Born in 1941, Martin was converted at the age of 19 in August 1960. He trained for the ministry at the Baptist Theological College in Johannesburg. He was then called to serve in a church of 16 members in Pietersburg (now Polokwane). In his first year there he embraced the doctrines of grace. This assembly grew significantly. Martin was then called to be the Baptist Union’s first home church planter and planted churches in Phalaborwa, Tzaneen and Newcastle before being called to an established church in East London.