Living the Plan - At Durant, building up people
By Gloria McGee-Denton
DURANT—As I watch the 1,750-square-foot addition go up for our Wesley Center at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, each day bringing obvious progress over the day before, I am reminded of the story of three stonemasons.
Asked what they were doing, one replied he was "earning a paycheck." The second said, "Can’t you see? I’m building a wall." The third explained, "I am building a mighty cathedral."
This United Methodist campus ministry is involved in construction, too. We would add to the masons’ answers: We are building disciples and leaders.
With every board and nail, Wesley Center has more potential than ever to fulfill our mission—to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world—by going to people who are part of the college life at Southeastern; gathering them in Christian community; growing them in faith, wisdom, and love; and going with them in mission and service to others.
We aren’t just building a classroom—we’re building a space for Brian to lead Chi Alpha Bible Study. We aren’t just building a kitchen—we’re building opportunity for increased table fellowship and for Dawn to teach other students to cook. Our new office spaces will be a haven for those seeking pastoral counsel and headquarters for Dottie as she leads mission and service activities. Our remodeled worship hall will provide space for Courtney to lead worship, Josiah to lead prayer, Jason to witness to others, and more young adults to accept God’s saving grace.
This mission and this building have been a dream since Methodist students started gathering on a church member’s backyard porch five decades ago.
Now we are living into the Conference’s Strategic Plan. Last fall, the Wesley’s board of directors adopted a new logo and mission statement—"Go. Gather. Grow." Both reflect the outward-community aspect of the Plan. Ours is a missionary endeavor, to reach those served by the university, primarily young adults across southeastern Oklahoma and north Texas as well as those involved in their education, whether faculty or families.
Go. The life cycle of a generation at Wesley is incomplete if people are not given the opportunity to impact more than their peers. So mission and service form the outward-individual aspect of our Plan. Our core students are regularly involved in local churches, and most take part in mission and service projects each year.
Gather is the inward-community aspect of our ministry. The Wesley gathers people in dynamic Christian community for shared meals, general fellowship, corporate worship, intercessory prayer, and Communion.
Grow through gatherings. The Wesley introduces individuals to further avenues for personal growth: through spiritual disciplines, stewardship, Bible study, enrichment experiences, pastoral care, and development of leadership abilities. Growth, unique to the individual, may bring one person to a point of conversion, another to accept a call to ministry, and another to increased understanding of Scripture. Thus it is the inward-individual aspect of the Plan.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has said, "In God’s family, there are no outsiders. All are insiders … We are set in a delicate network of interdependence."
Alumni, students, board members, churches, the Ardmore District, and the Oklahoma Conference form that network of interdependence at this campus ministry in Durant. Wesley Center intern Dottie Cummins described the ministry this way: "Those people have made a difference in my life and many others’ lives through the love of Christ they show in their actions."
We praise God for growing Wesley’s worship by 60 percent per year across three years. Worship and Tech intern Josiah Ware said he’s excited about all that is going on, and he expects Wesley Center will continue to build ways to "show God’s love through good works and changed lives."