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Martin reaches students and community

Tuesday, February 5, 2008  
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By Lori Woodfin

Anyone hearing Alan Martin speak for the first time would be quick to notice his unusual accent, but Martin's students know there is more to him than his dialect.

Martin is described by his students as friendly, passionate, humorous and encouraging.

"He does a great job recognizing that everyone has come from different backgrounds, and he experiences and takes the time to connect with his students," senior Jennie Courtney said. "Also, he has a unique and fun sense of humor and is full of joy."

Martin joined the Oklahoma Christian University Bible faculty in 2006 as the Associate Professor of Bible and Family Ministry.

Martin teaches undergraduate courses such as Acts and Christian family. He also teaches graduate courses.

He was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, and speaks the native language of Afrikaans as well as English.

American missionaries in Cape Town played an important role in Martin's life. His parents and seven siblings are members of the Church of Christ as a result of the missionaries who brought the Good News to Cape Town.

The missionaries also knew there was more to Martin than just an accent. The missionaries saw potential in him, and encouraged Martin to pursue a higher education in the U.S.

Martin attended the White's Ferry Road School of Preaching in West Monroe, La. After completing his studies, Martin returned to Cape Town.

"I got involved with ministry for a number of years and planted some churches from the ground up," Martin said.

Martin then went back to the states and attended Harding University. In 1992, Martin received his bachelor's degree in Bible and psychology.

Next, Martin attended Abilene Christian University, receiving his master's degree in marriage and family therapy in 1994.

After completing his master's, Martin returned to Cape Town to put his education to use in his own country for a few years.

In 1999, Martin was accepted at Michigan State University for his doctorate. In 2005, Martin graduated with a doctorate of philosophy in family and child ecology.

While going to school at Michigan State, Martin worked in Lansing, Mich. with the Holmes Road Church of Christ.

Martin served as the pulpit minister as well as the marriage and family therapist for the church.

In addition to preaching, Martin was an adjunct teacher at Spring Arbor University teaching graduate courses in counseling and family.

Martin also taught undergraduate courses at Michigan State.

While in Lansing, Martin was also very involved in the community. Martin was honored by Mayor Virg Berero for having worked with refugees and key community leaders.

"Alan Martin is one of the finest Christian leaders I know," Berero said. "His main tool is the example he sets every day. He exemplifies the change we need in the world."

Berero said Martin is a force for good and is not afraid to take a stand.

"Alan sees and expects the best out of people and as a result, we are better people for knowing him," Berero said. "He made a big impact in this community, and I only hope one day we can work together again."

Martin looks forward to getting involved with the community here in Edmond and Oklahoma City and has a true passion for teaching.

"I came here with the intention to help students - to shape their thinking about family," Martin said.

Martin values a class with diverse students, and is passionate about teaching so the students can spread the knowledge.

"I can catch them when their young, before they even get married, and help them think about things in a way that will help them," Martin said.

Martin serves part-time with the Edmond Church of Christ as Community Outreach Minister, and he provides counseling for the church as well as families in the greater Oklahoma City area.

Martin has directed numerous marriage and family seminars for several churches in the area.

"Alan is a great teacher and preacher, a wonderful equipper and leader who can inspire and instruct others in humility," Family Life Minister Randy Roper said. "Alan fits in wonderfully and brings so much to the team, including an important worldview that we sometimes miss."

Co-workers are not the only ones to call Martin a team player.

"Dr. Martin is one of the people in my life that has helped me feel confident in my call from God to be involved in family ministry," senior Christopher Lopez said. "He's a great inspiration to those that want to be involved in ministry and is a team player."

Martin is also a husband and father to three children. Martin has been married to his wife Linda for 28 years. They met in Cape Town, South Africa, and went to the same elementary and high school.

"I 'eyed her' ever since," Martin said.

Martin and his wife are both involved with the Edmond Church of Christ.

"Their enthusiasm for life, genuineness of faith and compassion for people is contagious," Roper said. "Just in the short time they have been at Edmond, we have felt and seen the influence of their ministry."

The Martin's three children are members of the church and live in the Dallas area. Martin enjoys golfing with all of his children.

Martin is thankful for his time as professor at Oklahoma.

"I think the people of Oklahoma are its greatest asset," Martin said. "The people at OC, are kind of family like, especially in this Bible department."

Martin values the emphasis on diversity here at the university.

"One doesn't always want to talk about race and ethnicity and so on, but I think that is a very, very important factor when it comes to a liberal arts education, exposing the students to real life, not artificial life," Martin said. "There are all kinds of people and a sense of acceptance, just seeing life is real, preparing people for the real world out there."

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