Small town church makes large impact
by Brian Hobbs
PRUE—Compared to their mega church counterparts, smaller-in-attendance churches do not always grab the attention they often deserve. That could be doubly said for rural, smaller-in-attendance churches like Prue, First.
Situated near Keystone Lake in Osage County, Prue, First ministers in a town of about 500 people. Averaging 75 people on Sunday, this body of believers is making an impact for the Kingdom of God.
“We have a good cross section of ages in our church family,” said Garry McDevitt, who has pastored the congregation for the last 14 years.
Pointing to the basics of Sunday School, prayer, missions projects and more, McDevitt gives God the glory for any good things the church has done.
“Vacation Bible School this year was particularly a great experience,” said the pastor, who is a husband and father of two daughters. His wife, Lila Anne, helped run the VBS, during which several children professed faith in Christ.
The church offers a blended service on Sunday morning, with both hymns and contemporary songs.
“Some churches go contemporary overnight,” he said. “We gradually added modern-day worship songs, yet kept the hymns. I think it has been a good thing.”
Music is led by Jim Clark, a county commissioner in the area. Assisting him in musical worship is a young man named Zac Cunningham, who also helps lead the youth group service on Wednesdays, which draws a large group from the community.
“We are one of two churches in town,” said McDevitt. “I hope the Lord will continue to use our church to minister to the people in this town, and that we can send teams on mission trips to other parts of the nation and world, as we have done before.”
McDevitt, who has an identical twin brother, is now preaching through a series on Creation, emphasizing the miracle of God’s handiwork.
“Teams of scientists are only beginning to scratch the surface of what our Intelligent Designer has made,” he said.
For Prue, First, plans are underway for a new campus that would allow its Sunday School classes more space to grow.
“We have been blessed to have many baptisms over the years, and we have broken 100 in attendance at times,” McDevitt said. “With additional classroom space, we could make room for guests.”
“He’s more than our pastor,” said Nellie Moore, a longtime member of the church who helps in the children’s division. “He’s a counselor, neighbor and good friend. I don’t know what we would do without him.”
Members of the church also are taking part in the 6426 Project, a Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma initiative which emphasizes praying for the 6,426 unreached people groups throughout the world.
“Each of our Sunday School classes is praying for a particular people group,” McDevitt said.
“We want to follow the Lord and serve,” he emphasized. “We will blossom right where He has planted us.”
Brian Hobbs is director of communications for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.