Mark Fugitt pastoring Mountain Grove Family Church - Mountain Grove News-Journal : News

Mark Fugitt pastoring Mountain Grove Family Church

Posted: Tuesday, July 14, 2015 1:41 pm

Mark Fugitt was able to return to the Tri-County area in December of 2013 as a pastor  with the Mountain Grove Family Church.

Fugitt had been serving as an associate pastor with the Westside Baptist Church in Waynesville, when it became known that an area church that was having difficulty was interested in trying to find a method of continuing to keep its doors open. The church had contacted the Missouri Baptist Convention with their wish. The church had been in operation for about 20 years and had started a building project about 10 years ago. Fugitt later found that the church was in the Mountain Grove area, just one mile east of the city on Bus. Hwy. 60.

Fugitt stated that he had grown up in smaller churches. His father currently is pastor of the Norwood First Baptist Church. Since 2006 he has been in full-time ministries and three years he had been with West Side Baptist.

Fugitt and his wife, Laura, have four children, Sahara, Crusoe, Atlas and Hawke.

In his new position at Mountain Grove Family Church, he serves as a church planter with the North American Mission Board. This is the first time he has worked in this area which helps originate churches.

Fugitt stated that he had early on anticipated being a pastor, and that he had always been involved with music in a church. It was in college that he started to move toward the ministry. He initially received an undergraduate and graduate degree in history, and later received a Masters degree in Theology.

Fugitt stated that his call to help restart the church worked out well, and there even was an extra house on a nearby farm that his father had recently purchased.

Fugitt stated that Mountain Grove Family Church started fresh and didn’t even have a name for awhile. He stated that he is happy that most of the original members are still coming, and they have been able to see growth in the church and its building project. The church had a great deal of finish work needed on the interior. The church members were able to move into the sanctuary for the Christmas Eve service last year. Previously they had met around a table, but now have on average 100 attending each Sunday.

The larger building helps, as opposed to a store front start to a church, it has been an extra blessing, Fugitt stated. They hope to have their major building projects completed by the end of the summer.

Fugitt outlined several plans for the church including the addition of Wednesday night youth and children’s programs. They hope to have these started soon after Labor Day.

During the summer they have concentrated on the church garden which is designed to provide produce for those needing help. Fugitt explained that they had been looking for projects to serve the community, and since the church was sitting on seven acres they had room to develop the garden. Approximately one half acre has been prepared for the garden. This is the second year for the garden. Last year approximately 100 persons were provided produce. He explained that he had worked with a church in northern Michigan which had a garden area for the use of the public, and they discovered that many times community members would not think about the garden during the times when plants needed to be planted or other parts of the gardening process and they would end up with a plowed plot of ground. So the church members decided it would be better to try and do the gardening themselves and give the produce away, he said.

“We think of it as a ‘garden for the community,’” Fugitt said.

Because of this approach, they have had to develop some low maintenance garden methods. Fugitt stated that they have had mission teams come in and help at times of need. Last year they gave away everything they produced. This year they hope to spread the food out more evenly, and a church has provided them with wooden distribution boxes. They also are attempting to make sure people know what to do with the foods they receive, and are providing recipes. Once the garden starts fully producing this year they will give produce away at the church site on Thursdays from 1 to 6 p.m.  

“This was well received last year, and we are trying to do this with no strings attached. Our goal is to give food away,” he stated.

A church in Oak Grove has also partnered with the local church to provide some items other than produce.

This will be the first time that Fugitt has been the lead pastor, and he stated that this, along with being a church planter, lends itself to a special challenge. He explains that he has to keep in mind if they are not out inviting people to the services that they may not have anyone attending. It may make us think differently, he stated, and pointed out that they have to think on how they can connect with the community.

By default, everyone is relatively new to the congregation, he stated.

“It’s a totally different feel than with an established church. You have to think more like a missionary,” he explained.

“You feel the pressure, but it’s a healthy pressure. You have to show people that there is something different here,” he stated.

Fugitt stated that there are a lot of good churches around, but that they have to find ways to make people feel comfortable at their church.

“We have to decide if an event is going to be worthwhile. If not we won’t do it,” he stated.

“We want to do what it takes to be effective. It is good for the church to share its vision,” he said.

“We are officially a Southern Baptist Church, but we have a lot of people from different backgrounds,” Fugitt said.

He stated that they attempt to have a casual, welcoming atmosphere with a combination of fairly contemporary music and solid theology.