Oklahoma church sends church planter to metro-Cincinnati

By Karen L. Willoughby

Editor’s Note: A version of this story appeared in The Baptist Messenger and was adapted from the 2021 Missionary Prayer Guide for Oklahoma Baptists.

HAMILTON, Ohio – Ohio church planting missionary Ben Mangrum made a profession of faith in Jesus in Tahlequah, Okla., at Crescent Valley Baptist Church in 2010. In 2012, he surrendered to ministry and began serving on staff at Crescent Valley not long after and served on staff for seven years, the last four as executive pastor.

Crescent Valley tasked Mangrum in 2018 to learn more about how to send out people from their church to plant other churches. This opened Ben’s heart to the need for church planting and ultimately to the call in January 2019 to plant a church.

Ben and Brittany Mangrum, along with their four children, moved from Oklahoma to plant a church in Hamilton, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati. Inspiring Hope Church photo.

“We did a lot of praying,” Mangrum said, including his wife of 14 years, Brittany, and their four children ages 11 to 2. The couple took a vision trip in April 2019 to Cincinnati and fell in love with the city because of “the diverse culture and major need. Of the 2 million residents, only 13.7 percent of the people in the Cincinnati Metro area associate with an evangelistic church.”

The Mangrum family was part of a church planting residency in 2020 at Grace Point Fellowship in Franklin, Ohio. “They helped us navigate some things faster because of their experience,” the planter said.

With the financial support of the North American Mission Board, Crescent Valley and many other churches and individuals, the Mangrums began meeting in their home in June 2020 as Inspiring Hope Church.

The 33 people meeting in their house are looking for a facility to launch a service this year. They are involved in the local schools, providing breakfast and writing encouraging cards to teachers and staff at four local schools. They also provided 36 area children with Christmas gifts in 2020. Through a federal program, they distributed 100 boxes of food.

The newly-formed congregation has been studying through the Book of Acts and Sharing Jesus without Freaking Out, “to prepare their families to reach people in their city for Jesus,” Mangrum said.

Because of generous giving through the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists support an amazing array of ministries, including church planting across North America. This unified giving encourages fellowship with other believers all over the world. Collectively, Southern Baptists are advancing the Gospel together.

Published April 16, 2021

Karen L. Willoughby

Karen L. Willoughby is a veteran Southern Baptist journalist and a freelance writer.