It was the fall of 1975. I had attended a revival service at a church in Tonkawa. During the service, I felt a strange sensation in my soul. I was profoundly disquieted, and I did not know why. So, I found a lonely spot in the building and began to pray. Finally, in desperation, I cried, “Lord, do you want me to preach?” At that moment, the burden vanished. I was thrilled and terrified at the same time. I knew god had called me to preach the Gospel!
It was soon thereafter that I was selected to be the Wednesday night preacher-teacher at the small church my wife Karen and I were attending in Blackwell. A year later, I was sought out to be a youth pastor and three years later, I was asked to be the associate pastor at the first Baptist Church in Anadarko, Okla. Three years after taking that position, Christ’s Church in Newkirk asked me to be their first pastor. That was 36 years ago. Never have I sought any position of ministry, those positions always seem to find me.
Following the aforementioned pattern, a couple of months ago, longtime Newkirk resident, Vernon Rowe called me asking me to come preach for the Christ’s Church congregation. I did so, and to my surprise, I was asked to return as their pastor! I had been gone 17 years. After such a lengthy absence, it was extraordinary to be asked to again fill that role.
So, when I return Dec. 8, what can the congregation expect of me? Diligence, faithfulness, love, kindness and a passionate proclamation of God’s Word! Furthermore, we will work together to reach out to the lost and unchurched in our area.
The patriarch Abraham did not know where he was going, he only knew that he was following God (Hebrews 11:8). That we will do together.
I am so, so excited and filled with joy. I will be in Newkirk to fill the pulpit on Nov. 10. I invite you to come and join us in celebration and enjoy a dinner of Thanksgiving following the service. Please call Karen Hobbs at (580) 761-2905 or Debbie Spore at (580) 362-5331 to confirm your participation in the meal. Please bring a covered dish if you will be attending the meal.
Pastor Craig Ortwein.