Posted By: Tim Mannin
ENTRY FIVE in our writing series, EIGHTEEN, which is all about some of in's and out's of this church.
I have the privilege of saying a few things about the people listed in the title of this entry - they would probably rather that I not say anything, but as the one who is writing these entries...well I get to say what I want : ) I actually receive quite a few questions, especially from other church leaders about our team…or as some people would say, our “church staff.” People wonder how we have such a large “staff” for being a new church plant. I actually avoid the term “staff” because I think it infers a few things, most importantly it can infer that they are paid employees. It really is pretty amazing what this group of people are doing…and I want to share some of that with you.
Ryan Moore, Jamie Stolp, Courtney Whittier, Jessica Cox, and Stephen Thorne have done some pretty extreme things in order to give themselves to planting this church. For now, for the sake of clarity -- they are not the OKC Community Church “staff” as much as they are the team that God has brought together. Trust me, all of us would love for them to become our staff, but we all knew early on that it would take some sacrificial faith and some “God Has You” sort of decisions in order to be a part of this church.
These five people (plus Carrie, Timothy, and Micah-Anne with Jamie – and Jenny with Stephen) have been incredible. They’ve committed to this church beyond comprehension – they’ve changed their jobs, taken part time jobs, and arranged their lives to come and serve this church with no money on the table and no promise of money. None of us know if or when this church may grow to the point of being large enough to have a church staff --- we want it to, but that’s not why any of them are here. We have a team of people here who believe they’ve been called by God to do this.
I want to tell you a few statements that I will never forget. These statements came during powerful moments with each of them. It was either during or some time after Christie and I poured our guts out to these friends about the church God is calling us to plant. When we shared with them we were simply sharing…not recruiting…and this is response we received in return.
- “So when do we start.” The first response by Ryan Moore after telling him we were going to plant a church.
- “Is it okay if Carrie and I pray about moving our family from South Dakota to OKC to be a part of this church plant.” The shocking question by Jamie Stolp on a routine phone call I had with him when he suggested moving his family to be a part of this church.
- “I know I should probably say I’m gonna pray about this…but I am thinking that I am supposed to be a part of this.” The first thing Courtney said to me after I told her about the church.
- “Okay I’m gonna do it. This is crazy, this is crazy, this is crazy. I’m going to do it, Oh my gosh I can’t believe It, I’m gonna do it.” Said by Jessica Cox on the idea of being our kids ministry director
- “Hey I think Jenny and I are going to come to your church.” Said by Stephen Thorne over coffee – to which I replied, “Well if you are going to come to our church…you’re gonna lead worship right?” To which he replied, “Well I’d like to, but I didn’t want to say… I want to come to your church and lead worship.” To which, I laughed!
In order for each of them to be a part of this church many left full time ministry jobs, they've had to find new jobs, move where they live, and so much more. They've done all of this with no money on the table and no knowledge if there will ever be. God has amazingly provided each of them jobs and support that have provided the resources and time to do what they feel God has called them to do. It’s not always easy, in fact I know there have been some tough challenges through the transitions, but God is doing deep work within each of them. Most of them have even moved into neighborhoods along NW 23rd street in Oklahoma City. They’ve given their lives to the cause of this church.
Why do I tell you this…
- So hopefully you know the kind of people that are here.
- So hopefully you are inspired by their example of faith and passion for the church.
- So hopefully, you will encourage them and help them in their journey of faith and ministry.
- So hopefully, you will know we have a team that is serious about what we talk about.
- So hopefully, you will pray for them.
OKC Community is overly blessed by the people who are part of this church (we have a church full of amazing people) – and the very first people who raised their hand and stepped out in faith were these few courageous people.
Anyway, I thought this was pretty amazing and worth sharing with everyone.
One final thought -- this isn’t the purpose of this entry, but If you ever feel led to financially support any of these people please let us know.