Beyond the walls

Members of eight local places of faith take their desire to serve the community outside the walls of their buildings, creating innovative and effective programs that help everyone from children and youth to the homeless to the unemployed.



(page 1 of 4)

A vision beyond church walls

Greater Cornerstone Baptist Church

Pastor Willard Jones knew he faced some challenges when he became pastor of Greater Cornerstone Baptist Church in 1996. Located in the South Haven area of west Tulsa, the small church existed in the midst of decline and poverty.

“This was an impoverished area with drug dealers and gang bangers taking over the streets,” says Jones, a pastor’s son whose career included stints as an educator and businessman.

Fortunately, a few years later, South Haven got a lot of help when law enforcement began a decisive battle against crime. With the streets largely swept clean, Jones realized that there was a window of opportunity to transform the area before it slid back into trouble.

“At that point, we were faced with the question of, what is the church going to do for the people of this area?” Jones says. “What kind of hope could we give? So, rather than move out of the community, we decided to make it better.”

About six years ago, the idea arose of what will soon become The Greater Cornerstone Community Center (a formal name is yet to be decided).
Phil Taylor, a friend of Jones and pastor of west Tulsa’s Carbondale Assembly of God, remembers how Jones and others prayed about the project.

“We would pray together that there would be community transformation for that area and all of west Tulsa,” Taylor says. “We wanted to see it turn around and that God would intervene in a powerful way. I think we’re seeing an answer to those prayers now.”

That answer may well be the $7.2 million center, which is expected to open next June, offering South Haven’s low-income residents a wide range of services and recreation. The facility will house branches of Domestic Violence Intervention Services, Family & Children’s Services, Goodwill Industries of Tulsa and others.

“It’s going to be a one-stop shop,” Jones says. “We provide the space for these agencies to do what they do best. The people need them. We’re talking about an area where 20 percent of households live in poverty with an annual income of $12,000 to $14,000. That’s poverty.”

Jones and his church of several hundred members led the charge for the 20,000-square-foot center, acquiring funding from foundations, corporations, other churches and individuals.

The motivation for Jones and Greater Cornerstone is simple.

“God is love, and you can’t confine the love of God to (being inside) church,” he says. “You’ve got to take it out to people. People want to see a sermon, not just hear a sermon, and I believe that is what we’re doing here. That is our rule and our charge, to go beyond the walls of the church.”

Groceries fill the hunger gap

Guts Church

When members of Guts Church heard that Oklahoma is one of the hungriest and most food-insecure states in the nation (fourth in the number of people who are “very low food insecure,” according to the USDA), they knew they had to do something about it.

“We looked at the stats and thought we ought to be doing something about it,” says Taylor Scheer, son of church founders and lead pastors Bill and Sandy Scheer.

With more than 5,000 members, Guts responded in September 2010 with a program simply called Friday Groceries. Every Friday, needy Tulsans line up by the hundreds in front of the church’s distribution center off the Broken Arrow Expressway near Memorial Drive.

There they receive enough food to provide a family of four with three meals for four days. Scheer says that about 1,000 families receive assistance through Friday Groceries each week. In addition to food, they can get gently used clothing, furniture, toys and household items from the Guts church thrift store for minimal prices, and they can dine on a free lunch while they are there.

That’s what Adrian Martinez; his wife, Mindy; and their three children were doing after picking up their groceries.

Adrian Martinez was laid off from his job as a crate builder last year, and his wife supports the family on her meager earnings as a warehouse worker.

“We’re so grateful for this,” Mindy Martinez says. “It takes a lot of weight off our shoulders since money is so tight.”

With breadwinners in many families having been laid off, while others are scraping by on a single low-wage job, Guts helps families get by until better times arrive.

“Meeting the needs of the working poor is a big issue,” Scheer says. “A lot of these people work, but it’s just not enough.”

About 20 to 30 volunteers from Guts (volunteers don’t have to be Guts members) help run Friday Groceries, and they strive to make it a positive and dignified experience for all who come. The church supports the program and food also comes from outside sources, such as the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.

“We want to give them hope,” Scheer says. “This is the kind of work the church should be doing. We want to fix the jaded perception of the religious church and just be here to help people.”

Saved by God to serve others

Antioch Baptist Church

The motto at north Tulsa’s Antioch Baptist Church is, “The church that triumphs.” The Rev. M.C. Potter knows that phrase is empty unless his church gets out and makes a difference in the surrounding community, which too often is marked by violence and other social problems.

“The reason we get involved is because we have so many concerns in our community, especially with our young people,” says Potter, who has served as Antioch’s pastor for 31 years. “We’ve got problems with teenage pregnancy, gangs, low grades, struggling family relations, so we have got to deal with that.”

One way the church deals with these problems is through its summer youth program, which began in 2003. The five-day-a-week program gives children and teens a safe and fun place to go, where participants can swim, try out karate and receive social and spiritual enrichment. But it’s far from just a place to fill kids’ time or keep them busy with recreation. With the help of tutors, the program is designed to give kids supplemental instruction in reading and math so they can return to school with their skills intact. Last year, during the program’s first summer, 204 children in the first through ninth grades attended the program.

The program aims to stimulate young people’s ambitions and dreams by taking participants to visit various professionals in the community, such as judges, who tell them how the legal system works; organizations, such as the Tulsa Gang Task Force, where they learn from experts about gang intervention; and the Tulsa Health Department to learn about health care, Potter says.

Potter admits that one of the challenges is changing the way some kids think.

“We’re trying to help them see beyond their own little world and that they need to make a contribution,” he says. “They can’t just live for themselves.”

Antioch, with a Sunday attendance of about 400, also provides ACT training for high school students and will help pay for the exams, which are key to college and university admission.

Church members are expected to give back in some way, Potter says.

