Ohio Church Planter Ben Mangrum made a profession of faith in Jesus at Tahlequah, Crescent Valley in 2010, and in 2012 he surrendered to ministry. He began serving on staff at Crescent Valley not long after and served for seven years, the last four as executive pastor.

Crescent Valley tasked Mangrum in 2018 to learn more about how to send out people from their church to plant other churches. This opened Ben’s heart to the need of church planting and ultimately to the call in January 2019 to church planting.

“We did a lot of praying,” Mangrum said, including his wife of 14 years, Brittany, and their four children ages 11 to 2. The couple took a vision trip in April 2019 to Cincinnati and fell in love with the city because of “the diverse culture and major need. Of the 2 million residents, only 13.7 percent of the people in the Cincinnati Metro area associate with an evangelistic church.”

The Mangrum family was part of a church planting residency at Franklin, Ohio, Grace Point Fellowship in 2020. “They helped us navigate some things faster because of their experience,” the planter said.

With the financial support of the North American Mission Board, Crescent Valley and many other churches and individuals, the Mangrums began meeting in their home in June 2020 as Inspiring Hope Church.

The 33 people meeting in their house are looking for a facility to launch a service this year. They are involved in the local schools, providing breakfast and writing encouraging cards to teachers and staff at four local schools. They also provided 36 area children with Christmas gifts in 2020. Through a federal program they distributed 100 boxes of food.

The newly-formed congregation has been studying through the Book of Acts and Sharing Jesus without Freaking Out, “to prepare their families to reach people in their city for Jesus,” Mangrum 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.

Ben Mangrum was featured in the 2021 Missionary Prayer Guide for Oklahoma Baptists. To see Pastor Mangrum’s prayer requests, visit www.oklahomabaptists.org/cp