The Norman Transcript

Religion

August 31, 2006

Interim pastor selected at First Baptist

Mack Roark selected to fill pulpit after Mike Fleischmann's April departure

By Melissa A. Wabnitz

Transcript Staff Writer

He was here before, and he'll be here again. Shawnee-based Mack Roark was selected, for the second time, to serve as the interim pastor at First Baptist Church in Norman.

His first interim stint at the church began in 2002 and ended in 2003, when pastor Mike Fleischmann was appointed to serve as head pastor. Through Fleischmann's leadership, the church started offering two separate worship services, "LifeSong," a contemporary service and "Classic Blend," a traditional sermon and music service. Fleischmann submitted his letter of resignation the first week of April, and left to minister to a church in San Diego this summer.

Following Fleischmann's departure, the congregation of the church began the search for an interim pastor, someone with not just experience, but an understanding of the diverse population of First Baptist. Roark, quite simply, fit the bill.

The former vice president of religious life at Oklahoma Baptist University said he will not only fill the pulpit, but meet with staff, deacons and committees to maintain the order of the church.

"We had a good relationship in the church back then, before Mike came as pastor, and I have a lot of friends there, and I have spent the last 20-something years," Roark said. "We can't start any long term programs, in a sense, but in another sense, what we want to do is keep all the good things going that are going, and help the church not loose any momentum during the interim."

One of the things attracting Roark to First Baptist is it's role as a flagship church, both in a local and broader, community sense, he said.

" It's just a very good place to be," Roark said.

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