SNU Missions Pastor to Direct OKC's Love Link Ministries

Bethany, OK - February 24, 2017 –  Joel Mullen, a missions pastor at Southern Nazarene University, is set to become the Executive Director of Oklahoma City's Love Link Ministries, an organization providing a variety of social services to the working poor. Mullen, who was chosen last year to be the Love Link Board chair, has now been unanimously elected by the institution's governing board as Executive Director.

A certified citizen of the Cherokee nation, Mullen will be leading an organization that historically has served a significant number of Native Americans living close to the urban core of Oklahoma City.

Mullen, who is from Rogers, AR, will officially assume his new responsibilities on March 13. Current Executive Director Marilyn Stark will remain on staff until March 31 to help with the transition.  The new director will be formally introduced to the organization's volunteers and supporters on March 24 at an annual banquet in the Cole Center of Oklahoma City First Church of the Nazarene.

Joel and his wife Sara returned to the USA three and a half years ago after serving 14 years with the Church of the Nazarene in Italy and Eastern Europe.  He is an alumnus of Southern Nazarene University as well as Nazarene Theological Seminary.  He is currently in the final stages of doctoral studies in urban ministry at Bakke Graduate University (Dallas, TX).  For the last three and a half years, Mullen has directed Southern Nazarene University's summertime global missions program which, during his tenure, has enabled about 400 students to do from two to six weeks of ministry in almost 30 different countries.

Joel has had the opportunity to share this news with all of the SIMS members and will conclude his SIMS responsibilities at the end of the summer.      

The Mullens have three young children: Levi, who was born in Ethiopia; Lia, who was born in China; and Luca, who was born in Poland.

The search for a new director began in late November when Marilyn Stark submitted her resignation.  She has been involved with Love Link Ministries for nearly 20 years.  She began as a volunteer and then became the ministry's office manager.  When she stepped down from that position, she was elected to the board.  After director Wayne Stark resigned in 2008, Marilyn became the Executive Director.  Though she and Wayne share the same last name, they are not related.

Significant accomplishments of Marilyn Stark's tenure as Executive Director of Love Link Ministries include (1) obtaining debt-free ownership of the NuWay Building and (2) turning the food pantry into a grocery-store style shopping experience as an aid to restoring dignity to clientele.

Mullen will be the fourth Executive Director of Love Link Ministries; a compassionate ministry center founded 25 years ago in Oklahoma City's Riverside neighborhood by a partnership of Lake View Park Church of the Nazarene and Central Church of the Nazarene.  A dozen years ago, when work began on the relocation of I-40, the ministry moved one mile north to the iconic NuWay Laundry and Cleaners building at Linwood and N. Western.  There, Love Link's most visible avenues of ministry are a thrift store and a food pantry.

Southern Nazarene University’s mission: To make Christlike disciples through higher education in Christ-centered community.