BY HOLLY MCCRAY
It was one great day when One Church in Edmond welcomed people in worship Jan. 22.
Lots of praying and planning preceded that Sunday service at Frontier Elementary School. Turnout was crucial that day.
Leaders wanted weekly worship to launch with that service. But attendance by more than 100 adults was necessary, to carry forward momentum for this new faith community.
Andy Nelms couldn’t subdue his excitement when he announced the total count of 138 adults. One Church, an extension campus of Edmond-Acts 2 UMC, was official.
The people followed worship with immediate service. They packed bags with classroom supplies that were donated to teachers at Frontier Elementary and Heartland Middle Schools.
One young mother balanced her toddler on her hip as the child carefully selected a glue stick and coloring pen and placed them in a bag. A father and two elementary-age sons made repeated trips among the tables of supplies, filling multiple bags.
Rev. Nelms, campus pastor of One Church @ Acts 2, said service is a priority for this new congregation. He gave worshippers action steps for the coming week.
"When you don’t know what to do with the world, serve the world," he preached, "because Jesus called us to serve. One Church is not sitting on the side. (One Church) is doing."
The church’s name was also his sermon title. "Unity is not a spectator sport. It’s a contact sport."
A distinction for One Church is where the people worship. The school abuts the Acts 2 property, both fronting Pennsylvania Avenue. A paved drive links them.
Other recent church plants in the Oklahoma Conference have not opened so close to an existing United Methodist church.
But continually reaching out for Christ has been part of the DNA of Acts 2 since it was founded, Senior Pastor Mark Foster has said.
Acts 2 previously planted what has become Connect UMC in Edmond. "Mark Foster is very knowledgeable," said Chris Tiger, the Conference’s director of New Faith Communities.
He described a church’s life cycle as a curving line, rising, level, or falling. When a growing church nears a plateau, "you start something new," Rev. Dr. Tiger said. That spurs continuing growth, research has shown.
Nelms said that Tiger "has been an incredible blessing in helping me with the church plant." They meet regularly to talk about strategies.
"Chris offers his advice and counsel. He also lets me know that he and his wife, Priscilla, are constantly praying for me and my family — as they are praying for all of our church plants."
Jim Ozier of the Northwest Texas Conference is assigned to coach Nelms as a church planter.
One Church receives funds from the Crossroads District and the Conference, which provided a New Faith Communities grant that will total $372,000 over 3 ½ years. Apportionment giving fulfills that grant.
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Andy Nelms, campus pastor for One Church @ Acts 2, blesses bread for Holy Communion on Jan. 22 as the new congregation begins weekly worship in Edmond.
Andy Nelms, center, questions children Jan. 22 in the first weekly worship service for One Church @ Acts 2, meeting in Frontier Elementary School at Edmond. They are joined by Mark Foster, left, Acts 2 senior pastor, and Angel Pollard, who leads One Church children’s ministry.
PHOTO BY HOLLY MCCRAY