Orden Hartley is the pastor of Felt, First, which is located near the western end of the Panhandle in Cimarron County.
Like most pastors of single-staff churches, he wears many hats, helping with Bible Club on Wednesdays and maintaining the church’s web page, Instagram site, and Facebook page. He helps put together the slides and music for the morning worship time, drives a van for Wednesday programs and prepares sermons for Sunday mornings and Sunday night Bible Study. He is thankful, of course, for many volunteers who help carry part of the load of the ministry.
Ministry in a rural area is sometimes challenging. “There are fewer and fewer people in the community each year,” he said. “Thus, we do not have many younger people and couples coming to church. One blessing, however, is that almost all the elementary children in the area come to our Bible Club—as many as 40 sometimes. It is the same for our Wednesday night youth ministry; we have students who might not attend church anywhere coming and hearing the Good News of Christ.”
Pastor Hartley recognizes the importance of Felt, First supporting the Cooperative Program (CP).
“CP allows us to do ministry beyond our little town,” Hartley said. “It helps us have places like Gibson Baptist Camp for our kids and Falls Creek for our students. It helps all those men and women in yellow shirts and hats respond to disasters in our state and in other states. It helps Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children minister to and take care of all those children they serve. We support the Cooperative Program because, in a small way, it allows us here at Felt, First be the hands and feet of our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus.”