Our Savior Lutheran Church has agreed to move forward with a capital campaign. After that, a loan and after that a call and breaking ground for a new learning center, worship center and satellite location.
I’ve been asked to be on the Campaign Committee. What a thrill.
I’ve also been asked to help with something I can’t tell y’all about yet — let’s just say, it’s amazingly fun.
Spring is my busy season and with so many things juggling in the air, I need to let go of something. I need to unplug from here for just a little while. I’ll be back after Easter, I promise.
For up-to-date Synodical News Check the Synodical Convention Link. They have tabs built within that allow you view live streaming video of what is really going on down there. I love it!
I’ve been talking about our Synodical Conference this week and while doing so I realized that I use the terms Ablaze rather interchangeably. This has been confusing to people, especially to those outside of our Lutheran Circle. Let me clarify if I may.
There is ABLAZE! which refers to our Synodical Mission Program (something our family and home congregation supports) and there is Ablaze, the church plant in Northern Broken Arrow which is sponsored by The Lutheran Church of Our Savior. I didn’t pick the name – so don’t ask me why we named it that, I don’t know. I realize that unless you are part of our group, it’s really hard to distinguish what I’m talking about. Most of the conversations this week have been about the ABLAZE! initiative. For today’s post, I will be talking about Ablaze Church.
While some church plants receive funding from their districts, others are privately funded. We at Ablaze Church do not receive a dime of the Fan into Flame funding, and we are okay with that. There is another church plant in Bixby that does get district assistance and they need it more than we do. Thier Vicar (who is under direct supervision of a local pastor) has to raise his own salary and funding for his church and deserves a livable wage. Our pastor is already earning a salary from our home church and the time spent at Ablaze is 100% volunteer. He does not get compensated for his time there – and neither do the rest of us. We are all volunteers. All funding we receive is courtesy of our home congregation and private donations or tithes made by Ablaze families.
Our little mission start began on Easter weekend in 2006. We rent space from Liberty Elementary School and meet on Saturday nights with Bible Study at 6pm and services beginning at 6:30. Because of the rental costs and rules of the school we have to be out by 9:00 pm. Also because of rental costs, we can really only afford to be there one night a week. That does not leave a lot of opportunities for outreach which is why we host events from time to time.
Ablaze church is a 100% a mobile church. What that means is we have a trailer locked up at our home congregation across town. Every Saturday at 3:00 pm, a group drives out there, loads the trailer and drives it back to Liberty, 30 minutes away. The doors open at 4:00pm and for the next two hours we are unloading our trailer, setting up the cafeteria and running sound checks.
Can you imagine if the elders of your church had to do that every Sunday Morning? They arrive to a building with no pews, no sound system, no pulpit, no coffee or snacks, no Bibles or hymnals and they have to set everything up before church can begin?
Services at Ablaze end by 8pm. We have a short time of fellowship and our team begins to take down the sound system, pack up the nursery and the bibles and books and load everything back into the trailer. We pray and are back on the road to Our Savior’s garage by 9pm. Once there, our team unloads the trailer and puts the sound system back inside the church to protect it from the climate.
We’ve been doing this every Saturday for 4 1/2 years.
Yes, we have a praise band called Zion’s fire to lead worship. And yes, they do contemporary Christian songs as well as reworked hymns and original compositions. We also have confession and absolution, and pastor Dreier delivers not only the children’s message, but the sermon as well.
We decided early on that we wanted our signature outreach event to be the Easter Egg Hunt. Most churches today are only doing hunts within the privacy of their own court yards, for their own congregations. We wanted to be different. We wanted to reach the young families in the neighborhood. And so we opened our first weekend with 4,000 eggs and about 100 prizes. It was cold and snowy that day and we expected at most 100-200 people.
750 people showed up that day, filling the cafeteria. People were standing in the hallway to hear the message. And we were blown away. Seeing the need in the community, we went bigger the next year and planned for 8,000 eggs.
We made a few mistakes with the hunt in 2007. I’d gather that anywhere from 1,500-2,000 people showed up and we were only expecting 1,000 at the most. We didn’t want to turn people away and yet, our building could not contain the crowds. We learned a lot of hard lessons that year. This event failed on many levels. There was a crowd gathering outside while we were worshipping inside and even though people were stationed out there to guard the eggs families were lining up, a child yelled “go” and like that, all 8,000 eggs were gone. We learned a lot that year. We learned that we needed to be 100% outside. We learned to shorten the service. We learned to combine this with a food drive, to equip team members with walkie talkies, and to have security present. Did the results of this event keep us from trying again?
