Mt. Olive builds healthy, stable church
RUSSELLVILLE—Sometimes the most successful ministries are the simplest ministries.
The pastor and members of Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Russellville, believe this because they live it every day.
For them, the vision is simple: understand the Great Commission, and then put it into action.
“Our church has grasped the vision and has put feet to it,” said Alan Earls, pastor of Mt. Olive.
But Earls is quick to recognize that this vision was put into place long before his tenure began.
“I’m the pastor today, but all the hard work was done in the past 40, 50 and 60 years,” he said.
Mt. Olive was blessed to grow under the leadership of one man for 43 years.
Farrie Cole, now retired, spent much of his extensive pastorate investing in the lives of his members. He focused on raising a church that was loving, caring and passionate about serving others. As a result, the senior adults in the church today exemplify these qualities and pass them down to younger generations.
With the blessing of stability and spiritual maturity, the members of Mt. Olive are quick to share the love of Christ with the people around them in what has become known as a healthy church.
“Every visitor that comes to our church says that this is a church that loves me like I’ve always been there,” Earls said. “They feel comfortable and welcome and I believe the love of God is demonstrated in us.”
This simple plan has penetrated the hearts of the locals in this small rural community. Wednesday nights are devoted to outreach, especially to the children in the area. Mt. Olive provides a meal and a children’s Bible study that is outlined similar to a Sunday School class. This is important to Earls because these community children are not likely to come to Sunday morning worship, but they come after school on Wednesday.
“We reach out to the children to get them involved and plugged in,” Earls said. “Our Wednesday night children’s coordinator, Michelle Ford, does a great job of that.”
Wednesday night outreach also brings in teenagers from the community.
“Mike Nichols [the youth pastor] does a great job reaching out [to the youth], loving them and inviting them to fellowship,” Earls said. “God has blessed us with the opportunity and we want to take advantage of that.”
For the members of Mt. Olive, they are seizing every opportunity God has given them. With approximately 120 members in Sunday worship, the church believes that God wants them to focus on vision, not numbers.
“Many pastors focus on seeing the results in numbers,” Earls said. “We focus on the vision and allow the numbers to come.”
Because of their commitment to vision, Earls believes growth will come.
God has laid it on Earls’ heart to focus on spiritual growth this year. The members of Mt. Olive will learn to grow in their relationships with Christ, go share the Good News of the Gospel, and grow God’s Kingdom.
Three simple steps, but one birthed straight from the heart of Christ. And for Mt. Olive, it’s a vision they can put their feet to.