Sunday at Metropolitan

post date: May 5, 2009

I enjoyed my time with Randy Faulkner in Oklahoma City.
Before the week gets too far gone, I want to say thank you to Randy Faulkner and the congregation of Metropolitan Baptist Church for their hospitality during my whirlwind visit over the weekend. I use the word advisedly because I more or less blew in (along with the rain that came on Saturday), preached four times on Sunday, and then flew home yesterday. I arrived in Oklahoma City around 1 PM on Saturday and left at 6 AM on Monday. Even by my standards, that’s a quick trip.

But we did have time to visit the revitalized downtown area. In the early 90s some visionary leaders led a major campaign that created an entire new downtown, one that has even attracted an NBA team (the Thunder). We ate lunch at Bricktown across from the new minor league ballpark and next to the canal that reminds you of the San Antonio River Walk. After lunch we saw the very moving and visually dramatic memorial to the victims of the bombing that destroyed the Murrah Federal Building. Two members of Metropolitan died in the bombing on April 19, 1995. 

I always like it when pastors speak well of their city. Randy spoke about Oklahoma City with the love that can only come from spending many years in the area. After twenty years at the church, he knows many of the civic leaders personally. He is obviously proud of the progress Oklahoma City has made in the last two decades, and that makes a visitor even happier to be there. 

On Sunday I preached four times–at the two morning worship services, to the combined adult Sunday School, and at the evening service. I could tell that Metropolitan has had excellent pulpit ministry for many years. Since 1965 they have had only two pastors–David Cotten and Randy Faulkner. That sort of pastoral longevity builds a strong ministry. The people listened carefully as I spoke on the life of Peter. Many people shared how much they were encouraged by the message of hope that no matter how much we have messed up, God’s grace can restore us. After the evening service a man came up to me, grabbed my hand, and said, “You brought me back. I needed to hear what you said, and you brought me back to where I needed to be.” But it wasn’t me. It was the Lord.

While perusing the church website, I discovered the most amazing treasure trove of online messages I have seen anywhere. If you go to their message archive, you will discover audio files that go all the way back to 1965. That’s amazing. I don’t know any other website that contains 44 years of messages. This represents a major labor of love and a tremendous gift to the body of Christ (all the messages are free for downloading) because it must have taken thousands of hours to convert the messages from reel-to-reel tapes and cassette tapes into usable mp3 files. And the sound quality is excellent on the ones I checked. 

I am grateful to Randy and his wife Connie for their kindness, and grateful also for the many new friends I made last Sunday at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.


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Ray Pritchard
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