Rusty Gunn serves as a church planting catalyst with Send Network Oklahoma. In partnership with the North American Mission Board’s Send Network, Send Network Oklahoma seeks to plant churches in strategic areas to reach the more than 2 million Oklahomans who do not have a relationship with Jesus.
Rusty’s job as a church planting catalyst includes cultivating relationships with pastors and church members, coaching church leadership toward church multiplication and sparking movement between pastors and church planters. Through Send Network Oklahoma, Rusty can offer resources that equip churches to discover, develop and deploy church planters and church planting teams.
As potential planters are identified, Rusty guides them and existing church planters through Send Network Oklahoma’s planter pathway, which includes assessment, orientation, training, coaching and care.
According to the Pew Research Center, 66 percent of Oklahomans are considered “highly religious.” This might lead one to believe that sharing the Gospel with Oklahomans would be easy. Not so, says Rusty.
“Idolatry in many forms is a great hindrance to people in our state receiving the Gospel,” he said. “These modern idols are not the little statues most think of when it comes to idolatry. They are idols such as ‘The American Dream,’ little league sports, college football, hunting, pleasure and even family.”
Additionally, many churches feel they are in competition with each other, which creates a different challenge.
Rusty said, “Overcoming the territorial spirit that exists in many churches can be difficult. I really enjoy working with churches who are open-handed toward kingdom work. When a pastor recognizes that another Gospel-preaching church is not competition but is instead a partner on the same team and with the same dream, so much fruit is born.”
Pray that all Oklahomans—indeed all Christians worldwide—will work together in unity with the Holy Spirit toward the goal of bringing many into God’s kingdom. Pray also for more people to answer the call to plant churches and that more churches will catch the vision and passion for church planting. Pray also for the Gunn family and their local church, Sand Springs, Church That Matters, as Rusty is often on the road working in this great ministry.
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.
Rusty Gunn is featured in the 2023 Missionary Prayer Guide for Oklahoma Baptists. For more information about the Cooperative Program, visit oklahomabaptists.org/cp.