Tulsa Church Worships In Parking Lot After Building Fire

Sunday, July 28th 2019, 11:46 pm
By: News On 6

A Tulsa church is keeping the faith after a fire swept through its building.

Memorial Drive Church of Christ met Sunday in a parking lot – just feet from their scorched sanctuary.

Flames moved through the church building early Wednesday morning.

Now, the congregation is taking time to give thanks as members wait to see what’s next.

News On 6’s Mallory Thomas was at the service where the faithful were reminded the church is more than a building.

You didn't have to be inside the walls of Memorial Drive Church of Christ Sunday morning to understand the powerful message behind their t-shirts.

"It's a song that we sing here at church, and I was like, wow," said one churchgoer.  

‘Into the darkness you shine.  Out of the ashes we rise.’  Those eleven words mean everything to this congregation today.  It's the same words Worship Minister Shane Coffman said after hearing about the fire that destroyed part of his church.

"This is where my heart is and I need to be with my people," said Coffman.

Coffman was in the middle of an eight-week sabbatical when he heard the news.

"You can look and see the heart of this church is not effected.  We're not overwhelmed by grief," said Coffman.

Sunday's service outside was an important reminder that the church is more than just a building, and a teachable moment for the younger members.

"It's hard for the children to really understand what has truly happened," said Stephanie Wills, children’s minister.

The church is using the fire to teach the new generation. Wills helped the kids write thank you cards to the first responders who came out Wednesday.

"Just showing what can we do – that's small examples for them of a cheerful giver," she said.  

16:05:06:23 - 16:05:13:22 Stephanie: "Even though the building is gone, we're still here as a church."

Staff members say this is the only service they'll hold outside as repairs are being made to the building.

They're still working to settle on a long-term meeting spot but say other congregations have offered their buildings.