Rural America Ministries Reports Good Work in Yale, Oklahoma
by: Stafford North | July 11, 2018
Rural America Ministries seeks to assist small churches of Christ in rural areas. They bring interns to work there in the summers and the director of the program, Jim Weaver, comes to spend time there. He looks for what steps will help the congregation turn to growth instead of decline. One of the congregations he is working with is the Yale Church of Christ. Yale is twenty miles east of Stillwater, OK with a town population of 1,200 and a school district serving over 3,000. The Yale church recently partnered with R.A.M. in an effort to better equip themselves for their mission and to help them identify the right individual(s) to work with them to bring the grace and truth of Jesus to their community. Already they are beginning to expand their influence for the Kingdom and draw people to Christ while meeting their physical, and ultimately spiritual needs by sharing His word and serving with compassion.
The congregation averages about thirty five on Sunday mornings, but during a recent Super Sunday worship service had sixty-five in attendance! More important than Sunday attendance, the transformation of this congregation is best reflected in how they have begun to share the gospel in their daily conversations and interactions with their neighbors during the rest of the week. They are increasingly becoming the redemptive body of Christ in their community and witnessing the power of God in their lives as they keep in step with His Spirit.
This summer, the Yale congregation held a Vacation Bible School with the aid of volunteers from the Memorial Road Church of Christ in Oklahoma City. Over forty attended not only blessing the lives of the children who attended and their families, but also giving the congregation both encouragement and opportunities.
Weaver preaches for the church on Sundays and stays on through Monday to make contacts with people in town, often in a coffee shop. He reported, “In the past 5 months since I have had the privilege of working with the Yale Church of Christ I have witnessed God’s activity on several occasions and in significant ways”.
Weaver provided the following information about one of those cases. “Pat is a master carpenter. I think Jesus would be impressed with the cabinets Pat can build and the homes he can frame. But I think Jesus is especially proud of the transformation Pat has recently modeled to his church family and the community where he grew up. You see, just a few years ago Pat had a thriving construction and remodeling business in Yale and the surrounding area. He had more work than he could stay up with so he decided to take a little something to help him keep up with all the work he had. That little something turned into an addiction that ultimately cost him his business and nearly his life. For too long Pat shrugged off his addiction as something he could handle. But when he hit rock bottom he knew he had to change and he remembered the influence of his grandmother when he was a young boy. It was his grandmother who took him with her to church services. It was the love of God and the forgiveness of Christ for sinners that rolled over him in his hour of desperation and with that memory and conviction he took a long-delayed step of faith and was baptized into Christ. What’s happened since then is evidence that the Father ‘is always at His work to this very day.’
“Pat would be the first to tell you he’s not perfect. But he will also tell you he is eager to be ‘perfected.’ Pat is always ready to try. When I started a weekly evangelistic Bible study for the community, Pat was my right-hand man in promoting it. He’d never been a part of such a study before and he didn’t know exactly what to expect, but he invited a number of his friends and acquaintances expecting them all to show up. None of them did. But this did not deter Pat. Within just a few weeks, one of those friends he had previously invited started coming to worship services with him. Pat offered him an opportunity to help him with some of his jobs he was gradually acquiring again. Just a few weeks ago, Pat, myself and another brother in the church began studying the Bible with this friend. It has reminded me again that God is always working, especially in the almost forgotten and often over-looked mission field of rural America; the Father’s workshop just down the road.”