Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

The church has left the building


New Haven’s Mission Sunday motivated many to sign up, for hands-on service. Top, two children bow their heads as Pastor Cindy Havlik blessed the efforts of all before work began that day; 17 groups carried out projects.

Filled with volunteers, a New Haven church bus departs for mission service in Tulsa.

Practice what you preach. Actions speak louder than words. WWJD?

Indeed, what would Jesus do?

In Tulsa, New Haven United Methodist Church answered such challenges with a Mission Sunday event named "The Church Has Left the Building!"

Instead of a worship service on Sept. 9, members as well as visitors were encouraged to "be the church" that day. People met at the church for prayer, then were sent out to accomplish numerous service projects.

Eleven teams went out into the community, and six worked at the church.

Across several weeks, New Haven members had suggested potential opportunities for service. They asked families in the community how the church could be of help in realistic ways. Specific projects were scheduled.

Sign-up sheets filled as the day approached, so opportunities were added. The excitement visibly and audibly gained momentum. T-shirts declaring "The Church Has Left the Building" were ordered from Cookson Hills Center. The teams were mobilized!

While this was a unique way for New Haven to worship on a Sunday, it’s not unusual for this congregation to be involved in its community and beyond, according to Pastor Cindy Havlik and other leaders.

At any given time, Rev. Havlik reported, New Haven parishioners are serving in nursing homes, at Restore Hope Ministries, preparing apartments at Exodus House for persons newly released from prison, teaching and serving meals at Tulsa-St. Luke’s Redemption Church, feeding people at the Day Center for the Homeless, and more. Overall, the congregation has pledged its efforts to more than 100 areas of ministry, both domestic and international.

–Cynthia Mabrey


Making Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World

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