This is the idea behind a new type of worship experience Oakland Baptist Church is offering.
Oakland is hosting this new experience at 10:30 a.m. every Sunday morning at Tishomingo County High School.
Bro. Dyer Harbor, OBC Associate Pastor and Campus Pastor at the TCHS location, said, “The bottom line is that we’re reaching out to folks who will not come to a traditional church setting for one reason or another. We want to provide a non-traditional church setting where they will feel loved and welcomed.”
Harbor said they offer child care and “a very energetic” kid’s worship for ages K-4th grade with singing and teaching.
“One kid was crying because he didn’t want to leave,” said Harbor with a chuckle. “That’s what we want to see.”
Regular worship includes a live worship band. Everything is live up to the preaching — that is done via internet where they join in with the message Bro. Randy Bostick preaches on the main campus.
A lot of thought, research and footwork went into the decision as to how they would format their services and where they would locate their second campus for this outreach, Harbor said.
He said back in the middle of spring, OBC members went in groups to visit some other churches who are hosting services at non-traditional locations.
“We put a lot of legwork into it just trying to learn what works and help our folks get a vision of what we wanted,” said the pastor.
When it came down to choosing a site for their second location, they really liked the TCHS facilities and went through all the channels with the school board to lease the facility on Sunday mornings. The pastor explained that the school can lease to anyone such as wild game suppers, Boy Scouts or in this case, a church.
After four practice runs (soft launches), and no idea how many would come, OBC held its inaugural service at the TCHS campus last Sunday with a little over 300 in attendance, with about a 100 of those being regular OBC members.
“We were really tickled. I’m sure there were some folks who just came to see what it was about, but we had a lot of comments that people felt welcome and we were grateful for those kind of comments,” said Harbor.
The pastor stressed that the surrounding communities have great churches and their goal is not to take anything away from those congregations.
“We want to try to reach those folks who are just not coming to a traditional church but might join in with a relaxed, non-traditional location. I know of one that meets in a zoo in Cincinnati,” said Harbor.
He said when he arrived in the Crossroads area in 1998, there were two of these types of multi-sites in the U.S. and now there are 4,000. Of that number, there are eight-million who attend those sites.
“This is how we’re looking at it at Oakland — it’s one church with two locations,” he said.
(For more information about Oakland at TCHS - checkout their Facebook page at Oakland at Tishomingo County High or follow them on Twitter @oaklandatTCHS.)