A Vision for God's Church
Crowell Heights Baptist Church has a long, rich history of showing the love of God and serving the community of Midtown Tulsa. During the 1970's and '80's, the congregation grew to over 150 people, which allowed for thriving ministries and programs that served the community. As happens in many urban residential areas and with many urban churches, the community began to change and the church began to decrease in number. The next several years saw fewer and fewer people coming to worship at CHBC. Fewer people meant fewer ministries and resources in which to serve the community. Over time a disconnection between CHBC and the immediate community had occurred. This led to further decline and ultimately stagnation in the church.
However, a remnant of wholly devoted followers of the Lord remained committed to CHBC and to its surrounding community. In August of 2007, they called a new pastor to come join and lead them. Randy Alley and his family joined up with this remnant and a new path for CHBC began. For several years prior to accepting the call to CHBC, Randy knew that the Lord had laid a vision on his heart for the church. A vision that included new ways of thinking and new perspectives on how to go about "doing church." Randy knew that he was to carry out God's vision, but did not know where it would be carried out, until he came to CHBC.
In January 2008, Randy presented a "Vision for the future" to CHBC. The church not only accepted this vision, they were excited about it. It was seen as a way to reconnect with the community while glorifying the Lord through worship and service. Since implementing the vision, the church has seen God's hand work in mighty ways, and He has been glorified throughout it. Attached is copy of the original handout presented to the church. Many of the items listed have been put into action, and have seen tremendous success, but there is still a lot to do. Please pray about how God may use you in the midst of His God sized vision for CHBC.
Crowell Heights Baptist Church
Vision for the Future
God has impressed upon me that it is not important if the church is “traditional” or “contemporary”. The real issue is whether or not the church is a biblically faithful church able to relate to the culture around it.
For that reason, we will focus on becoming a “Missional Church”.
Why? Because if Crowell Heights is going to reach an ever-changing culture, we should contend for the unchanging faith (Jude 3) using methods that are relevant to all kinds of people. ( 1 Corinthians 9:22-23) That’s what a missional church is all about.
A missional church is not the same as a missions-minded church. Though they are both important and related.
A missions-minded church is one that cares about missions around the world; giving to missions and supporting missionaries. (Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong, etc).
Missional churches realize that they should not only support missions, they need to be missionaries where they are.
Missional churches take Acts 1:8 literally and act like missionaries sharing the gospel in word and deed. In their own Jerusalem (city or community), Judea (state or region), and Samaria (North America) and to the ends of the earth.
When Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (John 20:21), that mandate was not to a select group of missionaries, it was a commission to you and me and this church.
We have a sender (Jesus) a message (the Gospel) and a people to whom we are sent (real people in our culture)
God’s vision for Crowell Heights is for this church to become a missional church in words and deeds, and for each member to be a missionary to the lost people in his or her part of the world.
How will we become a missional church?
By focusing on three simple principals.
It’s About God
We become missional through our worship and discipleship.
v We will make adjustments in the style of worship service that will make it more relatable for lost people. We will keep the worship service fresh. Including music they can relate to, and different types of video and media to make the service more relevant to today’s culture
v We will adapt our church to the changing culture in which God has placed us. Even though we may know the same language, we may not be speaking in ways that people can hear, understand, and believe. We never change or compromise the gospel, but we communicate it clearly and with a sense of urgency to our changing culture. We will not change the message, but we will change the methods
v The way we do church will be grounded in scripture but applied in today’s culture. We will be biblically faithful and culturally relevant.
v Discipleship will include more options for Bible Study classes; learning about Spiritual Gifts, Women’s Bible Studies, Small Groups etc.
v We will teach people to become disciples so they can go out and teach people to become disciples so they can go out and teach……
It’s About Reaching Lost People
We become missional through evangelism and ministries:
v We will learn to love lost people more than we love our traditionalisms.
v We will reach out to our community by offering “hands on” ministries that help people in very real ways, showing them the love of Jesus and the promise of hope through faith in Him.
v Opening our building and facilities to outside organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous or Gamblers Anonymous for their meetings.
v Assisting our local schools with volunteers, helping with their families in need, or whatever needs the school may have.
v Offer classes to the community. Classes for: Financial Freedom & Money Management, Marriage and Relationship, Spanish as a second language, Parenting , How to Cope with your Teenager, Physical Fitness & Exercise, Job Interviewing Skills, etc.
v Reaching out to our community civil servants: Have special recognition services and activities for our local Fire Fighters, Police Officers, EMT’s, Service Men & Women, Teachers, etc.
v Offering after school tutoring & homework help for kids in the community.
v Develop and Facilitate an AIDS support group.
v Provide services for neighborhood residents in need of help with their lawn mowing or minor home maintenance, etc.
v Adopt-a-church in another part of the city to help them with their ministries.
v Host community events like car shows, concerts, movie nights, youth fellowships and parents night out.
v We will consider a Saturday evening service.
v We will focus on developing a top-notch children and youth ministry. We will open our gym to young people.
v We will develop a Website and advertise our church on radio and print. In secular media not just Christian.
It’s About Loving One Another:
We become missional through fellowship:
v The church body will be involved in fellowships, cook-outs at the park, trips to different places, (senior adult day trips). We will involve younger adults through overnight trips to Tulakogee, relevant bible studies. Etc.
v Bring in music groups, special speakers, bands, etc.
v We will create a system of assimilation that will help all people find their place of service by involving them in various activities. We will develop “participators” not “spectators”.
v We will form a Leadership Team made up of members of the body representative of the entire congregation for the purpose of overseeing and governing the body on administrative as well as spiritual matters.
God has a wonderful plan for Crowell Heights and what I have just presented to you is a God sized vision. I cannot make it happen by myself, I will offer leadership, but it will take each one of us doing our part.
Will this vision make Crowell Heights perfect? No way, not as long as sinners come here. But it will give us direction.
Will everyone like every aspect of it? Probably not, but I ask you to give it a chance. Our attitude toward it will go a long way to its success.
Will every idea work? Maybe not, but if one idea doesn’t work we will try something different until something works. Either way, we must be continually trying new things in order to keep from becoming stagnant.
We will not double our attendance over night, but that is OK because attendance is not the point. Being Missional is the point. Remember, it’s not about attendance; It’s About God, It’s About Reaching Lost People, and It’s About Loving One Another.
Thank you for continuing to pray for our church and for this vision. May God Bless you.