MIDWEST CITY, Okla. (BP) – Meadowood Baptist Church thrives in this Oklahoma City suburb as a result of its emphasis on missions, prayer, unflinching preaching, and a team approach.
It helps that the staff has worked together for many years, Bob Rutherford said. Rutherford has been senior pastor for 39 years in April. Others, 29 years, 21 years, 17 years, and two on board for three years.
Launched to be a missional church in 1963 by First Baptist Church in Midwest City, Meadowood takes that task seriously. It lives out its belief in the importance of missions, ministry and outreach to liberally do its part in spreading the Gospel.
The church’s commitment to the Cooperative Program is foundational. Through the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists work together help build God’s kingdom in North America and throughout the world.
“We believe our prayer and financial support for the Cooperative Program is the most effective way we can be involved in foreign missions,” Rutherford said. In addition to the 10 (sometimes more) percent of undesignated offerings allocated to missions through the Cooperative Program, Meadowood contributes $18,000 annually to the Capital Baptist Association to support mission endeavors in the Oklahoma City area.
For the church’s outreach there is the non-profit Mission Mid-Del, which Meadowood started in 1992. This umbrella entity focuses on eastern Oklahoma County. It has grown to include a laundry list of ministries, such as the Master’s Market, which supplies food, cleaning products, clothes and other items families might need, such as pots and pans, dishes and the like.
Up to 80 people come in for help twice a week. First step is for an empathetic counselor to gauge the severity and type of need and to show how life is better with Jesus in it.
“We find people in all situations,” Missions Minister Alex Aaron said. “We can’t fix everything for them but we can do something. But in all we do we want to point them to Christ because He’s the ultimate provider. That’s the long-term hope we have as we minister to people. We encourage them to trust Christ in every area of their lives.”
Also under the Mission Mid-Del umbrella,
- Whiz Kids, an after-school tutoring program that brings friends, mentors and role models to disadvantaged inner-city elementary students.
- Crazy Quilts – volunteers in this ministry take fabric home to piece together quilts, which are tacked at the church twice a month, providing hand-crafted warmth for those in need.
- Healing Hearts Clinic. Meadowood, along with four other Southern Baptist churches, work together to provide free medical services. In addition to medical care, thus far about $6.5 million in prescriptions for the needy in eastern Oklahoma County has been provided.
- The Toy Store collects Christmas gifts all year long for youngsters up to age 14 who have been screened by their school. For Christmas 2021, 449 children received gifts from the Toy Store.
“This is the easiest place I’ve ever served to share the Gospel with people,” Aaron said. “We’re meeting some very real needs in our community, demonstrating the love of Christ through food, clothes or whatever. We are meeting some physical needs in a very meaningful way and it opens the door for the Gospel to be shared. We witness to every person we serve.”
Meadowood Church is known for its longstanding literacy and international program, led by volunteers. Since its start in 1977, more than 2,000 adult students from more than 40 nations have gathered weekly to learn English as a Second Language and how to thrive in their new culture.
Further afield, Meadowood helps with a church start in Paraguay, ministries in Thailand, in Germany with Arab refugees, and with teens in Rapid City, S.D., women at Oklahoma State University, and unwed mothers and their children in Midwest City.
In addition, Meadowood receives offerings throughout the year from members for its World Missions Offering, which maximizes missions giving for the International and North American mission boards, and the Edna McMillan State Missions Offering.
About 300 people attend Sunday services at Meadowood; another 200 or more watch online, with another 500 viewing on Facebook during the week.
More than 80 prayer warriors are part of Meadowood’s intercessory prayer team.
“Since COVID we started e-mailing prayer requests to our prayer team as soon as we received them,” Rutherford said. “This has been well received by the ones involved in our prayer ministry. Prayer is essential to all we do at Meadowood as the power of God to convict, guide, provide, protect, comfort and bless comes as a result of believers praying.
“We seek to be a place where God’s Word is declared, disciples are developed, and the church is deployed for the glory of God in all we do. Worship is the most important thing we do. Our purpose is to present the person of Jesus Christ and build His kingdom one life at a time.”
Before accepting an unexpected call to pastor while still in seminary, one of Rutherford’s professors encouraged him to preach the Bible. Bob Rutherford has done this through the years.
His straight-talking messages, “just preaching the Bible,” remind his listeners to keep – and how to keep – their life focused on what God wants and not on themselves or the “evil that permeates the world.”
“Pray for the nation, for spiritual awakening,” Rutherford said. “Share God’s truth in love. You cannot be mad at people. Constant anger and bitterness does not help anyone. Jesus stressed love. Stand for the truth, in love.”