Doug and Sharon Martin: A Passion for Worldwide Ministry

Doug and Sharon Martin: A Passion for Worldwide Ministry

From Pennsylvania to Japan to Brazil to Russia and back again, the Martins have seen a great deal over more than 25 years in full-time ministry. Now back in the U.S., they are spearheading an American church-planting movement at the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism. Manning Brown

Doug and Sharon Martin are 1985 graduates of BBC. Doug is a native of Detroit, MI. As a daughter of longtime staff members David and Janet McClain, Sharon's roots are Clarks Summit.

Since leaving as graduates, they have been involved in ministries all over the world with ABWE. Doug and Sharon spent 14 years overseas in South America, Europe, and Asia.

Doug and Sharon have three daughters: Melissa, a recent college graduate, and Michelle and Mallory, both college students. Michelle is a sophomore in the Health & Physical Education program BBC.

Read more In the Spotlights here

Insight Questions

What led you to attend BBC?
Doug: After looking at a number of colleges, the determining factor for me was the product. What type of person did I want to be and what type of person was each of the colleges producing? After meeting many students from BBC who had a heart for the Lord and for ministry, I knew that was the type of person I also wanted to become.

Sharon: My parents were on the faculty and staff at BBC beginning in 1969, so I had grown up there and knew I would receive a quality Christian education.

Who or what influenced you the most while you were studying?
Doug: Coach Jim Huckaby had the greatest influence on my life. He taught me what it was to be a true servant.

Sharon: I was challenged academically by Dr. Rembert Carter, Dr. Jim Lytle, and many other professors and teachers. However, my dorm parents, Tim and Barb Vermilyea, had the greatest impact in my life spiritually. I was able to watch their daily example and learned a great deal from them.

How did BBC help prepare you for ministry?
Doug: It gave me a solid base for studying and knowing God's Word. From that solid foundation flows culturally relevant, authentically relational ministry.

Sharon: As an undergrad, I was well prepared as an educator and taught to think biblically. My graduate studies helped to further sharpen my skills and to stay current educationally.

What kind of ministries have you been involved in?
Doug: I have ministered to children, youth, college students, and adults. I have been a nursery director; Sunday school teacher, and small groups coordinator, as well as led Christian education committees, short-term missions trips, and local outreach endeavors. My work has also included teaching at Bible colleges in different countries, conducting a variety of seminars for local churches, and leading teams, pastors, and churches to do strategic planning. In Romania, I helped start a Bible Institute, a Christian school, a translation ministry, and laid the groundwork for the launch of a camping ministry that just completed its sixth summer with nearly 400 in attendance and more than 25 professions of faith in Christ.

Sharon: I have been a dorm parent at Cornerstone University and discipled young women. I have also taught first- through eighth grades at Christian schools and substitute taught in Grand Rapids public schools. Overseas, I have taught children, teens, and women in the church, as well as taught English in a Romanian public kindergarten and elementary grades at Bucharest Christian Academy and the International Christian School of Budapest. Most recently I have served as the elementary principal at ICSB and enjoyed mentoring teachers as well as determining school policies while working with parents and students.

What led you into missions?
Doug: It was between my junior and senior year at BBC that I went on a missions trip to Brazil with Dan Cook. While there I met Dan's brother-in-law, Roger Smith, an ABWE missionary and also a BBC grad. He was the coolest missionary I had ever met. Through that experience and from the example of Roger, I realized serving the Lord on a foreign field was no different than serving the Lord in the U.S. Just answer God's call and let the Lord determine the location. He doesn't always keep you in the same spot.

Sharon: I was in Brazil during the same summer as Doug, but with a different group. I realized that summer the Lord could use the gifts and talents He had given me to serve Him overseas. Through praying for various missionaries while at BBC, I became burdened for worldwide ministries and surrendered my life to serve overseas, if that was the Lord's will.

Where have you served?
Sharon: We have served in Waynesboro, PA, Grand Rapids, Japan, Brazil, Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, Hungary, and all across Romania.

What is your favorite part about missions?
Doug: Helping people do more for the Lord than they would have accomplished had the Lord not sent me to help them.

Sharon: Educating and discipiling students from all over the world who will return to their home country and serve the Lord there.

What is your current ministry?
Sharon: As of January 2011, Doug is the ABWE Area Director for North America. Our desire is to help reach the different people groups that reside within our own borders.

Why are you moving into a stateside church-planting ministry?
Doug: Moving back to the states to do ministry was never something we had considered, but apparently the Lord had. In February 2010, we were asked to consider the role of ABWE Area Director for North America. For a while, Sharon and I didn't even discuss it. Our ministries were going great and Europe was home, so why would God want us to leave? Finally, we determined that if the Lord was leading, then we needed to contact our home church and make them a part of the process - just as they had been when we first went to Romania. After weeks of prayer and discussion, our home church gave their input. They said they believed this was what the Lord wanted us to do. With that confirmation, we are moving back to the states to continue mobilizing church planting movements that lead to missions movements - especially targeting all of the different people groups from around the globe that now call North America home.

What are your goals for this movement?
Doug: One of our first goals is to assess what is already happening in North America. There is no sense in recreating something that already exists. The second goal is to better help and resource existing churches in North America to be better equipped to reach the "Samarias" that live in their own areas. The third goal is to begin planting churches that are either multi-ethnic or are trying to reach a particular people group.

After some research, one of our ABWE missionaries in Miami, FL, found 85% of the people living within one square mile of their church were Hispanic. One of our other ABWE missionaries moved to a suburb of Toronto, Canada, to reach Chinese and Asians, since more than half of the 400,000 residents in their suburb are of Chinese and Asian descent. And finally, our fourth goal is to recruit 200 new missionaries for the U.S. and Canada in the next 10 years who will join us in reaching all the people groups of the earth that now live within our borders.

How can people get involved with this ministry?
Doug: If anyone thinks the Lord may be leading them to help us. Please contact ABWE through the website at, or contact me directly at

Contact info:
Phone: 717.919.7574

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Posted on: 3/24/2011 7:05:59 PM

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