Who We Are
HISTORY. Oak Grove Church has deep roots in the Mercer area. The original church was built in 1862 and the first service held there was for a young man named William Bland who died in the battle of Bull Run, the first battle of the Civil War. William was a member of Oak Grove Church and his family had donated the land on which the church was built. Oak Grove Church was a part of the Wesleyan Methodist Connection from that time until 2006 when the church became independent. A new church building was completed in 2005 with the first service being on March 6 of that same year. And though today we have a new face and a new focus, the faith of those early years continues to be the foundation on which we build.
STAFF. Hi! My name is Randy Ritchey and I’m the senior pastor here at Oak Grove. I came here in 1986 from Barberton, Ohio where I was associate pastor of a thriving congregation. Witnessing the transformation of families and individuals has been the most exhilarating thing I’ve ever experienced and I brought that passion for life-change to Oak Grove. The theme or passion of my ministry has been “back to the Bible”. Our lives MUST be based on what the Bible says. Church has always been a very real part of my life. I was carried there as an infant and still look forward to going into the house of the Lord every Sunday. I am married to my best friend, Chris, and we have three wonderful children! God has also blessed our family with a beautiful daughter-in-law and an awesome son-in-law! Our daughter Megan, and her husband Matt are expecting their first baby and with that announcement comes the fact that my wife and I will join the ranks of being “grandparents” for the very first time! We are thrilled to add this new little blessing to our family sometime in December 2011.
Our lay minister here at Oak Grove is Bill Ewing. Bill and his wife Cinda were attending Oak Grove when we arrived in 1986. Bill owns his own construction business and Cinda is a nurse working at George Junior(a boys home) in Grove City. Bill and Cinda have three boys and in 2007 God blessed their family with a “daughter” although it is a “daughter-in-law!” Cinda is thankful for another female voice in the house! Bill teaches an adult SS class and fills the pulpit on occasion when needed. We could not ask for more faithful workers here at Oak Grove.
The visitation pastor is Roger Overmyer. He helps carry the load for Pastor Ritchey by visiting those in the nursing homes and anyone else Pastor feels needs encouragement. Rev. Overmyer does occasional preaching and teaching here at the church. He and his wife Darylene are great examples to all of us.
Our director of Outreach is Paul Slozat. Paul came to us with a burden for lost souls and has a passion for seeing people brought to newness of life in Christ Jesus. Paul directs our Prayer Station ministry and is in charge of other means of outreach as they arise during the course of the year. Paul and his wife Naomi have two boys whom they home-school.
Our children’s ministry director is Chris Ritchey. Chris is the wife of Pastor Ritchey and has been conducting Jr. Church for 29 years. She has a love for children and works with them to see that their hearts and minds are instructed in the ways of the Lord. Chris is also the church secretary and keeps busy during the weekdays organizing and running the office here at Oak Grove.
Jim Bickel is our Youth Director. Jim and his wife Pam have a love for young people and strive hard to see that they are an important part of our congregation. Jim is an excellent teacher and provides relevant material for our young people at their weekly Sunday evening meetings. The youth activities which are held once a month are not something the kids want to miss! There is always an emphasis on fun and fellowship. Jim and Pam’s family consists of two daughters and a son, a son-in-law, a daughter-in-law and baby Ben.
VALUES. As long as humans have been alive there has been cause for disagreement over issues ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime. There are generally as many opinions as there are people. We recognize that, and have decided that only a few are worth fighting for. The following is a list of beliefs we will never compromise:
- There is One God who created us in His image and Who desires a personal relationship with us. Genesis 1
- The Bible is His Word. It is completely true and authoritative in our lives. To read, understand and know it will result in life-change. 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Peter 1:25
- Every person is guilty of acts of disobedience against God and is separated from God because of their sin. Romans 3:23-24
- Salvation has been provided through the death of God’s Son, Jesus. He took our punishment on the Cross and rose from the grave to demonstrate his power over sin and death. To be saved we simply confess our sin and put our faith in Jesus. Romans 5:13,16; 6:23
- All those people who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord make up the one true Church. The local church is a microcosm of that universal church, in which every person plays a significant role. Matthew 28:18-20; Colossians 1: 18; Acts 2:42-47
- Our responsibility as human beings can be summed up in two commands, “love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” Deuteronomy 6:5