Stories of Faith
STORIES OF FAITH: A LIFE OF SERVICE FOR GOD
Through public safety and public office, Craig Murray has always been a servant of the Lord
Special to FBC Jenks
August 3rd, 2023
This past Friday morning, Craig Murray was walking into the Whataburger in Glenpool for breakfast when he ran into a fellow First Baptist Jenks member and his wife.
Craig sat down with the couple and joined them for breakfast. As they were visiting, the gentlemen told Craig that he was one of the nicest people he had ever met.
Craig was taken aback by the compliment and it even brought tears to his eyes.
The night before the unexpected breakfast meeting, Craig joined the Special Olympics in a fundraising opportunity at Texas Roadhouse. Craig spent the evening going around and visiting with people and helping the Special Olympians receive donations.
“I enjoy it because I am a people person,” Craig said. “I love talking to people. I love to serve and I love community involvement. It is incredibly rewarding. I don’t do it for gratification. It is just in my heart.”
As a child, Craig grew up in Tulsa and attended Brookside Baptist Church with his mother and sister, who was seven years his senior. Craig’s father was Catholic, so he attended a Catholic church. As he was growing up, Craig would spend a lot of time with his grandparents in Pawhuska and they took him to Catholic church, but he was always a Baptist.
Craig was officially saved as a pre-teen after numerous conversations with his mom. He was baptized at Brookside Baptist. He was the typical kid where plenty of days he didn’t want to get up and go to church on a Sunday morning, but his mom was very adamant that he went to church.
“I never experienced Falls Creek or anything like that,” Craig said. “I spent my time in the Boy Scouts and then joined the Naval Sea Cadet Corps in high school.”
It was his time in the Boy Scouts and with the Sea Cadets where the foundation of servanthood was laid for Craig. He had the opportunity to go on several trips, both domestic and international while in the Sea Cadets in serving capacities.
As a young adult, Craig, his wife Cathy and their family started attending a small Baptist church in east Tulsa.
“We got involved after we got married,” Craig said. “I wanted that for my family. It was important to me that they understood what it is all about.”
The Murray’s would eventually find their way to Jenks. Both Craig and Cathy were working multiple jobs and weren’t attending church as consistent as they wanted. Daily, they would drive by FBC Jenks and say how neat of a place it looked like.
It wasn’t long after as a police officer in Mounds, a young boy from Glenpool, who had always dreamed of becoming a policeman, passed away. Several local police departments got together and decided to have an honor guard ceremony for the boy and his family. FBC Jenks volunteered to host the event.
“That was my first experience with the church and first experience with (Pastor) Rick Frie,” Craig said. “Cathy attended the service as well and we both walked away saying that is where we wanted to be.”
The Murrays started to attend FBC Jenks and quickly made it official and joined the church roughly nine years ago.
Shortly after the honor guard ceremony for the boy, Craig had left the Mounds Police Department and decided to run for State Senate after the local Fraternal Order of Police asked him to. It was a grueling six-month campaign and Craig would go on to lose the race. However, that would not be his last experience with public office.
Several weeks after being defeated in the State Senate race, Craig was helping with a car seat check for the Jenks Fire Department. The Jenks firefighters told Craig he should run for Jenks City Council because of his experience as a public servant. His first reaction was no because of the experience he had just gone through in the State Senate race.
The Jenks firemen convinced him it would a much different experience, and he decided to run.
“They assured me it was nothing like that (State Senate race), so I ran against an incumbent and beat him,” Craig said. “I just tried to be honest and understanding and I was willing to listen.”
Craig ran again in 2021 unopposed, so he is currently in his second term.
“I enjoy public safety, community relations and talking to people,” Craig said. “My spiritual walk has grown in serving and being involved with this church. I try to live a life that is pleasing to God.”
City of Jenks Mayor Cory Box is also a member of FBC Jenks and is good friends with Craig.
“We are very close,” Craig said. “He is very spiritual. We make sure that we have a pastor come in and do a prayer every council meeting. If no one is available, Cory will do it. It means so much, for God and country.”
Having the freedom to be able to continue to have a prayer during a public meeting in a community like Jenks is important to Craig.
“As long as we can keep it and open it to anyone who wants to be there, whether it is Jenks, America or somewhere else,” Craig said. “We still have this opportunity and as long as Cory and I are there, we will fight to continue to have it. I think people see that and appreciate it. We are setting an example for the community. We are showing them we live by this and we practice what we preach.”
Even though he is a retired police officer, Craig still gets to put the uniform on in serving roles. He volunteers his time to help with security in Tulsa in venues like the BOK Center and the Cox Communications Convention Center. He also has recently joined the security team at FBC Jenks.
“I have loved every moment of it,” Craig said. “I prayed for God to guide me to a job and serve in a different capacity. God provided. It’s a place to call home and it is very rewarding. I’m still very fortunate to be able to put my uniform on and serve.”
Craig said he believes one of the keys that makes FBC Jenks so special is the family aspect of the church.
“I grew up in a church where if there were 200 people on a Sunday in a single service we were lucky,” Craig said. “Then our church in east Tulsa was also small. Rick (Frie) sold us on this church and the community we have there. Everyone is ready to help and is willing to do whatever they can to help. It is a family. Working there now, I see it even more. I see what they do and the outreach they have. Rick is a spokesperson for God. From day one, we have felt like a part of the family.”
Craig said an example of that family aspect took place several weeks ago.
Trinity Baptist Church out of Yukon was traveling to Florida for a kid’s camp and called FBC Jenks to ask if they could stop and take a break at the church. The FBC Jenks staff was more than happy to open their doors.
On their way back, Trinity stopped back by and this time they were going to get pizza to give the kids on the bus. While they were there, the Prime Time group was meeting in the Fellowship Hall. They heard about Trinity’s plans with the pizza. They stopped them from getting pizza and made a home-cooked meal for more than 100 people in the Fellowship Hall.
Serving has always been in Craig’s blood and it turns out the apple does not fall far from the tree.
“My dad was a police officer and every time I went anywhere with my dad, he always knew someone,” Craig said. “I loved going places with my dad. I remember that so well. Being there for people, having compassion, being a listener and helping people is so rewarding. I enjoy helping in any way I can. I love doing it because I want to and I love people. I always try to give people a smile and a fist pump and make them feel welcome.”