Grants Pass Says 'See You Later' to Martins

May 02, 2017 | Jennifer Burkes

Christian Martin performed his final eight baptisms March 25 as leader of the Grants Pass Church. He also offered a prayer of dedication for four children before preparing to transition to a church in Colorado.

Martin’s final sermon in southern Oregon contained the same passion and energy he brought to Grants Pass only five years earlier. Through times of joy and of sorrow, he slowed down just once in five years — when he sustained two cervical spinal fractures in a tractor accident in June 2015.

After facing paralysis and nearly dying, Martin returned to the pulpit just weeks later. He returned with renewed zeal to deliver God’s message. His passion, energy and zeal for God’s Word will be a blessing for the Denver South Church in Colorado. Martin described this church as “… a multicultural and metropolitan church with amazing evangelistic potential.”

Martin and his wife, Heidi, arrived in Oregon from Michigan with their kids, Elijah and Moriah, in February 2012. The "Martin4" quickly became a blessed part of the church family in Grants Pass. Martin served first as an associate pastor with emphasis on youth ministry for 10 months. His ministry also included the Cave Junction Church. When senior pastor Marvin Clark announced his retirement to the two saddened congregations and after much prayer and discussion, Martin was named senior pastor. 

The Martin family was present for five years during many important events within both congregations. There were a number of evangelistic series, more than 100 baptisms, a handful of weddings and several memorial services. There were graduation celebrations, youth events and church socials. The Martins effectively supported and comforted their church family during tragedy and rejoiced during celebrations and victories. 

Martin expressed his wishes for the congregation as he concluded his sermon. His final appeal to the Grants Pass Church was to “continue to be the best.” He urged each person to be the best they can be in Christ. When speaking, and (later) in writing, he explained that being “BEST” means you “… believe in each other and in His promises, encourage one another and lift each other up, share your hearts with one another, [and] trust always in God with all your heart, soul and mind.”

A farewell celebration and game night was held at the Grants Pass Seventh-day Adventist School. The Martin family was presented with an Oregon state-shaped picture collage. Pictures of the Martins and various church members are an abridged record of their time in Oregon.

There were tributes, song, prayer, laughter and tears to close five years of ministry. Instead of saying goodbye, many chose to say, “See you later.”

Soon a day will arrive when there will be no more sorrow or separation. God never calls someone away without a plan. He has great plans for the Grants Pass and Cave Junction churches. He also has great plans for Denver and the Martin family.