Known for years as “The City of Mineral Water” and “The Goldfish Capital of the World,” Martinsville, Indiana is also home to another long-standing venue: Emmanuel Apostolic Church, which was established in 1949. With vibrant worship and passionate preaching, Emmanuel Apostolic is a dynamic place to join together in worship, fellowship, ministry and life. It is Apostolic in witness, worship and the Word.
Principles of Growth
Pastored by Bro. Mark Abernathy, Emmanuel Apostolic is a revival church that believes one key to that revival is reaching the community. “I am hesitant to give my input on a subject that I feel I am still learning about,” said Pastor Abernathy. “But we have done many things to try and reach our community such as mapping out neighborhoods, knocking on doors and church events such as car shows to bring more exposure to the city. We also sponsor vacation Bible school as well as first responder services with our present city, county and state officials. However, when it all settles, we have seen results only through consistent prayer and challenging individuals to reach their world and their surroundings. Bible studies of any length always get to the heart of the commission we all have, and a praying Christian will make a difference in their world.
“I also feel that a major part of church growth has to do with long-term effects,” he said. “Constant and consistent teaching of God’s Word will build and grow a church that will last. It is not as exciting as a crusade, but the lasting results are life-long saints that continue to hand it down generation after generation. Sometimes I’m afraid we have lost interest and patience in the very effective old-fashioned Bible study from the pastor. My preaching at home will be packed full of scripture, because it is His Word that grows a church, not mine.”
Organization and Management
With a variety of ministries, there are ample opportunities for involvement at Emmanuel Apostolic Church. Individuals as well as families are encouraged to find a place to get involved and help serve the church as well as the community. “We currently have about 40 percent of people that are involved in some form of ministry,” said Pastor Abernathy, “but we are constantly encouraging others to get involved and see the impact that it has, not only on the ones they serve but in their own life as well.
“I am very involved personally with each leader, so we are in constant communication regarding events, plans and activities. All departments come together yearly for planning, and the Sunday School Department meets every week. Because I believe strongly in raising up leaders in the local church we are always looking at possibilities to mentor and allow things to open up in lives. A shadow involvement is how we start in particular areas and increase responsibility as development takes place.”
Born in Ohio and raised in the church, Bro. Abernathy received the Holy Ghost in 1969 at a revival in a church his dad started. “I was not only a home missionary kid but in my teen years my father was a missionary in Africa,” said Bro. Abernathy. “Before I came home, I had lived in Malawi, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and Cape Town South Africa. As a missionary kid, I felt the call to the ministry in my teen years but was reluctant to answer that call because I wanted to go in another direction. Of course, God won that argument.
“My father, Charles Abernathy, had the most influence in my life and my ministry. However, his high regard for ministry helped me to allow many great men in our movement to influence and lead my life. There were men like James (Pop) Simison, Glenn Seaman, Paul Mooney, Jerry Jones, Robert Stroup, and of course, my two brothers, Gary and Bryan, who have always had a strong influence in my life. Also, my father-in-law, Bill Smith, who was not a minister but loved the Word and often challenged me to search scripture. To this day, I hold these men of God in high regard and endeavor to submit to the words they speak into my life from God’s Word.”
Pastor Abernathy has served in many different capacities during his ministry and considers it a great honor to be able to help in any way possible to benefit the kingdom of God. He completed the three-year program at South African Bible College and has also earned an Associate’s Degree in Psychology. He presently serves as Indiana District Presbyter of Section 6, and in the past he has served as Section 4 Youth Director, Indiana District Youth President, Presbyter of Section 3 as well as Secretary of Section 4.
“My ministry began shortly after marriage in Titusville, Florida,” explained Bro. Abernathy. “January of 2017 made 36 years that my wife, Kathy, and I have spent in ministry. I love being with my wife every day and with my son, Joel, and his family every chance I get. There’s nothing like the grandkids coming over and going cruising with them. God has blessed me with a wonderful, supportive wife, a son that I couldn’t be more proud of, and a daughter-in-law that stands with him in life and ministry.
“The priorities of a pastor must be his personal devotion to God in prayer and the constant intake of God’s Word. A consistent reading regiment keeps you challenged and fresh. It is also important that the people of the church know you are approachable and available. As a pastor, I must care enough to prepare and be there for the people that are kind enough to let me be their shepherd.”
Emmanuel Apostolic Church has seen many miracles in its time, and the saints thank God for each one of them. “We give God the praise and the glory for the many miracles of healing, financial blessings, etc.,” said Pastor Abernathy. “But recently the deliverance of a precious individual from drug addiction has really inspired our church. Then, it was really exciting for them to reach out to another individual with the same addiction and see that person baptized and filled with the Holy Ghost.”
God has blessed Emmanuel Apostolic Church with a very nice building sitting on 4.9 acres, and the future is looking bright. “It is presently on a state highway with an interchange to another state highway, and connecting to a third state highway,” explained Pastor Abernathy. “That interchange will eventually be an interstate exchange as the construction of the interstate is now underway. So, we will be at the intersection of three state highways and an interstate. Location, location, location . . . .”
Bro. Robert Potter started Emmanuel Apostolic Church in Martinsville in 1949. He was a unique but great man with a vision. The church he built was strongly Apostolic. “We were privileged to start pastoring here in May of 2002,” said Bro. Abernathy. “God has taken us through some hard times with unbelievable miraculous things happening that caused us to say, ‘to God be the glory.’ The church is strong and growing which has nothing to do with my limited abilities but because God is faithful, and this church belongs to Him.”
Plans and Vision for the Future
Pastor Abernathy is excited about the future of Emmanuel Apostolic Church and the projects of growth that they are involved with. “Our vision for the future has to do with what we are presently involved in,” he said. “With God’s help we are discipling people who will disciple people. Leading individuals, groups and the congregation into a love for God’s purpose of reaching our world grows a church. I feel we are in the beginning stages, really, of what God has planned for Emmanuel Apostolic. Not just to fill our facilities to overflowing and our efforts locally in number, but to make a difference in as many home and foreign mission works as possible by giving from the abundance God gives us. My hope is to grow church planters, foreign missionaries, pastors and evangelists, not because we planned it but that it just happens from an atmosphere of Holy Ghost anointing created from years of faithfulness in praying, teaching, preaching and reaching our world. A local church can become fertile ground that produces laborers in God’s Kingdom.”