Gary W. Hawkins | FoNAC Executive Director
Cherokee/Muscogee Creek [Creek Citizen]
Fellowship of Native American Christians |FoNAC
Pastor of Native Stone Baptist Mission, Tulsa, OK
CPC for Native Americans, NAMB
A Testimony of God’s Grace
Mercy and Blessings
Glory to GOD!
I’m Gary Hawkins, Native American of Creek and Cherokee decent, I was brought up in NE OK near the small town of Eufaula. My family was at best a nominal Christian family but I have fond memories of attending VBS at an early age and going to church on rare occasions but it wasn’t priority in the lives of our family. I was taught very little about the Word of God throughout my formative years. At the age of 6, I made a profession of faith at the conclusion of a Vacation Bible School but all through my growing up years I never felt secure with that decision.
As I became a teen I got caught up in a lifestyle that bore no semblance to Christianity. Upon graduating high school I entered college hoping to acquire a college degree. The second year of school I married the girl that I had been dating for almost 4 years and I thought things would finally settle down but it wasn’t to be. It seemed that my life was bent on destruction with little hope of finding my way. I had dreams of obtaining a good education, having a family, starting a career and being happy but I continued to be my own worst enemy. Towards the last of my second year of college a pastor’s wife from a small Choctaw Indian Church made a visit to our home and shared John 3:16 with my wife and me. I recall as she read the scripture she inserted our names at the place where it stated ‘for God so loved the world”, to read, ‘for God so loved Gary and Paula Hawkins that He gave His only begotten Son”. This was the first time someone shared with us that God loved unconditionally. It was hard for me to believe that such a thing as “unconditional love” existed and that it could apply to me because all I could see about my life was hopelessness, helplessness and someone so undeserving of God’s love. This dear lady made a wonderful gospel presentation but I didn’t receive Christ at that time but it was a real life altering experience to have my worldview challenged to such a degree. A few months passed and after much persuasion I attended a revival at a little Creek Indian Church and on the second night of the revival I felt the urging of God’s Spirit calling me to receive Christ.
My entire being changed the moment I accepted Christ, my desire was to learn all I could from the Word of God. I thank God that my pastor was a godly man who was willing to invest time mentoring andteaching the Word of God to me and equipping me with resources to help me grow in my walk with Christ. I learned to witness early in my Christian life since most of the people I knew were not believers in Christ, I shared the Gospel with all who would listen. Some of my friends were so glad to hear how Christ had changed my life, yet very few of them were willing to receive Christ.
The motivation for my life’s journey has been Christ’s love for me and for all of mankind and the fact that He is not willing that any should perish. As a follower of Christ my life has been affected in every area as the Lord has revealed things that I needed to stop doing as well as the things for me to devote my life’s attention to in order to become a fruitful Christian. My Pastor was a very missional thinking man whose focus was doing God’s Kingdom Work and he helped me discover opportunities of service that looked far beyond my immediate surroundings.
I became a minister of the Gospel after 5 years and served as a youth minister alongside of my Pastor. After a few years the Lord called my Pastor into full-time Native American Evangelism and I became the Pastor of the church in which I had received Christ. After a few years the Lord called me to become a missionary to Native Americans, I tried to justify why I couldn’t but the Lord continued to stir my heart and it became more and more apparent that the Lord’s call was not going to pass away, I saw this as another giant step of faith. Since that time I have planted and re-started churches among Native Americans in NW Montana, the Central Plains Tribes of OK, and the Southwest Pueblo Indians.
During the 10 previous years I have served as a Church Planting Missionary jointly employed by the North American Mission Board and the Baptist General Convention of OK. In Jan 2012 I was informed that my funding would be concluding Dec 2012. After much prayer my wife and I prayed about a call that was extended to me to become the first Executive Director of a newly formed Native Christian Organization which is a Christ-centered, faith based organization designed to come alongside of existing Native ministries networking with tribes and ministry partners to evangelize, assist existing churches, plant new churches and leadership development. In June of 2012 I was installed as the first Executive Director of FoNAC during the Southern Baptist Convention at our Native Fellowship meeting. My ministry focus continues to share Christ with people from all walks but my primary ministry focus group is the Native People of North America. There are so many barriers and obstacles to minister among Native Americans which we at FoNAC are working to establish bridges to helping Native people reaching Native People for Jesus through empowering indigenous people to become the work force on the field. Realizing this is a God-sized task, we are asking God’s people to become ministry partners giving prayer and financial support.
Gary and Paula Hawkins
Biblical World View
Gary presenting his class on Biblical World View
2017 FoNAC Training Conference
Gary speaking during one of the General Sessions at the 2017 FoNAC Training Conference in Phoenix.
2017 SBC Annual Meeting, Phoenix, AZ
Gary visiting with a local native woman at the Phoenix Convention Center