By John R. Schirmer
After three years as youth minister at First Baptist Church of Nashville, Michael Dyar recently accepted a position as elementary children’s pastor at a church in Tulsa. His first day with the Oklahoma congregation was Sunday.
Looking back on his time with the Nashville youth group, Dyar said there have been “a lot of highlights. We’ve seen kids who’ve come into our student ministry and their desire to serve the Lord and grow in their faith.”
Mission trips to Oklahoma City “were great. Our New Orleans trip this summer was phenomenal. Everything about it was great.”
Dyar said he “loved the diversity of our group. I told kids not to just go through the motions and not just take things at face value.”
Wednesday, Oct. 5, was the final time the youth and Dyar were together for a regularly scheduled event. “We shared trip stories. We talked about funny things kids have done. It’s really rewarding to see the love we all share.”
Dyar and his wife Lara made the move to Tulsa during the weekend. He will minister out of the Church at South Tulsa, part of the multi-campus Church at Battle Creek.
The congregation has no Sunday night or Wednesday night activities. “It’s all focused on Sunday morning,” Dyar said.
The church has two Sunday morning services. “I’l be in the first one as a member. The other one, I’ll be in charge of the kids’ area of service,” Dyar said.
Much of the congregation’s work is “volunteer driven. I”ll recruit and train volunteers. There’s no Sunday School. They do home groups that meet different times throughout the city.”
Dyar said there are 108 children in grades K-6 at the South Tulsa location. The central campus at Battle Creek has 600-700 children.
The church is “mission minded with a different way of ministry,” Dyar said. There are lead pastors at each campus, with Dyar filling the role at South Tulsa. The church has an overall mission and vision which is “the purpose behind what they do.”
One of the first events for Dyar will be the Fall Free for All at the end of October. In the spring, there’s the Easter Eggs-travaganza. The church has toy give-aways, school supply drives, a fourth and fifth grade DiscipleNow and a host of other activities and ministries.
There are “neat strategies to reach people and plug them into the church where they will have a part to play,” Dyar said.
Dyar was contacted about the Tulsa opening by his friend Sean Mills, a former employee of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention who is senior pastor at the Battle Creek church. Ironically, Mills preached at First Baptist, Nashville on numerous occasions during the pastor church which eventually led to the hiring of Rev. Kevin Sartin.
“Sean told me about the position and asked if I could interview. This was before Labor Day weekend. Lara and I talked about it. We looked back at where we are here, and saw there were clear signs that God would move us. We absolutely love Nashville, but God was moving in our hearts,” Dyar said.
Dyar agreed to the interview and went to Tulsa on a Monday. The next day, he was offered the job.
“It’s definitely hard saying goodbye. There have been some great families who have worked with us. We’ve really gotten close to them. We’ll be back to visit, and our door is always open in Tulsa. My phone number isn’t changing,” Dyar said.
Along with the change of job, another major event awaits the Dyars. Their first child is due Nov. 17. Lara has found a doctor in Tulsa, and the couple will await the arrival there instead of returning to her physician in Arkansas.
Dyar’s final day at First Baptist was last Friday. The youth group fed served the Scrapper football team before the Homecoming game against Joe T. Robinson.
For the Dyars, “This was the perfect ministry, perfect town, perfect relationships. God blessed our ministry here. It’s hard to say bye to a place we call home.”