No. In 2008 we tried again, this time with 12,000 eggs and instead of placing them out in the field before hand, we roped and sectioned it off and placed eggs after people arrived. We also asked families to donate a can of food for Neighbor for Neighbor as they came onto the grounds.
We filled over 35 crates of food for Neighbor for Nieghbor.
We also did something unusual. We hired a clown to deliver the message. That is not a typo folks. We hired Stephen Smith, otherwise known as Tupper the Clown, to deliver the message for our hunt.
Do you see how many kids are there? We couldn’t count them. A lot of these families probably have a home church and a lot of these families don’t. Several families have joined Ablaze church as the result of these egg hunts. And all of these families are invited back to Our Savior for our Easter morning worship services.
For those curious or even offended about the use of a clown to deliver the message that day, Steve Smith is an ordained minister and preachers kids to boot. He owns and operates Christian Sanity Theater and performs throughout the state teaching children about science, history, and Jesus Christ. You can learn more about him by clicking here to see his websight. I have personally hired Steve for personal parties as well as fundraisers. He is very gifted.
We’ve done other events as well including a fall festival. We wanted to do something to counter Halloween.
We also invited Christian Comic Michele VanDusen to provide CLEAN FAMILY FRIENDLY entertainment.
Local rancher and member of Our Savior Lutheran Church, Dale Brookshire brought his chuck wagon for eats.
And again we have the children. That come out to Ablaze either on Saturday nights or for our events.
And of course, no church event is complete without pastor Dreier proclaiming the gospel of Christ.
Ablaze Church in Broken Arrow meets faithfully every Saturday Night at Liberty Elementary School in Broken Arrow. We hold various events throughout the year in order to reach out to the community. We also transport Ablaze youth to Vacation Bible School at Our Savior every year.
We are presently looking at a permanent home for ourselves and need your prayers that God would lead us in the right direction very soon.
Next week, I’ll talk about some of the things Our Savior Lutheran Church in Tulsa does for their LOCAL community as well.
It has been a while since I’ve posted any updates on our mission start. At my last report I stated that we are now considered a satellite of our home congregation, The Lutheran Church of Our Savior. I also shared that we are waiting for the results of our marketing survey. Pending reports look promising for a preschool in Eastern Broken Arrow, and we will have the finalized report in our hands in a couple of weeks. I can’t wait.
In the meantime I wanted to let you know about some important happenings at Ablaze.
1. New Time — Pastor’s Bible Study on marriage still meets at 6:00 pm and worship now begins at 6:30 pm.
2. New Staff — Ablaze church is happy to announce the addition of a paid nursery worker. Rene is our nursery director at OSL and has happily accepted the position of caring for our little ones at Ablaze. Please note that Our Savior does background checks on all people who work with our young children and youth.
3. New programs for the kids. — with so many youth now in attendance (20-30) we found the need to split them out into new age groups.
Tina (our keyboardist) is teaching grade school.
Erick is teaching middle school.
And my husband Jeff as well as our senior high youth leader, Jennifer, will be teaching the high school classes. High school will be studying Foundations: 11 Core Truths to Build Your Life on by Tom Holladay and Kay Warren.
4. New Member’s Classes : Pastor Dreier is teaching his Christianity 101 class on Thursday evenings. You can call the OSL church office for more information.
That’s it for now. I’ll post again when I have more information to share regarding our preschool, the search for a full time ordained pastor, and a new location.
This blog is written by Deana O’Hara, http://www.deanohara.com, no portion of it may be copied without my express written permission.
There is a near naked woman on my Christmas Cards and it’s me! I’m not totally naked, it’s just that my favorite blouse (the one I’m wearing in our Christmas Card photo) is see through and nobody told me. I want to shoot my family and my overly polite friends who simply thought — “She has to know.” NO I did not know! And I ordered over 50 cards with that photo thank you very much. They’ll tell me I have lipstick on my teeth – but a see through blouse goes unmentioned.
I know I said I wanted to be more transparent in 2009 but that is not what I meant. Hence, no cards were mailed this year. 2009 is the year my life turned inside out and upside down. Shaking out the cobwebs, dust and loose change I am not just on the precipice of change but smack center of it all. What an exhilarating ride. My oldest left for college. My youngest is learning how to drive. My husband’s band released their first musical CD and I made a rather drastic career change. I also made new friends, new enemies, and a fool of myself more than once. Good news is, I didn’t die.
