We can confidently say that the mission of spreading the Gospel to the whole world is the singular glue that holds us together. I have often heard that our unity is for one purpose—fulfilling the Great Commission.

But in recent days, I’ve seen a side of Oklahoma Baptists that I have never seen before. Many sister churches, and many individuals, have rushed to our side in our time of need. They have given money. They have allowed us to borrow equipment. They have prayed for us. They have given us space to grieve and promised to come to our aide in the future.

The Baptist Collegiate Ministry at Southwestern Oklahoma State University has allowed us to meet in their building. Emmanuel Baptist Church in Weatherford has provided office space and countless office supplies in the meantime. Our association took time during its annual meeting to pray over us. Brothers and sisters have called, texted, sent cards, sent emails and sought us out to encourage us and offer their support. Our State Convention has given money, helped us think through our needs, provided unique insight and helped us to find the right resources to meet our needs.

In other words, Oklahoma Baptists have come together to show our church the care and kindness of Christ. For that, we say “Thank You.” Thank you for loving like Jesus. Thank you for caring for a sister church. Thank you for meeting needs not your own. Thank you for your hospitality, sincerity and prayers.

It is often through His people that Jesus will display and exemplify His love. For us, that has happened through Oklahoma Baptists. We too shall take up that mantle and join in this cooperative work to advance the Gospel together.

Thank You!

For Jesus,

Skylar Spradlin
Lead Pastor
Trinity Baptist Church
Weatherford, OK