Everyone knows about the grand opening of Oasis, January 19, 2014. It was our very first Sunday morning service. Hundreds of people showed up, 28 people met Jesus, & it was a big, exciting day.
But here’s the part people don’t know…
Technically, we started Oasis 9 months earlier with a small crew of 40-something people in a rented room at the Holly Springs Cultural Center. There were no lights, no cameras, no frills. We stuck a sandwich board sign at the door and had a room for the kids to play in while a few families came and let me pitch “the vision.”
Most of these 40 people aligned under one vision, committed financially, invested relationally, and the church grew because of it. Hundreds of people were saved and baptized in the following years. We were the little engine that could.
When I was younger, I was an optimistic person who believed in the “fake it til you make it” lie, but as I’ve grown older I tend to be more of a realist who prefers authenticity over hype.
Well, authentically speaking, we are not the same church we used to be. 2020 caught us off guard. COVID separated us, Politics divided us, and ultimately, we are not the little engine that could – we are now the big engine that broke down but happens to be coasting down hill and now we are trying to rebuild the engine before we have to go full steam ahead again 😂.
We’ve had our ups and downs, and I’ve made a ton of mistakes, learning a lot along the way, but I’d say our church is about half the “size” it was Pre-Covid. With the schools closed, our portable church was forced to do services primarily online. This was novel in the beginning, but over time, many of those who once called Oasis home have drifted away from the church and aren’t making online church or even small groups a priority. There are a faithful few who are engaged & leaning in, but for the most part people are doing their best, just not “feeling it.”
We’ve been sifted. It’s not negativity here, it’s just where we are & how I see it. Everyone always asks “how’s the money”? And the money is fine, we are financially healthy. But there is something vastly more important than the checkbook that I’m concerned with.
I want your hearts back. I want your attention again. I want us on the same page, working toward the same goals, celebrating the same things again.
In the chaos of this year, I’ve had one thought ringing in the back of my mind…
“…We built Oasis once, and we will put our heads down and build it again!”
This has nothing to do with self-sufficiency; it is all about God’s purpose, provision & His power.
We’ve had as low as 40 people before & we did just fine. In fact, I’d rather have 40 people who are all in than 300 who are half asteroids. (I said asteroids).
Rather than lamenting the losses, we are thanking God for what we have and stewarding our gifts and resources wisely.
It may not be flashy, fast, or the biggest in town, but we will regather, relaunch, & rebuild in 2021!