The Stillwater Bible Church Story
Stillwater Bible Church began in September 2012 with over 40 believers who were seeking a fresh start. They shared a desire to be taught the Bible and to reach the city of Stillwater, the surrounding communities, and the world for Christ. The first gathering was held on Wednesday, September 12th in a large metal barn west of Stillwater. The warmth of that September evening was matched only by the warmth of Christian fellowship shared by those in attendance. Everything was new. No one was sure what was ahead but despite these uncertainties we gathered together in lawn chairs, to hear our dear friend JB Bond teach about a new beginning, about a timeless pattern for ministry, and about what might lie over the horizon for this new fellowship of believers. A tremendous sense of peace was among our small community of faith and as the evening continued, an awareness of our need for God’s strength and guidance grew. It was a defining moment for our fellowship.
During the next 10 days God’s faithfulness became overwhelmingly evident. One by one the difficulties we knew we would face seemed to move swiftly out of our way as the Lord guided us down the path toward the formation of the new church. We elected to call the new fellowship “Stillwater Bible Church”, met with an attorney to incorporate under that name, obtained office space, and secured the Stillwater Jr High as a worship facility all in the span of a few short weeks. Volunteers worked hours on end to refurbish the office space, move & setup donated office furniture, create signs to promote the new church, and make preparations for what lay ahead. Those days were filled with activity, and some uncertainty but on Sunday, September 23rd Stillwater Bible Church held its first Sunday morning worship services. JB taught that first Sunday to over 350 believers. The first milestone for Stillwater Bible Church had been reached.
Despite all that had been accomplished in such a short period of time, there was still a lot of work to be done so a transition committee was formed to assist in the establishment of church operations. One of the first items to be addressed was the hiring of staff to lead and direct various core aspects of the ministry. So on October 9th Stillwater Bible Church hired four professional staff members, including: JB Bond as Senior Pastor, Bryan James as Executive Pastor, Eric Austin as Education Pastor, and Stephen Scott as Director of Music & Media.
Having been blessed with a dedicated team of volunteers, a growing list of eager supporters ready to do the work of the ministry, and the expertise of seasoned pastoral leadership Stillwater Bible Church would quickly move from holding a single Sunday morning service (w/ nursery) to a full Sunday schedule which included Children’s Church and Sunday School classes for all ages. October 2012 would also see the beginning of our Women’s Ministry, Activities for College Students, our initial website (audio & video libraries), and outreach efforts made during the Downtown Stillwater Halloween Event.
November 2012 was a special month that included several noticeable gains. The first was the establishment of charter membership at SBC. Those who had been attending were given the opportunity to join Stillwater Bible Church for the first time since its beginning in September. Second, the transition team completed work on the church bylaws and disseminated them via email to the membership for prayerful consideration. SBC also held it’s first church-wide Thanksgiving Fellowship Supper at the Payne Co. Fairgrounds.
A long list of things to be thankful for and great attendance at the event made the evening very special for all. By the end of November the graphic designs for our new brand were completed and work would begin through December on the creation of marketing materials for SBC.
The month of December was also an exciting time for SBC. Our first significant milestone occurred on December 9th when the church membership voted unanimously to ratify the bylaws. The two Sundays that followed were host to a couple of firsts for SBC. On December 16th we held our first Baby Dedication Ceremony, and December 23rd we observed our first Lord’s Supper. In December the Women’s Ministry, called Women of Grace, held their first women’s fellowship event, “The Women’s Christmas Tea”. It was a tremendous event with over 80 ladies attending.
December was the three month mark in our ministry and things couldn’t have been better. Giving was consistently above our budgetary needs and our faithful members were continuing to give toward the building fund. December proved to be the end of our new beginning and the beginning of a great new year for a vibrant and enthusiastic fellowship.
The start of the new year solidified a number of things for the church. The finance committee had been working for a few months on a preliminary budget. Having had three months to see how healthy the church was financially, they had the peace of mind to present to the church body the 2013 Church Budget. By unanimous vote of the church membership, the budget was accepted on January 13th. On January 16th we began our first semester of the Stillwater Bible Institute at the Stillwater Community Center. Three classes were offered for adults as well as a nursery and activities for children and youth. We also began making preparations for our Home Fellowship Groups to begin in February. We were pleased with the initial response.
February was a tremendous month for SBC. The first of our Home Fellowship Groups met on February 3rd (Super Bowl Sunday) for a great time of food, fun and fellowship. On Tuesday, February 12th, JB held the first leadership seminar for those men who had been nominated as potential elders or deacons at SBC. The week of February 17-24th, we held our first media blitz to promote SBC to the community which included, car decals, SBC T-shirts, social media campaigns, radio and newspaper ads, and a live radio interview with JB on 105.5FM.
The pinnacle to all of these activities and the piece that made February a truly historical milestone was the generous donation of a 10 acre plot of land (free of charge to SBC) approximately 2 miles West of El Vaquero for the purpose of building a new church facility. On Sunday, February 24 the members of Stillwater Bible voted unanimously to accept the land donation and to elect all of the men who were nominated for elder or deacon.
- March 3rd: Launched our official website
- March 30th: Children’s Ministry held its first Egg Celebration at the Jr. High
- April 14th: Our first Membership Training Seminar at the Stillwater Jr. High
- April 15th: Our first Women’s Ministry Fellowship Supper at the Payne Co. Expo Center
- May 5th: Our first College Ministry Sunday, including: Scholarship Awards, and Final’s Feed
- May 19, 2013: Our first Youth Sunday recognizing graduating seniors
- June 23: Our first Fellowship Picnic on the new land that included our first baptism service.
- July 15-17: Our first Vacation Bible School at the Stillwater Jr. High
- August 4th: Launched the “Arise & Build” project to raise $1.5 million for our new building.
- September 22nd: Celebrated our 1 Year Anniversary with a special video presentation
- October 11th-12th: Our first Men’s Retreat at Camp Lela
- November 21st: First Men’s Breakfast at Best Western’s Cimarron Hotel
- March 9th: Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Arise & Build project on the land
- March 21st-22nd: First Youth Mission Trip to Dallas, Tx.
- August 23rd: Foundation for the new building is poured
- September 8th: Building construction begins with the arrival of the red iron
- July 12th: First Service in the newly completed Facility.