Layman Tom Pace, left, and clergyman Bob Long, right, are congratulated by Mark McAdow, pastor of OKC-First UMC.
Layman Tom Pace and Pastor Bob Long received the prestigious Harry Denman Evangelism Awards during the 2011 Annual Conference.
Presenter Mark McAdow called the two men "faithful witnesses." Pace, a member of OKC-Church of the Servant, was nominated by his pastor, Robert Gorrell. Rev. Dr. Long is senior pastor at OKC-St. Luke’s.
Pace "believes everyone needs the Lord," said Rev. McAdow. At Church of the Servant, Pace started The Anybody Class, intentionally seeking to create a Sunday School group that appeals to people of all backgrounds.
His personal invitations prompt eight to 12 unchurched people weekly to attend worship. And he regularly provides rides to church for people at The City Rescue Mission.
McAdow said, "In the Oklahoma City metro area, you may have seen some blue-and-white yard signs with a simple but encouraging message: Invite someone to church this month. (Tom Pace) is the inspiration behind and provider of those free signs.
"He has produced and given away more than 800 signs and bumper stickers with the message."
Clergyman Bob Long is serving his 20th year in Oklahoma. "Any member of his church will tell you that his enthusiasm for Christ is contagious," said McAdow. "He brings warmth and a spirit of hope to every meeting, personal encounter, and message."
Sharing Christ, a primary focus for Long, has led to significant growth in St. Luke’s Church. McAdow said the award-winning pastor has employed principles from The Disney Corp.—hospitality, aggressive friendliness, and other core values—to create a culture that encourages those in the congregation to share Christ and grow in their faith.
Long uses local radio as an evangelism tool, broadcasting a thought-for-the-day, titled "Something To Think About." He also has encouraged world evangelism through leading St. Luke’s to launch and support a new United Methodist church in Russia. In April, St. Luke’s hosted the international Russia Initiative Consultation, connecting U.S. and Eurasian church members in transformative work.
McAdow, who chairs Oklahoma’s Denman Awards committee, explained that the Foundation for Evangelism, an affiliate of the denomination’s General Board of Discipleship, provides grant support to the Conference for the awards.