Friday, September 01, 2006

The Future Looks Great!

Now that we are freer to do the ministry to which we’ve been called, the greatest amount of our energy can be focused there.

I believe that we are called to build new churches. We were hampered in this in the earlier system, but now we are free to move ahead. I believe that we can have an impact in the fastest growing areas around Tulsa by planting satellite congregations in Owasso, Bixby, Broken Arrow, and West Tulsa. In effect we can build “Kirk North, South, East, and West.” Should we lose our property, we can add a fifth new location more central to Tulsa itself.

We are increasingly opening our doors to the community as a teaching church. Not only is this about the kinds of Bible studies we have for our congregation and community, but as a resource for helping other churches develop. The great success of the New Wineskins Convocation (successful because of your help) shows that we can put on large events for churches from around our part of the country. The Kirk’s experience should be a good springboard for leaders of mid-size churches that want to grow.

We continue to have impact through the media. I’ve been regularly on the radio in Tulsa for over 20 years. We will continue with this and, perhaps, be even more creative. We are doing increased in-house publishing of small group curricula and CDs of sermon series, as well as the WOW Bible study (Women of Worth). I believe that we will expand this in order to reach out into more homes in Tulsa.

Our children’s programs are in a renaissance period. If you haven’t visited upstairs lately, take the time to do so, soon. New methods of teaching the Bible are matched by astoundingly creative room renovations that should make kids excited to come each Sunday.

We continue in conversation and planning for ministries to people of all ages. We are looking into bringing people from places like Inverness Village and Montereaux to Bible studies and worship, ore even taking ministries there. Care ministries are expanding daily.

The best is yet to come. Your prayers, attendance, and financial support are vital as we move ahead.

Keep praying—keep the faith,
Tom

20 comments:

Mark Davids said...

I just read about you on WorldNet Daily in a link to an article by the Tulsa World. I wish more Presbyterian churches would do the same, and maybe my family and I wouldn't have left. We joined a Southern Baptist church in Texas because the church teaches from the Bible. We believe the act of homosexuality is sinful, that Israel is the chosen nation of God, etc. Something the presbyterian church didn't endorse and was actually distant from those beliefs.
Good luck and God Bless you and your congregation.

Larry said...

Tom,
I am pleased to see that you are giving top priority to building new churches.

I have long been an advocate that once a church reaches a certain maturity, it should plant a church every ten years, nurture it along, and when the offspring reaches maturity release it to become a future church planter.

Anonymous said...

I don't think your similarly thinking friends "trapped" in PCUSA church buildings in Owasso, Bixby, and Broken Arrow are going to welcome your idea of "planting" congregations in those communities. I don't think those at Trinity in Bixby would think highly of that considering they just built a new facility.

Anonymous said...

"We are increasingly opening our doors to the community as a teaching church."

THIS is key. The fact that the last church I attended didn't even offer a bible study that met outside of work hours should have been a red flag for me. I wanted to learn, but I was only criticized for not thinking the way the leaders thought, voting the way they wanted me to, etc. It was ridiculous.

Thank you for "doing the right thing". Too bad I'm not close enough to attend.

G.A.C.

TomGray said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TomGray said...

Dear anonymous,
I think that there is enough difference between the Kirk and the PCUSA churches in those cities that we won't be attracting the same people
Tom

Anonymous said...

"I don't think your similarly thinking friends "trapped" in PCUSA church buildings in Owasso, Bixby, and Broken Arrow are going to welcome your idea of "planting" congregations in those communities. I don't think those at Trinity in Bixby would think highly of that considering they just built a new facility."

Oooohhh! Sounds like somebody's got a case of sour grapes, to me. And that they might be worried. I even detect a bit of covetousness . . . ouch! Didn't Moses come down with a Commandment from God regarding covetousness? One of those "thou shalt not"'s?

Look, I don't know if these congregations are orthodox or not. I don't know if they might already be considering fleeing the coop. I don't know the Tulsa metropolitan area. Actually, I don't know Oklahoma at all.

What I do know is that you're missing the point if you think the priority in this is worrying about upsetting the leaders of other churches. That is ABSOLUTELY what those of us who are fighting against the mainline denominations are fighting AGAINST.

If those churches are not orthodox, if they are not teaching God's Word, but are teaching a "social gospel" instead, then they are likely full of people who are hungering for a real church, and their leaders have reason to worry. People do not go to church to be told how horrible they are, and everything they are doing wrong to destroy the EARTH and all of the other people on it, or to be blamed for the supposed actions of their ancestors. They go to church to LEARN about God, to learn about Christ. And they are taught this through being educated ACCURATELY (none of this "don't listed to anything that Paul says because he was a radical convert" kind of stuff) about the Word of God - the Bible.

People hunger for this. This is inspiring. It brings people back, week after week.

