I’ve let the news of Wade Hodges leaving Garnett to plant a church in Austin, Texas settle in for a while and now want to tell you a little about how I’m feeling about preaching at Garnett Church of Christ in Tulsa.
I love Garnett Church of Christ more today than ever before, and I’m very happy to preach and help lead the church alongside very capable and loving shepherds, staff, and other servants in the church.
I grew up in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, so I’ve known of Garnett for decades. The Tulsa Soul-Winning Workshop was a rite of Spring, and I have fond memories of my mother, Charlotte Taylor, and my aunt, Karen Williams, spreading out picnics in the Expo when it was cold and rainy and at Woodward Park when it was sunny and the azaleas were about to bloom.
For twenty years I’ve wanted to preach and help lead a church going through a neighborhood transition, and Garnett has been doing that. East Tulsa was growing with new housing when the church built near 31st and Garnett many years ago. Now the neighborhood is revitalizing with new stores and active neighborhood associations and Community Schools that we partner with, including Briarglen and Cooper Elementary Schools. What I mean by this is that some churches either grow old and die or they move to the suburbs, but Garnett has stayed put through neighborhood transition economically and ethnically, and this has been a dream of mine to help a church like this transform to serve God right where we are.
In the past several years, the church has declined in attendance but has grown stronger in other ways, including the ability to dream again, creatively use our resources, stop gossiping and speak face to face with people and not behind their backs. Other areas of growth are Garnett’s outreach to the community, continued small group participation, and an element that has been true of the church for a long time: joyful worship and good preaching.
With God’s help and illumination of his word and gospel, I plan to continue that tradition of good preaching. In the weeks leading up to Easter we will finish the Sermon on the Mount series, and we will have special events for youth, for families, including a showing of the film, Fireproof, and ongoing classes such as Single Parenting led by Jo Morton and Robert Garland, Better Life 101 led by Jim Roberts, Hebrews led by James Lawrence, and Following Jesus led by Greg Taylor.
We have classes both Sundays (9 am) and Wednesdays (7 pm) for cradle to high school and for adults. We also have a free meal called Neighborhood Kitchens, and all are welcome from 5-7 pm. Just come in the West entrance and we’ll welcome you there. We’d love to see you come to our worship at 10 am Sundays, and we’ll welcome you and show you around and enjoy worshiping God with you.
Preacher, Garnett Church of Christ