On Sunday, October 6, 2019, I stood before my congregation and read a simple verse from 1 Corinthians 16:9: “A wide door of opportunity for good work has opened up here; there’s also mushrooming opposition.” As I said this to the church, I was also mindful that for Crossings, we can celebrate that we have far more opportunity than opposition.
While our Christian beliefs are being challenged in the public debate, we still live in a country which supports our freedom to worship as we please. Even though the Bible Belt is not quite as church-friendly as it was 35 years ago, Oklahoma City is still a place where people are not afraid to allow their church of choice to be listed in their bios and other public information.
When I moved from Ohio to Oklahoma City in 1981, it seemed I had arrived into a city that was not as vibrant as my home town of Dayton. 60 miles west was one of my favorite towns: Indianapolis. It was a big deal to me that Indianapolis had an NBA team, the Pacers. It was a lively and growing city.
As a student at Anderson University, Indy was about a thirty-minute drive from campus. Once I arrived in Oklahoma City, it seemed rather sleepy compared to Indy or Dayton. There were frequent visits to Cincinnati, where we could enjoy both national league baseball, the Cincinnati Reds, or a pro football team, the Bengals.
Once in Oklahoma City, I found the people to be extremely friendly, very entrepreneurial, and proud of their church affiliation whether they attended or not. The city seemed to be a recipe consisting of the Wild West, cowboys, and Native Americans– all with a flair of southern hospitality. It was thrilling to have Dallas, Texas a mere three hours away.
Oklahoma City was where I received my first pair of cowboy boots. Several years later, I received another pair of boots as a Christmas gift from my new in-laws. They were more of a dress boot, and only years later did I discover just how special these boots were and how expensive they were. Today, you will find six pairs of boots in my closet.
If you were to visit Oklahoma City today, you would find a very different city than it was in 1981. Today, 1.4 million people call Oklahoma City their home. We have enjoyed a booming economy, historic population growth, an NBA team, new schools, parks, restaurants, coffee shops, and all that comes with this growth.
It has also been a “wide door of opportunity” for our church. Much of the growth headed north from downtown, and a new highway brought them right by the church. The smaller city of Edmond benefited significantly as people flocked to our spacious neighborhoods, great schools, and all the amenities that make a small city a desirable place to be.
We built our first satellite site right on the northern edge of Edmond, and have already had to add 8,500 feet of space to accommodate the growing community. This has been an unbelievable experience for me. And just when I thought we could enjoy some time to savor the moment, another “wide door of opportunity” opened again.
I think I’ll stop writing so you can hear more about this new wide door that has opened for us–watch the message below!