By RENEE FITE
One local pastor found his way to the ministry after spending a summer in college as a student missionary.
Cookson Baptist Pastor Bart Skipper said his experience with the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention was one of the reasons he became a pastor.
“The Lord used that experience to lead me into the ministry, along with the intense desire he had placed in my heart through the years to share his love and offer of forgiveness of sins and eternal life to all who would trust in Christ as savior and Lord,” said Skipper.
Skipper has served the congregation at Cookson Baptist for 12 years, with the first four as associate pastor,
“I enjoy the relaxed family atmosphere God has blessed us with, where we can just be ourselves with one another, while at the same encouraging one another to continue to grow in Christian love and faith,” he said.
One of his favorite Scripture passages is John 17.
“Shows us the heart of our Lord,” Skipper said.
Skipper is a graduate of Westville High School, and holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Northeastern State University. He has completed coursework toward a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
He has served at Park Hill Baptist in Tahlequah and Spring Lake Baptist in Williford, Ark.
“I have had the privilege of serving with both Brother Herb Patterson at Park Hill and Brother Gerald Peters at Cookson. Both of these men have greatly influenced me for Christ, as I have seen the love they have for God and his people lived out in and through their lives on a daily basis,” said Skipper.
The variety of ways a pastor serves his congregation and community keep Skipper on the move.
“I could give a whole laundry list of things a small church pastor does, but I do the same things most all pastors do,” he said,
“I simply try to love and care for our church family by overseeing the various ministries and organizations of our church, preaching and teaching God’s word, reaching out to those who need to hear of Christ’s love for them, and being there when needed.”
The outreach at Cookson Baptist offers others hope and encouragement when needed.
“We have a wonderful faith family that give of themselves above and beyond, sacrificing personal comforts in order to help and encourage one another with the struggles and trials of life,” he said.
“We also have a lot of fun along the way, too.”
The church provides a full range of ministries and activities throughout the year for children, youth and adults.
“We always encourage parents to come to church with their kids and to make it a family priority as God intended,” he said.
They have an ongoing ministry to children and youth with weekly opportunities for worship, as well as fun activities, led by Youth Director Rebecca Allen.
“Of course, young people face all kinds of struggles associated with the desire to fit in and to be loved and accepted. We try to show them that this heartfelt need can be met through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ,” Skipper said.
Church worship services blend traditional hymns along with praise and worship.
“Our church is blessed with so many gifted musicians who love to use their talents for the Lord. We have a wide variety of musical styles represented,” he said.
“One of the favorite times for our church is the old-time fifth Sunday Singing we have a number of times throughout the year.”
The church supports local, state, and international missions by praying, giving, and going. Recently, they had a young adult fellowship trip to Tulsa, and each fall they look forward to the annual senior adult trip to Branson.
“I enjoy the people and the beautiful countryside, as well as the variety of outdoor activities available here,” said Skipper.
“It is also nice to live in a University town along with the opportunities that affords.”
Cookson Baptist Church, 32171 State Highway 82, hosts services as follows: Sunday school, 10 a.m.; morning worship, 11 a.m.; and Wednesday evening services, 6 p.m. For more information, call (918) 457-4122.