Laborers For Christ

A Small Tulsa Congregation Takes Big Step to Plant New Church

March 16, 2017 | Posted by Joe Russo

When Our Savior Lutheran Church decided to take a “big, big step” and build a preschool and child care center, the Tulsa, Oklahoma, congregation questioned participating in LCEF’s Laborers For Christ.

“We had never used Laborers, so this was a new process for us to walk through,” said the Rev. Timothy Dreier, Our Savior’s pastor. “We had lots of questions.”

Congregants Marv and Syd Duensing – longtime Laborers who are now retired – happily provided answers. They also helped recruit and coordinate what their pastor suspects may be a record number of volunteers to work alongside Laborers.

“People have caught the vision,” Dreier said. “When you do something to reach out to children and young millennials – and to unchurched families – they want to get involved.”

Power of foot washers

When Our Savior began a Saturday night contemporary worship service 10 years ago in nearby Broken Arrow, the community consisted of little more than homes and a fast-growing public school. Since then, two more schools have opened.

“We knew something was happening here. What could we do to serve this community?” said Dreier. The church’s first step was to partner with LCEF’s Capital Funding Services to raise money for the future home of Ablaze Christian Academy and Ablaze Church. The congregation eventually bought five acres.

Our Savior is also using LCEF loan support to build the 12,000 sq. ft. center – including nine classrooms, a multipurpose area that will also serve as a worship facility and an “open-air” pastor’s office.

The goal is to “create an atmosphere where relationships can be built,” Dreier said of the facility. It’s named after the LCMS Ablaze! initiative to plant churches in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.

“We began with a core group of faithful volunteers who gave up their Saturday nights. Everyone was a ‘foot washer;’ no one got paid,” Dreier said of the young Ablaze congregation which has grown to 40 to 50 worshippers.

Seeing the handiwork of God

Laborers have been working for Our Savior since April, when project manager George Cover arrived in the Broken Arrow community. Despite some weather issues and other delays, the Ablaze congregation hopes to move from its current rental space into it’s new home for Easter Sunday. Just in time to celebrate the Reformation’s milestone anniversary year as well as the future.

Families are expected to begin enrolling children at the Ablaze Christian Academy in the fall.

“Building for future generations to hear God’s Word” is a one reason Marv Duensing says he and Syd joined Laborers For Christ back in 2003.

When Our Savior took what Marv calls “a big, big step” in building Ablaze, he encouraged participating in Laborers For Christ – another step his pastor now calls “a big blessing.”

Our Savior, he says, has seen firsthand the benefits of LCEF – Laborers For Christ, Capital Funding Services and loan support – as a ministry partner.

“When you invest money through LCEF, you’re really investing in ministry,” Dreier said. “Through Laborers and through LCEF financial support, it’s like seeing the handiwork of God as we build.”

Do you want to travel, meet people and, most importantly, spread the Gospel? Interested in becoming a Laborers For Christ member? Sign up here or call 800-843-5233.

AUTHOR
Joe Russo