It's been a little over 10 weeks since Simplicity Church OKC officially opened its doors on Sunday, September 25th, 2016. Over the past 2 1/2 months, we've covered a lot of ground in defining who we are, what we stand for, and our purpose. Yes, Simplicity is a Church, but it's also an ideology, a mission, a vision, a community, and a family. In addition to building our music and children's programs, figuring out a location for Sunday services, organizing bible studies, establishing a brand and online presence, and setting up an LLC, a great deal of time, energy, and thought during these first two months of Simplicity's "soft launch" has been devoted to establishing our mission, vision, and core values.
Our Mission: Bring+Grow+Go
Bring others to Christ. Grow together in Christ. Go out into the world together to live as Jesus lived.
Our Vision: Rarely Easy / Always Simple
Simplicity is being built upon the idea that following Jesus Christ should be simple. While it is rarely easy doing the kinds of things that Jesus did - making room for those with whom you may disagree, doing whatever it takes to be there for others, extending grace regardless of circumstance, choosing love when it's easier not to - it is always simple.
Our Core Values:
1) God is too big to be put in a box
2) Relationships precede doctrine
3) Everyone Can
4) Jesus is central in everything
Simplicity's core values are the non-negotiable hills we're prepared to die on; they drive our mission, support our vision, and keep us in alignment with our Heavenly Father.
As a Church in formation, it's important for us to pause and reflect on our history, brief as it may be. Simplicity is a willing participant in the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ. While much has happened over the past 10 weeks during our "soft launch," there have been two areas within Simplicity's many growing ministries that have particularly stood out: community and service.
Though Simplicity is still very much in its infancy, our community has already endured both terrible tragedy and remarkable triumph. About a month ago, the youngest brother of our lead guitarist, Bryan English, whose name is Matthew, began suffering from life threatening health issues. Every treatment the doctors pursued for Matthew seemed to be accompanied by at least one or two major setbacks that proved detrimental to his health. As the weeks passed, things weren't looking up; Matthew's health deteriorated to the point that on Thanksgiving the doctors informed Bryan and his family that Matthew likely wouldn't make it through the night. 24 hours passed - Matthew hung in. 48 hours passed - still, Matthew fought for his life. What became apparent after 72 hours was that, without rhyme or reason and certainly without medical explanation, Matthew's health was beginning to improve! When pastor Michael delivered this news during the following Sunday's service, we found ourselves celebrating as if Matthew, who most of us had never even met, was our own blood. Throughout his ordeal, we as a community cried together, worshipped and served together, and prayed together for Matthew and his family. Out of the sadness came hope, faith, strength, and unity. We learned that blessings can come in many forms; tragedy can lead to triumph. We are absolutely elated that Matthew's condition is currently stable and we'll continue praying and supporting him, Bryan and their family because that's what we are - family.
We enter into the Christmas season humbled and with purpose. On the Monday evening before Thanksgiving, we had the honor of serving and worshiping with our friends at Refuge Fellowship, a church for the homeless and for those with desperate needs in the OKC area. This experience served not only as a powerful reminder of our many blessings, it also ignited a fire inside us to make a difference in the lives of those who are not as fortunate. Starting Sunday, December 4th, our children's program, S+Kids, is launching our first annual "We Can!" Holiday Food Drive Challenge. Throughout the month of December, we will try to collect enough cans of food and non-perishables to fill our Worship Leader's pick-up truck bed so that in early January we can distribute these items to families in need within the Santa Fe South community.
This holiday season, our approach to service is that goodness is contagious. From simple beginnings, a single good deed can grow, transform, inspire, and spread like wildfire. A kind word, a hot meal, a prayer - simple acts of kindness such as these can truly change lives, including the lives of those performing those acts.