MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Features

July 19, 2013

Minister makes move to Checotah

CHECOTAH — John Hart’s move to take the position of associate minister at Checotah’s First United Methodist Church was a short hop from Sallisaw, but is major career move.

Several Checotah high school athletes may remember him as the man coaching basketball for the Sallisaw Tigers the last five years.

Hart was recently appointed to his first assignment as an associate minister by the Oklahoma Methodist Conference. A Methodist since 2009, he has helped lead worship in the new contemporary service at the United Methodist Church in Sallisaw. He plays guitar and was part of the church band that included non-traditional worship music.

Born in Woodward, he grew up and completed high school in Buffalo. He played baseball, basketball, and football. His father coached all three sports at the high school level. John later became a coach at Enid, Mooreland and Sallisaw.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts in history and education at the University of Central Oklahoma after transferring from Oklahoma Baptist University. He spent 13 years as an educator and coach. During his new appointment, John will  continue studies toward a Master of Divinity at Phillips University Theological Seminary in Tulsa.

John and his wife, Jennifer, have been married for 12 years. They have three daughters, Katie, 10; Karlee, 9; and Karaline, 7. Jennifer Hart served as director of youth and children’s ministries as well as director of Little Disciples preschool at Sallisaw.

In 2013, John applied for and was approved to be a local pastor in the Oklahoma Methodist Conference. He will be responsible for children and youth activities and will work with Wayne Loftin, First United Methodist pastor for the past four years. The church was recently recognized by the state conference as one of the fastest growing Methodist churches in Oklahoma.

“All of us at FUMC are excited that John and his family are joining us. We look forward to the many ways in which he will be involved not only with the church but throughout the community. I consider one of my favorite challenges that of helping associates grow into the role they will fulfill the rest of their life,” Loftin said in a media release.

John fishes, plays guitar and is an avid Oklahoma Sooner football and Oklahoma City Thunder fan.

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