Entrepreneurial by nature, Ray Strauss starts churches and helps others do the same.
His first foray into church planting kept the Edmond native in Buckeye, Ariz., a Phoenix suburb, for 10 years. The Church at Sun Valley made such a community impact that Strauss was asked by the mayor to run for city council.
“There was an opportunity to serve both the church and city we were called to,” Strauss said. Helping the city resolve challenges opened relationships that, in many cases, generated new Christians and grew the church.
Some of those new members included other council members and city staff, which proved helpful when working with other church planters selecting ideal locations for new churches in fast-growing Buckeye.
These community and economic-development subjects were not taught at seminary, so he had to learn them “on the fly” while starting and growing a church, as well as being a public official, Strauss said.
Strauss was asked in 2017 to return to his hometown, and after developing a core group and launch team, on Sept. 30, 2018, Edmond, Community formally began.
His wife Christina, a former elementary school principal, serves as children’s minister at the church.
Straus said he is “building on principles the Lord taught me in Arizona. With its 4.3 percent annual growth rate, Edmond is the fastest-growing city in Oklahoma.”
Edmond, Community is presently searching for land and “a permanent home from which to serve the Lord and minister to the Edmond area.”
He continued, “This season of COVID has challenged us to evaluate how we keep our church family connected while still sharing the hope Jesus offers to all people. It’s forced us to be creative and flexible in the way we worship and minister, but the Lord has taken good care of us. Five more families have joined recently.”
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.
Ray Strauss was featured in the 2021 Missionary Prayer Guide for Oklahoma Baptists. To see Pastor Strauss’s prayer requests, visit oklahomabaptists.org/cp