Connect UMC charters in Edmond
By Holly McCray
The daughter has grown and moved out on her own. On Oct. 6, Connect United Methodist Church officially chartered in Edmond.
Mom was there that day to offer blessings. Connect was birthed through the mother-daughter church model. Acts 2 UMC, also in Edmond, is the mother church.
You can claim kinship, too. Everyone in the Oklahoma Conference is a relative, through your Apportionment giving. A total of $240,000 supported the church in its infancy. Connect received the funds through the Department of Congregational Development.
In addition to help from the Conference and Acts 2, North Oklahoma City District and Ardmore-First UMC gave major support.
A decade has passed since a church chartered in the Oklahoma Conference. Edmond Chinese International UMC chartered on Oct. 19, 2003. Among other developing congregations are CrossTimbers, in Moore; Living Water, in Glenpool; and Summit, also in Edmond. In northwestern Oklahoma, Vida En Abundancia, Laverne, became an official mission congregation in 2007.
Connect UMC chartered with 106 adult members on the roll. Pastor Adam Ricks said children’s attendance totals 42, counted separately.
Rev. Ricks said he responded to the rally cry by the denomination’s 2008 General Conference to focus on starting churches. "That’s exciting! That’s what Methodists have always done; they go where the people are. I really feel church-planting is where the future of our Church is.
"I threw my name in the hat," he said.
The bishop appointed him to Acts 2 UMC as a church planter, to sow a new congregation in eastern Edmond. Mark Foster, who planted Acts 2 and continues as its senior pastor, coaches church planters nationally.
Ricks preached on Oct. 9, "Every once in a while, you get an opportunity to be a part of something that is of eternal significance." He applied that to everyone participating in the new faith community. "In the greatest story ever told, we get a few pages."
Connect launched worship in January 2011.
"We’ve already done great stuff. Imagine what might happen," Ricks said, "because we think we can make a difference. We think the world will be a better place with Connect, where people experience God and are inspired to transform to make the world a better place."
He compared the people of this new church to the disciple Andrew, who was Peter’s brother. "Andrew’s not a famous disciple; Peter is. But Andrew is the one who brought Peter to Jesus." Andrew also brought a boy with loaves and fish to Jesus when people were hungry.
"When we do that – bring people to Jesus – Jesus does what Jesus does: turns a fisherman into Peter and feeds thousands of people. The fruit will come from the people you connected to God."
Charter member Kim Moxley now has been part of three church plants. As a teen, she attended UM Church of the Resurrection, when the now-megachurch in Kansas met in a funeral home. After marriage and a move to Oklahoma from Arkansas, signs for Acts 2 drew the Moxleys to that church, which met in a school at the time.
Then the couple responded when Acts 2 members were asked to pray about planting Connect. "Adam’s excitement: we felt that, too. We were one of the first families. I feel like that’s where God wants us to be," Moxley said.
"I see how it’s growing and reaching out to people. That’s what I really love about Connect: connecting with people and with God."
Rev. Foster traced the birth process for mother church Acts 2. Pivotal for him was a sabbatical experience in early 2009. "Where God gives vision, God gives provision to carry it out. To God be the glory!" he declared on Charter Sunday.
He told Ricks, "Studies have confirmed the No. 1 thing that determines whether a church gets to this day is the selection of the right church-planter for the mission field. I’m certain God brought you to us."
Foster said Acts 2, chartered in 2001, held worship in a school for five years.
Participation jumped when that church moved out of rented space and into its own facility, where a major building expansion is under way now. Ricks said Connect Church is looking for property.
On Sundays, worship begins at 11 a.m. in Centennial Elementary School, 4400 N. Coltrane Rd., Edmond.