Free Will Baptist Church's Joshua Sloan: Faith, family, and music.

by Charles Gerian

For Blackwell’s Free Will Baptist Church’s Lead Pastor Joshua Sloan, it’s been a crazy four months.

Joshua and his wife Victoria moved to Blackwell on January 4, and their first service was just 3 days later, and their lives haven’t slowed down since…especially with a baby on the way.

“God called me into the ministry at a very young age,” said Joshua.

“I grew up in a Pastor’s home, and God impressed on my heart at a very young age that I would also grow up to be a Pastor.”

Joshua graduated in 2017 from Randall University in Moore, Oklahoma, with a Worship and Music Studies degree, and just this past weekend walked with his Master of Arts Degree in Ministry.

“I began full-time as a Worship Pastor in Bixby and later in Norman until 2020. At that time, I felt a call from God to become a Lead Pastor. In 2021, I became the Lead Pastor of Generations North Church in Bixby, OK. I pastored there until God called Victoria and me to Blackwell in 2024.”

Starting in Blackwell at the dawn of a new year was a sign for Joshua’s mission for Free Will Baptist Church.

“The specific mission we have adopted at First Free Will Baptist of Blackwell is Loving God, Loving Others, and Extending His Glory. This is the reason we exist. We must love God supremely with our all, living in the core purpose of an abiding relationship with God, where we strive to grow closer to Him and walk in obedience to Him,” said Pastor Sloan.

“To love others sacrificially as Christ first loved us. Lastly, we live to extend God’s glory in all we do, whether by word or deed. The chief motivation of the church is to live to bring God’s glory, especially by proclaiming His excellencies to the world, which is His Gospel message. So, every program and activity the church does is based on the why of who we are: loving God, loving others, and extending His glory.”

Joshua and Victoria were married on September 2 of last year.

“She is the most fantastic wife,” Joshua gushed, “such a godly woman.”

“Every day, I count myself so lucky that God decided to bless me with such a wonderful wife as her. We will also be having our first child within the next nine weeks! God has blessed us above and beyond this year! Victoria and I enjoy leading worship together; we met in school for worship.”

“She is an extraordinary singer. We love to sing harmony together while I play my acoustic guitar. We enjoy watching the Office and reading books and have had a lot of fun bowling at The Hub.”

Moving to Blackwell, Joshua said he and his wife were welcomed with open arms.

“When we moved here, our church family did so much to help us settle in. They made sure every part of the parsonage was working, the church women took the time to clean it before we arrived, and the people have shown us much love continually since we arrived,” Sloan said.

When asked what Joshua loved most about Blackwell so far, he said it was the people…and the food.

“The church and its people are my first answer. God has called us to a church of very godly and loving people. Pastoring them for the last 17 weeks has been a privilege,” he explained.

“Also, I have found myself a frequent customer of Jovani's Pizza & Subs. Their calzones have become a regular part of my weekly schedule. I am pretty sure they already know me by my first name.”

Churches are a vital part of not just Blackwell, but any rural community. Joshua addressed the importance, saying that churches aren’t just a key part of small towns…but any town.

“I think churches are vital and crucial to all communities. God’s Church and His people are His vehicles to show His love, hope, and mercy to the world. We desire to be used by Him to proclaim His Good News of Jesus Christ to the world. We strive to be a place for the hopeless to come and find the Living Hope.”

Free Will Baptist Church offers three weekly services: Sunday Morning (Sunday School at 9:30 AM and our service is at 10:30 AM), Sunday Evening at 6 PM, and Wednesday Evening at 7 PM.

Additionally, Free Will has a BI-Weekly Women’s Bible Study, and their Vacation Bible School is June 25-27.

Joshua said he has met several other leaders within the community, but he still has more to go:

“I have had a few wonderful conversations with a few local pastors, but I haven’t had the opportunity to meet all of them yet. I know they regularly meet to fellowship and support each other, which is terrific to be kingdom-minded.”

He continued:

“ I hope and look forward to building relationships with the other pastors and working together to meet the needs of our community.”

On the future of the church and the want to bring in new faces, Joshua said:

“Our plan is relationships. Most people step into a church not because of an invitation card but because of their relationship with the person who gave them the card.”

“Our focus will be to get into the community, love people, build relationships, and, from that same Christ-like love, invite them to come and be a part of our family at First Free Will Baptist.”

“The focus of our evangelism efforts will be centered around this. Loving the community and building authentic relationships with the unchurched. We want to be a place where those hurting and in need of hope can come and encounter God authentically and deeply.”