In Edmond, Adam Ricks leads Connect UMC, now worshipping in its new building, 5400 N. Coltrane.
BY HOLLY MCCRAY
The new church building emerges suddenly amid the woods in far north Edmond. Sleek bands of cedar wrap around the gray concrete structure. Even the architecture is unconventional at Connect United Methodist Church, an undeniably modern outpost in God’s mission field.
The 7,000 square feet "matches our identity," said Pastor Adam Ricks. "You won’t walk into here expecting a choir."
The band’s energy will bring you to your feet to sing even as the on-screen announcements roll before Sunday’s contemporary service.
Dress comfortably. Bring into the worship space the yummy breakfast bites and juice or morning caffeine you’ve chosen from the custom-built buffet in the lobby.
Register your child, fifth-grader or younger, at one of three electronic check-in stations. Staff with digital tablets are on hand to assist.
Use your smartphone to scan the QR code in the bulletin to give electronically.
Look up and see the exposed ductwork, both functional and fitting the church’s aesthetic.
In addition to the worship space that seats 220 people, there are four multipurpose rooms, all equipped with smart TVs. Restrooms are state of the art. There is no office. Even the folding tables are adjustable-height.
Rev. Ricks emphasized flexibility is important to Connect. "It’s Classroom 3, not THE pre-k room," he offered as an example.
Until this month Connect UMC had met at Centennial Elementary School, which is not far from the new building on 8 acres at Coltrane and Sorghum Mill Roads. A water well supplies the irrigation system on the land.
The building and landscaping cost about $2 million, said Ricks. The property was acquired for $400,000.
"People gave up vacations, drove older cars, who-knows-what, to make the building happen," he said gratefully.
This faith community was planted in 2011 by the Oklahoma Conference; your church’s Apportionment giving made it possible. Mother church was Edmond-Acts 2.
Enthusiasm filled the new building on Nov. 13, one in a series of grand opening Sundays. A total of 200 worshippers, a mix of ages, celebrated by sharing in the Lord’s Supper as well as a barbecue luncheon.
A beaming member of Connect’s core leadership group — that had faithfully staged church-in-a-box each Sunday at the elementary school — declared his happiness that task has concluded.
The church’s missional giving has included Criminal Justice and Mercy Ministries and the Circle of Care.
At a recent meeting of the Conference’s New Faith Communities Ministry Team, held at the new church, Ricks talked about Connect’s strategy.
"You can’t plant a church for the wrong reasons, such as ego. You must plant only because your heart breaks for the people to hear the message of Jesus Christ." He pointed to Jesus’ compassion for the hungry crowd; with a few loaves and fish, Christ fed 5,000 people.
When Connect UMC broke ground, a Bible was buried in the earth. That spot is right below the stage in the new building, Ricks said. Praise be to God.
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