Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Blahginess!

The Heart Part 2

IN THE BEGINNING

The Heart Church is located in Tulsa, OK. We officially launched on Sunday September 9, 2001. Who knew that two days later our world would be rocked? Well, of course God did, but now we are getting off track. The history of The Heart actually goes back a bit further than that. Much of the history of The Heart is tied very closely to another church called Parkside Mennonite Brethren Church. I personally, do not know a whole lot about the actual history of this church other than what has been directly involved with The Heart. This is a sad state of affairs as I am sure the spiritual legacy of that church continues on with The Heart and it would be valuable to learn more about that legacy. But I will pick up with what I am most familiar with. In the late 1990s Parkside MB was faced with a difficult decision. Their congregation was no longer growing and those who were left were getting older and responsibility for the church was becoming too much of a burden for the leadership. So they made a difficult decision to close their doors. They made this decision with an important objective. Rather than completely throwing in the towel and saying that they were done, they decided to merge their congregation with another church located in Collinsville, OK. Their desire was to eventually start another church at some point in the future. So the building was sold and the money set aside for the future church.

Also in the late 1990s Pastor Mike Miller, a youth pastor at the Enid Mennonite Brethren Church, began to sense that God was calling him to a new ministry. Of course, as most youth pastor’s the thought was perhaps going to do youth ministry at another church. However,  Pastor Mike had been contacted by Mission USA, the church planting organization of the Mennonite Brethren denomination, to see if he might be interested in planting a church. After completing the long and difficult process of evaluation, Mike and his wife Kim felt that God was indeed calling them to plant a church, but where? Of course, the former congregation from Parkside had already informed the denomination leadership of their idea to “merge to multiply” so it seemed like a natural fit. Pastor Mike would go to the Tulsa area to plant a new church using the resources from the previous Parkside congregation. And so it came to pass…

CALLED TO TULSA

In August 2001, the Miller family from Enid, OK and the Gerbrandt family from Springfield, MO moved to Tulsa and joined up with other families already living in the area who were interested in being involved in this new church plant. We began meeting at the Miller apartment studying the Bible, praying, and hearing Mike’s heart for this new church. At our first meeting there were 8 of us. Mike and Kim Miller, Ken and Carolyn Regier, Kent and Janis Hisey and Kenyon and Missy Gerbrandt. We focused much of our outreach to neighbors that we were all in proximity to at the time. We were so energetic and intentional about meeting new people and sharing with them the idea of this new church plant.

We began meeting together at local hotel conference rooms about once a month for worship and teaching. These services were a great experience for us as we began to expand from primarily being a “small group” to practicing more “corporate” forms of worship. Even before the church started we were connecting people with Jesus and had a couple of people accept Jesus and several more recommit themselves to following Jesus. Then in August 2001 we “officially” launched our new church, Community Church of The Heart. Launch Sunday was awesome, we had almost 150 in service that Sunday. The problem was though that many of those were well wishers. People from out of town or other “sister” churches who came to be a part of our first service. We did have several first time guests, but the following week we dropped to 50. We were meeting in the Union 8th Grade Center at the time and so it felt really empty that following Sunday. God was faithful and new people continued to come and check out “the new church” and some of them even stuck around and connected with our families.

At the time of our launch the staff consisted of Pastor Mike and Kevin Hisey who was officially our worship leader “intern” since he couldn’t be supported by the church quite yet. We met at the 8th Grade Center until January 2003…

To be continued…

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2 responses

  1. Los

    Good stuff.

    March 15, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    • kenyongerbrandt

      Thanks for stopping by…good to see you back around…you were missed. I also have to say that I have been inspired by your example. Thanks.

      March 16, 2009 at 9:51 am

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