New Church Hosts Community Block Party in Martin City
By Bonnie Mentel
Three Trails Community is a new evangelical church in Martin City that currently meets in the Martin City Baptist Church at 4:30 on Sunday afternoons for Bible study. Blake Fortner, lead pastor, grew up in the Hickman Mills area and has a love for South Kansas City, especially its many neighborhoods.
“This area is very diverse when it comes to race, age and socio-economics, and the goal of the church is to reflect that. One thing that has always bothered me is that a lot of churches are not diverse. Everyone kind of acts the same and looks the same, so our launch team is as diverse as the community,” Fortner said.
The church membership ranges from people in their 70s to young families and young adults. He and his wife Meagan are in their mid-30s and have four boys. So far, 60 people have joined the church community.
Co-pastor Terry Shane and his wife are biracial, and another woman on the launch team is from India. Fortner, his wife and their oldest son spent two years in Ethiopia as missionaries, learning about the African culture.
“Growing up in Hickman Mills and then living in Africa, I absolutely love diversity. I love the nations. If I see someone that I can tell is from another country – that is the person that I’m going to go talk to.”
Fortner said that he loves how America is a nation of immigrants and he wants the church to reflect that. He also stressed the importance of a relationship with Jesus and the Bible.
“We are evangelical, and we believe that Jesus is here to give you the abundant life. He’s not here to give you a bunch of rules, but He really wants to be in your life. We believe that if God is the Creator, then the Bible is like a user-manual,” he said.
Serving the community is a huge part of the church’s mission, and several service opportunities are planned. They also have scheduled a community block party for June 24 from 3-6 p.m. at the Martin City Baptist Church, 520 E. 132nd Ter. The event is free and will have carnival games, popcorn, hot dogs, candy and inflatables.
“This event is kind of our first impression to the community. Bring your family, get some food and have fun!” Fortner said.
Terry Shane, co-pastor, is a barber at Robin’s Nest Beauty Salon, located at 13035 Holmes Rd. They will be hosting an event in August to give kids from Martin City Elementary and Middle School free haircuts before school starts. More information will be available soon.