Kevin Russell, director of missions (DOM) in East Central Association, was born in Chandler and has served several Oklahoma churches during his 33 years in ministry, including the final 10 at Mannsville, First. Now he’s fully acclimated as a DOM.

“The Lord led me in that direction,” Russell said. “I was pretty happy where I was.”

Russell said he enjoys the individual relationships he has with pastors in the association’s 48 churches and “being able to attend” all the churches, though the association is “geographically challenging,” with several churches an hour’s drive apart.

East Central Association has a MARC—mud-out, ash-out, rebuild and chainsaw—trailer for Disaster Relief, and about 50 DR team members. Partnerships with Latvia and with the Great Passion Play in Eureka Springs, Ark., help build relationships and ministry expertise within the association.

The association also partners in a fairly new church plant—Gans, Grace New Beginnings, where Vernell Racy is planter.

Tenkiller Baptist Assembly, on about 120 mountainous treed acres near Lake Tenkiller, provides a respite for the association’s youth and children. The camp can accommodate about 400 campers, sponsors and staff, and about 450 in its enclosed tabernacle. At youth camp in 2020 there were about 150 campers and “several decisions” including 18 professions of faith in Jesus as Lord.

“We installed a new zip line last year the kids really loved,” Russell said.

Married to Cherie for 37 years—both featured in above photo—the couple has four daughters and six grandchildren. The family owns a travel trailer and over a 10-year period traveled to all 48 contiguous states. These days, Russell said he and his wife make several shorter trips a year, such as to Branson, Mo.

He’s also a part-time auctioneer, often doing so to help churches raise money for mission projects and camps.

“So much went on with COVID that we regressed a bit,” Russell said. “I’m encouraging our churches to move forward.”

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.

Kevin Russell was featured in the 2021 Missionary Prayer Guide for Oklahoma Baptists. To see DOM Russell’s prayer requests, visit