By CRAIG HALL
A good year for Brock Hardin got much better on Sunday.
In the last year, the 31-year-old Hardin had started preaching one of the two morning services at First Baptist Church, bought a home and along with his wife, Brenn, had their third child last week.
Then, the FBC congregation voted Hardin in as the lead pastor at one of the largest churches in LeFlore County.
“It’s been a really good year,” Hardin said.
Sam Dyer is stepping down to associate pastor and will continue to preach the early service on Sunday morning while Hardin while preach the later service. It was not a demotion for Dyer, who has been with the church some 16 years, but was his idea.
The church’s deacons went along with the decision and Hardin was approved in a vote by the church’s membership on Sunday by a whopping 92 percent.
Hardin first joined the staff at FB in 2006 and served through 2009 as co-youth pastor. He left for a couple of years to serve as youth pastor at Southside Baptist in Poteau before returning in 2011.
When he first came into the ministry at FBC, there were some 40 students involved. That total increased to 80 in 2014 and swelled to 140 in the summer of 2016.
“Sam came and asked if I would preach the second service,” Hardin said. “Then we talked about my becoming the lead pastor in June. I felt like I was ready. I had turned down different churches in the past. I just couldn’t leave here and knew I was supposed to stay in Heavener.
“The plan the whole time was to make me pastor. The deacons were behind it 100 percent and the vote was 252 for and 22 against so I felt pretty good about that.”
Hardin said the transaction was not the typical way a church goes about it. Dyer will still be involved with his ministries and believes this will help the church grow and be better.
“I’m a Heavener guy and not trying to climb the ladder,” he said. “I want my kids to be Wolves. We’ve bought a home here and want to stay here and be here for the long haul.”
Hardin had plenty of praise for Dyer.
“I can’t say enough about the people and Sam,” Hardin said. “He mentored me and as the associate producer, it will give him more freedom for his street ministries.”
Hardin also had the opportunity to preach at KBA camp last week for the first time. His family also had a change as Phoebe was born May 25 to join Noah (5) and Khloe (4) in the Hardin household.
His wife has been one of his biggest supporters.
“She’s the one who encouraged me not to worry,” he said. “She told me that ever since we got married that she has dreamed about it since we got married.”
Hardin already knows the first thing he hopes to accomplish as pastor
“The number one thing I want is to bring new discipleship strategy and have more one-on-one with the members,” Hardin said.
He also has a hope for the future.
“I really think and dream that in 10 years we will be a mega church in southeastern Oklahoma,” he said. “I want us to lead as many people to the Lord as possible and connect to the church.”
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