Friday, May 04, 2007


When in preaching school, the most of my student colleagues wanted to preach in Arkansas, Texas, or Oklahoma. I think a few leaned toward Louisiana. I had no desire to preach in any of those states. I wanted to be "out" in the field where churches hadn't arrived and where souls needed the news of Jesus. So, as God would lead, I have preached in Oklahoma 30 of my 33 years. Odd, don't you think? I know I didn't want it and He and I had words over the initial move. Fortunately, He won!

I love preaching in Oklahoma. It has become a base for literal world outreach through five venues:
  • The Soul Winning Workshop.
  • A preacher training center as several of our youth ministers have moved on to preach.
  • The developing of our own little boys and girls to become missionaries/ministers and business ministers world-wide.
  • The transfer of our members "out" through the natural style of families moving on.
  • The extensive outreach of Internet....of which, again, God and I had words over as I didn't want it....but fortunately, He won!

Too, I found a most striking surprise. Churches in these states haven't arrived. Some just believe they have. There is much coasting going on among the Bible Belt churches. While they believe they are doing other continents a favor by giving them their financial support and sending a missionary here and there, great lack of the Spirit of Jesus Christ remains in the heavily populated church states. Thus, the Bible Belt is also a mission field. There is need to rescue the saved from the Thief and introduce them to Jesus who calls for Life Abundant.

Jesus is being lost in a religion bearing His name. People are being lost because they cannot reconcile Jesus' association with Christianity. Christianity has become docile, domesticated, civilized. We have forgotten that there is a kingdom of darkness stealing the hopes and dreams and souls of a humanity without God----Erwin McManus.

Here's how I see it: if we've kept instrumental music and women's roles out and the weekly Lord's Supper in, we are faithfully serving God. I say this is simply the symptom of dead churches trying to convince themselves they still stand for something. When Jesus is brought back into the picture, transformation begins at every turn: goals, missions, doctrine, and congregational health. Biblical faith is not a position to stand against; but rather a call to move out, move on, move forward.

Shall we determine to march for His cause?


keith said...

I am extremely grateful that GOD sent you to Oklahoma. Better yet, Memorial Drive COC. I Love You, Brother!

Anonymous said...

Terry - what a tremendously firey Friday thought. Thank you for the way that you allow your thoughts and words to be led by Him.

Does this mean that Sweet Mary is going to be leading worship from behind her drumset this weekend? Ha! That wasn't only funny to say but I couldn't stop smiling when thinking about that image.

I love you brother - Shawn

Tammy said...

The kingdom of darkness not only has the power to steal 'the hopes and dreams and souls of a humanity without God--' but the hopes and dreams of sweet children of God within His Kingdom. Praise to Him that He protects the souls of those who believe and gives grace, mercy and hope to those the darkness tries to infect. Thanks to you, Terry, for continuing to open our eyes to the fact that God does not despise our struggles, and that the church is not a battleground for believer against believer, but for believer against the soul stealer.

Jarrod said...

Terry ~ How true! I have been to places where the kids and/or adults are so "sheltered" in the C of C that they don't see the reality of what is out there. There are positives and negatives about the "gathering of chicks" concept. Sometime we must learn how to fly (when we're away from the building).

Greg said...

Amen! Amen!

Franklin Wood said...

Terry, I am now ministering to youth in Omaha, Nebraska. It is MUCH different from my five years in Ponca City, OK!!!!
I agree that there is much coasting going on in the Bible belt. I have seen churches that once proudly supported many foreign missionaries, but now struggle because they lost their local efforts for Christ.
I am definitely NOT a "master evangelist," but I pray that I become better every day. I have been praying to see God's open doors and to see hearts that are searching. Let's march!
Thanks for the post!

Darrel M said...

The Good Samaritan had to cross the road to get where the ministry really was. Read the account in Luke 10, the church was on one side of the road, the real ministry was on the other side.

We have definitely kept the church on the side of the road away from the real ministry.

Marilyn Tippett said...

Terry, 'We' are sheltered up here in the Northland too. Smothered is more like it. In Lutheran territory you're not supposed to talk about God. I have wonderful Lutheran friends, but they talk around God as though He were their private friend. So I'm the one out in left field.
Oh well, we live up here because He lives. And for our nine grandchildren too.

Lita said...

I'm so glad that God won! Can't imagine my life without knowing and loving you.

David U said...

You probably won't ever see this comment because I am getting to it SO late........but this was a GREAT post, and I amen every word of it!

Erwin McManus is awesome, isn't he?

Your brother,