Constant browbeating, depressing "education" about how we "need to change" to make us "good stewards" of some plan that arrogant liberals decide in committee is "God's plan" every once in a while (changing with every whim of a member on some bizarre committee) is NOT a way to draw people in or engender a sense of God's love. It is a great way to drive them away, running as fast as they can.

God's love is a constant. His plan is a constant. His Word is a constant. It does not change. It is a foundation, not a constant building remodel.

I don't know if these congregations are orthodox or not. If they are, they have nothing to worry about. Frankly, the Kirk is not talking about planting churches in order to compete. It's doing so in order to carry out the great commission, as we are all charged with doing. They needent "steal parishoners" in order to do that.

The fact that that didn't even occur to you I think tells us a lot about you. But I'm finding that a lot of you "seminar posters" just aren't clued in to the basic tenets of Christianity . . . or you just don't care about them. My guess is that you're PCUSA pastors or even "highter", right?

Anonymous said...

Ooopppss . . . last blog should have been signed

G.A.C.

Dan Dermyer said...

May your tribe increase as you consider planting other churches! Two points for those who wonder.

1. The research is pretty clear that new church plants are the most effective way to reach lost and unchurched people, i.e. do evangelism!

2. Jesus told us that 'the havest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.' The truth we learn from this is that there really isn't much competetion reaching lost people. (And it shouldn't be thought of competition in the first place!) Jesus summed up for us with this request--"pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest."

May God bless your work and multiply it!
grace,
DanD

Dave Moore said...

The comment about others feeling trapped may reflect an emotional reality, but it also exposes some of the huge dysfunction in churches of all kinds. I am a church planter in the Kansas City area, PCUSA at that! Let me tell you, we are not in competition with one another. In my community, and I'll bet in yours, if every church was filled to capacity every Sunday for two services, there would still be 50% of the community without a place to sit.

Plant new churches, Tom! Plant as many as you can, wherever you can. If you can build positive relationships with the neighboring churches, do it. Face the emotional realities with healthy interaction and good boundaries. But shame on Christians for using competition as an excuse for avoiding the Great Commission.

Jason said...

I am excited about the idea of the Kirk planting new churches and I who heartedly agree with the last to posters, (Dand and the following comment.) Church Planting is not about "Sheep Stealing." We are not trying to take away anyone’s flock. Rather, church planting should be an endeavor to reach unchurched individuals or persons who have left the church.
Living in the Dallas area for six years, I saw many people simple build a building in a growing community and call it church planting. The majority of these congregations grew from people who left one church for another other churches. Sometimes because of well known pastor or because they thought the grass was greener. That to me is not true church planting and I hope the Kirk does everything to avoid that.
But to the person concerned about Trinity in Owasso or other churches in those areas, if there are people in those churches who would find themselves more in line with the Kirk and more comfortable with its theology, ministry, and direction, should they not have the right to change churches? Certainly we should not and will not encourage anyone to leave one church for another. But don’t you believe that people should have the right to worship where they feel most at home? I think so.
Jason Gardner

Anonymous said...

Dave Moore beat me to the punch. Wouldn't it be great if we could be so effective that all the existing churches and the Kirk's new church plants were filled to capacity? Even better, how would it be if those churches were full of people who, in turn, wanted to plant other churches, and so on? Let's work together toward that goal rather than spending our time bickering about whether planting a new church might offend an existing congregation!

Toni said...

Hey, Tom! Want to come to western North Carolina and plant a church? I'd love to see it!
Toni

AmyCate said...

We could use it (planting of churches with the Kirks theological bent) in a certain area of southern California's "Inland Empire", as you well know (from our numerous discussions about this over the years).

Got anyone you can send on out here?

Anonymous said...

And MISSIONS, called by whatever program or name.
Respond to the call in a person's heart to GO where and when God says 'GO'. Whether it be local, short term or long term or career, encourage and support those who quietly know they are called by God to 'GO'in obedience and make disciples in all the world.
A thought to include in the bright future plans... and certainly one known to Kirk.

Wayne Ward

Anonymous said...

The ultimate message from God is that he will NEVER give up on us. He may think we need some reform, but he will never call it quits.

Has the Kirk sent this message? "PCUSA needs reform. We've been trying to get them to reform for quite awhile. We guess they are never going to see it our way, so we quit."

We are called to live by this example. And we just our blew our chance. And yet I am still certain that He has not given up on us. THERE IS NO TIME PERIOD. It goes on forever.

Eric H said...

actually I think the PC(USA) is more likly to reform, if churches start pulling away... I can't think of any bigger sign that something isn't going right...

Glen said...

Tom:

KEEP THE FAITH

Anonymous said...

TOM:

KEEP THE FAITH TODAY

Anonymous said...

TOM:

KEEP THE FAITH !