BY BILL SHERMAN World Religion Writer
Saturday, December 19, 2009
12/19/09 at 5:35 AM
The leadership of Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian approved plans Tuesday to build Kirk Crossing, a satellite church in Jenks.
"We've had a dream since 1992 to start a new church," said co-pastor Wayne Hardy. "We're really excited about it."
Unlike a traditional church plant, in which one church starts another church that eventually will be independent, Kirk Crossing will remain part of Kirk of the Hills, a prominent south Tulsa church.
"We're calling it one church in two locations," said Hardy, who will be the lead pastor at the new location.
The satellite church concept is catching on across the United States. It offers a less expensive way for a church to expand its influence into another community. First Baptist Church downtown recently announced they were establishing a satellite campus in Sand Springs.
"It's a wonderful trend. It's working," Hardy said.
Kirk Crossing will be located on U.S. 75 between 111th and 121st Street on part of 80 acres that the church owns.
The church will have a strong emphasis on young families and children, Hardy said. Worship will be contemporary, and preaching will be live, not by video as in some satellite churches.
Plans call for a $7 million to $9 million building with a 500-seat worship center, a large children's area, and combination lobby/coffee shop area.
Part of the 80-acre site will be sold to retail businesses to form a community of which the church will be a part.
"It's kind of the old-style of church as the center of the community," Hardy said.
Neighborhoods are springing up all around that area, he said.
The church's outdoor recreation fields and building will be available for community use.
Church leaders have met with civic leaders and participated in parades and other community events.
"We recently held two events out on the property, and had a wonderful turnout from the residents in that area. They are as excited as we are to provide them a place where they can get to know their neighbors, and most importantly, hear the word of God on a regular basis," Hardy said.
Kirk of the Hills plans to raise funds beginning in January, and to begin services on Easter in a temporary location while the building is under construction.
"Many people would question why we should spend money developing a new congregation ... in difficult economic times," Hardy said.
"All we can say in response is that as believers in Jesus Christ, we are called to spread the word throughout the world and even here in our own backyard.
"After much prayer and consideration, this is the direction we feel God is directing us to go. There is never an ideal time to build a new congregation, and we are called to make sacrifices and give back to God as he directs and encourages us to," he said.
Investors in the church bought the 80-acre parcel in 2007 when Kirk of the Hills was in a court battle to keep their property, and was facing possible relocation.
The church earlier left the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. over concerns that the denomination was drifting from its biblical foundation, and then sued the denomination to retain its property at 4102 E. 61st St. When they lost the suit, they reached an agreement to buy back the property from the denomination.
The church has since joined the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, a smaller, more conservative denomination.
Bill Sherman 581-8398
The Revs. Tom Gray (left) and Wayne Hardy, co-pastors of the Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian, pose in the sanctuary of the church. They are planning a satellite church in Jenks at which Hardy will be the lead pastor. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World file