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Elder Update - Quarter 4 // 2019

We are excited to begin a new rhythm in communication with you! We are so grateful that as an elder-led church, you entrust us to lead and shepherd the flock among us (1 Peter 5:2). But we also recognize that as a partner-engaged church, there are always opportunities for us to be more communicative with those who we have the privilege of leading.

To this end, we want to share quarterly with you an update on what is happening among us as we meet together and how you can pray for us. We also want to encourage you to reach out to us if our update sparks any any questions, concerns, or comments. We would consider it an honor to meet with you personally and see how we can serve you. 

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On Sunday, September 22, as we looked at the value of mission at Mercyview during our time of worship together, we shared with you three things that we are excited about as we journey forward missionally.

First, we shared with you that we are partnering with a ministry to the poor in Tulsa called City of Hope Outreach as a new mercy and justice pipeline at Mercyview. City of Hope Outreach takes a faith-based and gospel-centered approach to address the problem of homelessness by identifying those members of the homeless community who desire to put the streets behind them, by connecting those individuals with a local church and mentoring them, by equipping them with the tools and assistance needed to reintegrate, and then following through with them until their reintegration is complete. It is their hope that through partnerships with local churches like Mercyview, we can change the outlook of the homeless community and bring hope and healing to people in desperate need of love and compassion. Specific opportunities are coming so stay tuned.

Second, we shared with you a new partnership that we are excited about as well. As you know, since our inception as a church, we have been affiliated with Acts 29, a transdenominational church planting network that began in 1998. It is a place we find deep brotherhood and encouragement for the journey we find ourselves in. But over the years, your elders have been wrestling with the reality that Acts 29 is a young organization and that there is worth in being affiliated with an entity with a deep connectedness to the past and a long history of fruitfulness and faithfulness. As we have been discussing how we can best position ourselves missionally as we move forward, we have had a growing conviction that it is wise and beneficial to be both affiliated with a network and a confessional denomination. To this end, as we continue to partner with Acts 29, we have decided that we should also partner with the Southern Baptist Convention denominationally.

The SBC is a confessional, theologically conservative, Protestant evangelical denomination that began in 1845 in Augusta, Georgia and currently has 50,000 churches in 41 state conventions across the United States. Some of these churches include A29 sister churches, Frontline Church in Oklahoma City and The Village Church in Dallas, where Acts 29’s president, Matt Chandler, is lead pastor. What is exciting about this new partnership is that it doesn’t change who we are and what we currently do (SBC churches are independent and autonomous thus, have the freedom to pursue ministry as they see fit) but rather strengthens what we can do. In short, it helps us accelerate ministry and mission in ways we couldn’t do it on our own. Some of these new partnerships include things like participating in church planting (particularly in rural areas of Oklahoma), national disaster relief, global hunger relief, national and global mission efforts (we already partner with MV partners, *H (*security protocol) and Chris and Melissa Robinson, through the IMB, the SBC’s global missions org), resourcing through entities like the ERLC, and a pathway to students at the University of Tulsa through Baptist Collegiate Ministries, among others. We are excited to see what God does in our new partnership with the SBC, alongside our continued partnership with A29.

Third, we shared with you about an exciting opportunity we have as a church to partner with a like-minded church in global mission. As "sons and daughters of Issachar" who understand our times (1 Chron. 12:32) and the acknowledgment that the sovereign Lord designates the times and places of the peoples and nations (Acts 17:26), we have desired to focus on sending workers to unreached people groups that had fled their homelands to immigrants-recipient cities in the world.  For a variety of reasons, we have centered our current efforts on reaching immigrant and refugee populations in the UK. To this end, we believe that the Lord has begun stirring a desire in some of those in our body to explore this more intently.

On Sunday, we shared that Jim and Laura Campbell with Andy and Christina Connel are exploring an opportunity in the UK as they travel there from September 22 through October 1. During their time there, they will be spending time with the elders of Oldham Bethel Church, a church in the greater Manchester area of the central UK. They have a significant outreach to immigrant populations and having been praying for workers to come alongside them in the harvest. We asked you to pray for clarity and discernment  for the Campbell’s, Connel’s, as well as the leadership of Oldham Bethel and Mercyview. We look forward to telling you how their visit went upon their return.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to journey with you in God’s great mission in Tulsa and beyond. Pray for us to continue to do that sacrificially and humbly. And as always, feel free to reach out to us if you would like to discuss any of these things further.