The 2020 pandemic changed churches, entrepreneurial church planting pastor Rusty Gunn told the Baptist Messenger.
“There’s a real hunger for churches to step out of their walls and serve their communities,” Gunn said. He planted Church that Matters in Sand Springs, a west-of-Tulsa suburb, in 2010.
It had grown to 450 at Sunday morning worship when the nation went into lockdown last March, and when services reopened in June, there were still 450 or more present.
Church that Matters owns a number of small businesses as a way to be in the community, such as an eating establishment called Southside Coneys, a resale market that provides booth rental space, and a sno-cone franchise.
With the help of Coneys, Oklahoma Baptists’ Disaster Relief and others who helped, Church that Matters provided 40,000 hot meals during the eight weeks of the initial pandemic lockdown.
“We found when we opened our hand, God opened His,” Gunn said. “It’s a very humbling experience.”
In addition to pastoring Church that Matters, Gunn is a North American Mission Board-funded church planting catalyst. He works with church planters primarily in Oklahoma, helping them discover ways to move outside the four walls of the church for greater impact, as well as helping to discover, develop and deploy new church planters “in Oklahoma, where there are still 2 million people who don’t have a relationship with Christ.”
Gunn also serves on the board of directors for the Sand Springs Chamber of Commerce, Boys and Girls Club, Salvation Army and others. He is an elected member of the local school board, and he’s “often involved in other projects and start-ups,” he said. Yet with each telephone call he receives, he acts as though he has nothing else to do but talk with the caller.
Gunn credits his wife of 18 years, Megan, with being a “rock star” the way she manages their home and four youngsters. “It’s a true Gospel partnership,” Gunn said.
Because of the generous giving of Oklahoma Baptists through the Cooperative Program, an amazing array of ministries are supported, including church planting in Oklahoma and across the country. This unified giving encourages fellowship with other believers all over the world. Collectively, Oklahoma Baptists are advancing the Gospel together.
Rusty Gunn was featured in the 2021 Missionary Prayer Guide for Oklahoma Baptists. To see Pastor Gunn’s prayer requests, visit www.oklahomabaptists.org/cp