Having spent the past 20 years as Jeff’s wife, and Charlie and Dillon’s Mom I began 2009 with very little clue about who Deana really is. I decided that I wanted to know her better and follow God’s path more than my own or anyone else‘s for that matter. Instead of my annual Christmas letter, I thought I’d answer Michael Hyatt’s Seven Questions for Last Year. If you’d like to do that same — see his original post for more information.
If the last year were a movie of your life, what would the genre be? Drama, romance, adventure, comedy, tragedy, or a combination?
Comedy and Adventure —
What were the two or three major themes that kept recurring? These can be single words or phrases. For me, they were:
Giving my family wings
Learning to use my own wings
Learning to get along with less and enjoying it more
What did you accomplish this past year that you are the most proud of? These can be in any area of your life—spiritual, relational, vocational physical, etc. Be as specific as possible.
Resigning from the Ablaze Church Mission Board – — It was time to move on. Ablaze is now established as a satellite location of our home congregation Our Savior Lutheran Church. I’m very proud of what we accomplished. By next year they will be looking at opening a pre-school and calling a full time pastor. Knowing I played a part in God’s overall plan for that congregation thrills me and humbles me all at once. It was an awesome three years.
What do you feel you should have been acknowledged for but weren’t?
Leaving this one blank here — but it’s a good question to ask and think about.
What disappointments or regrets did you experience this past year? As leaders, we naturally have high expectations of ourselves and others. Where did you let yourself down? Where did you let others down?
Booking a retreat for my husband and I without checking out the leader’s qualifications: Turns out he only works with A-List performers and I feel like we probably wasted his time and as a result, ours. I was wanting to do something “really great” for my husband and overshot the runway in the process.
Losing focus on my exercise regimen and having to keep re-starting it
Picking a fight with someone I admire on his own blog (not the first time I’ve done that, but I kinda called him an overstuffed pig who plays with puppets and can’t keep a day job.. NOT NICE and not me )– when in reality he isn’t who I was mad at. I made an idiot out of myself.
Not being as present in the moment with my family as they want and need.
Not being as excited about Jeff’s new CD as Jeff was — All I saw was time spent away from home and forgot to cherish and celebrate his hard work and accomplishment with him like he deserved.
What was missing from last year as you look back? Again, look at each major area of your life. Don’t focus now on having to do anything about it. For now, just list each item. Here is my list:
More time doing what I feel called to do and less time worrying about what other think.
More time reading great literature and not just junk food
Time to really unplug and not think about work
More time with my husband
What were the major life-lessons you learned this past year? Boil this down to a few short, pithy statements.
A life without something to dream and pursue creates bitterness. It is better to pursue a dream and fall short than to hide your heart and fall asleep.
I can make a fool out of myself and actually live to tell about it.
It’s okay if I don’t like everyone I meet and it’s okay if everyone I meet does not like me.
Don’t over-think the outcome; just do the next right thing.
Our core team had a group meeting last week, and then a board meeting this week. Ablaze Church is still running strong, and we are facing some very real blessings that are driving new needs.
Having a mobile church is taking it’s toll on our people and our equipment.
Moving things in and out of our trailer, and storing them in a non-climate controlled garage at Our Savior has caused breakeage. We have replaced $6,000 worth of equipment this year alone.
The team is getting tired. Our core team is there every Saturday from 3 pm to 10 pm, loading, unloading, sound check, teaching, praising, and packing it all back up. That doesn’t include the additional 10 – 20 hours during the week for planning, practice, and administration.
We’ve outgrown our facility. We feel like the Old Lady who lived in a shoe – we have so many kids we don’t know what to do. We’ve run out of space at our present location and our youth group has grown to the point they want to meet outside of Saturday night.
These are all good things, and we need prayers for a more permanent location.
Having a 100% layminister/volunteer run mission start may work in the beginning, at some point though, paid staff needs to be hired in order to move forward. We are at that next step.
So my friends, please keep Ablaze Church in your prayers as our core team comes up with a plan for the future.
ABLAZE CHURCH IS A MISSION START SPONSORED BY THE LUTHERAN CHURCH OF OUR SAVIOR, LCMS, TULSA OKLAHOMA. IT IS FULLY SUPPORTED THROUGH IT’S OWN VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS AND MEETS AT LIBERTY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AT 7:00 PM EVERY SATURDAY NIGHT. THE SUPPORT STAFF ARE 100% LAY-MINISTRY VOLUNTEERS. OFFICIATING THE SERVICES IS REVEREND TIMOTHY DREIER, ORDAINED LCMS MINISTER AND SENIOR PASTOR AT THE LUTHERAN CHURCH OF OUR SAVIOR. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE SEE OUR WEB PAGE AT WWW.ABLAZECHURCH.COM