Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

July 29, 2013

90 years of ministry in the Valley

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat — Continuing the longevity of any church in today’s world seems to lean on more than simply having a building people can enter, but also how they’ve managed to spread that ministry beyond those who find comfort in its pews.

One such example, Christian Life Church of Pauls Valley, is getting ready to celebrate a milestone of such accomplishments for its 90th year.

It’s something Pastor Neil Barlow is thrilled to be a part of as he’s the latest chapter in the congregation’s legacy that began in 1923. P

ast and present members are invited to a two-day event Aug. 3-4 to share how it has touched their lives and use it as motivation for the future.

“The idea of 90 years of ministry, there’s so many people who have come out of our church who are in some sort of ministry,” said Barlow.

“When you’ve been around that long you can see that reach.”

A full slate of events gets going Aug. 3 with a meet-and-greet from 2 to 4 p.m. at the church and then a dinner from 5 to 6 p.m. This will be followed up with one of their most popular regular staples, a gospel singing from 6 to 9 p.m.

The festivities continue the next day with breakfast back at the church from 8:30 to 10 a.m., a celebration service from then until noon, followed by lunch at the Bosa Center until 1:30 p.m. and wrapping up with the anniversary celebration that will go until about 3 p.m.

The bishop of their branch of the Pentecostal church, Randell Drake, plans to speak during the service, and Barlow hopes several other former ministers or those who went into ministry after leaving come back to offer a few words to parishioners.

“It gives people an opportunity to sing and maybe give some of them the chance to show those things they developed at Christian Life years ago,” said Barlow, noting how another local flavor will be providing the lunch through Tammy D. Catering.

“We’re hoping to get some of those people to visit… It’s more of a getting together and celebration.”

What makes this so special to Barlow is how the church has grown on him in the decade he’s preached there so far, which is saying something since he actually first turned down a full time position offer from Drake after he had only initially filled in during the time the church did not have a pastor.

In fact, it was his wife Christy, a native who grew up and attended school here, who had the actual connection and eventually helped convince him to give it a longer try.

Following plenty of prayer, it didn’t take long for their passion to form around the community and church with the plan now to be there as long as his congregation will allow.

The church is located at 820 S. Walnut, and for more information Barlow can be contacted through their facebook page or

“We committed then we’d be here as long as we could and the next thing it was 10 years and four kids later,” said Barlow.

“I credit the board and people for there being a chance to celebrate 90 years.”