“I ask each member to give two days of vacation to volunteer for the summer program,” says Potter, whose father, also a pastor, inspired him to be active in the community. “My dad set the precedent when I came back to Tulsa years ago, and he took me to Comanche Park Apartments to start a basketball program for the youths there.”

Since 1977, Antioch has continued to run a basketball ministry, seeking to steer teens away from gangs and other negative influences. On top of these outreaches, Antioch provides low-income students with school uniforms and other clothing and has adopted the Northgate community of north Tulsa to “provide whatever they need,” Potter says.

“I personally believe that when God saves you, he saves you from a particular concern, and now that you’ve been saved, you need to go and help save others,” Potter says. “I think that’s the way God set it up.”

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »You Might Like

Ultimate gifts

From Champagne to Scotch whisky, use these recommendations for holiday gift giving.

Universal appeal

The Ridge Grill

Table Talk: December 2011

The buzz on Tulsa’s tastiest products, restaurants and events.
Edit Module

Add your comment:

 

Get the best in arts, entertainment and more straight to your inbox.

Join our email list

Edit ModuleShow Tags

August 2019

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

Senior Star Round-Up - August 18 - Cain's Ballroom - 2 to 5 p.m. The annual Senior Star Round-Up is Sunday, August 18, at the Cain's Ballroom, 423 N. Main Street in Tulsa. This popular...

Cost: $10

Where:
Cain's Ballroom
423 N. Main St.
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Sponsor: Senior Star Living
Telephone: (918) 664-9000
Contact Name: Emily Fox

More information

BROKEN ARROW COMMUNITY PLAYHOUSE Presents “The Wizard of Oz” (R.S.C.1987) By L. Frank Baum With Music and Lyrics by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg Background Music by...

Cost: $22-$25

Where:
Broken Arrow Community Playhouse
1800 S Main St
Broken Arrow, OK  Broken Arrow
View map »


Sponsor: Broken Arrow Community Playhouse
Telephone: 918-258-0077
Contact Name: 74012
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

You're invited to our new store Grand Opening Celebration in Broken Arrow, August 21st for an all day event! As you know, this year marks our 30 year anniversary of serving business minded...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stow's Office Furniture
3604 S Elm Place
Broken Arrow, OK  74011
View map »

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Sign up now for the Tulsa Area United Way's 9th Annual Golf Scramble – a local tradition that pairs an enjoyable morning of golf with helping your community.

Cost: $400 per team

Where:
LaFortune Park Golf Course
5501 S Yale Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

  The biggest sporting event in history for Broken Arrow is set to happen on Friday, August 23rd. The event will take place outside in Downtown Broken Arrow near the intersection of...

Cost: $52.00

Where:
Downtown Broken Arrow
The intersection of Commercial and Main streets
Broken Arrow, OK
View map »


Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Wings, Wheels & Wishes is a fly-in, car and bike show benefitting the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Oklahoma in loving memory of Collinsville Wish Kid, Bill Campbell. Our event features vintage...

Cost: Free to the public

Where:
Airman Acres Airport
12600 N. 73rd E. Ave.
Collinsville, OK  74021
View map »


Telephone: 918-510-3423
Contact Name: Cindi Conner
Website »

More information

  Our 17th Annual CimTel Classic 5K is August 24, 2019! The registration begins at 6:30am and the race begins at 8am at Cleveland High School 600 N Gilbert Cleveland, OK. The entry fee is $25 for...

Cost: 25.00

Where:
Cleveland High School
600 N Gilbert
Cleveland, OK  74020
View map »


Sponsor: CimTel
Contact Name: Allee Pearson
Website »

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Maker Faire Tulsa is an award-winning, family-friendly event celebrating technology, education, science, arts, crafts, engineering, food, sustainability, and making of all kinds. The 7th...

Cost: Free

Where:
Central Park Hall at Expo Square
1701 S Sandusky Ave
Tulsa, OK  74112
View map »


Sponsor: Fab Lab Tulsa
Telephone: 918-779-6025
Contact Name: Nathan Pritchett
Website »

More information

Maker Faire Tulsa is an award-winning, family-friendly event celebrating technology, education, science, arts, crafts, engineering, food, sustainability, and making of all kinds. In 2019, Fab Lab...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Central Park Hall @ Expo Square
4145 East 21st Street
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »

More information

Bobby O’s Slices + Pies, located in the Meadow Gold District along Route 66, will host a day of meal deals, merchandise giveaways, and kids activities for their Back-to-School Bash. The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bobby O's
1502 E. 11th St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: Bobby O's
Telephone: 918-586-2455
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

America’s LARGEST interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa Broken Arrow! At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
View map »


Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
Website »

More information

DIVAS JUMP THE POND - THE BRITISH INVASION!! DIVAS 4 H.O.P.E. features live music from Tulsa’s diverse local artists along with cocktails, dinner, and one-of-a-kind live and silent auction...

Cost: $15,000 - $250

Where:
Assembly Hall - Cox Business Center
100 Civic Center
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: Health Outreach Prevention Education, Inc.
Telephone: 918-688-5022
Contact Name: Kathy L Williams
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

What's New


Oklahoma's Best-Sellers: Aug. 18

Based on total number of book sales at Magic City Books, Best of Books in Edmond, Brace Books and More in Ponca City, and Full Circle Bookstore in Oklahoma City.

Comments

How do you create affordable housing for all Tulsans?

Q&A with Becky Gligo, City of Tulsa's first housing policy director

Comments

Video: Onifade's Cookie Co.

Comments: 1

3:01: Higher Education - Dr. Leigh Goodson

Dr. Leigh Goodson, president and CEO of Tulsa Community College, on TCC's 50th anniversary, the Tulsa Achieves program and the importance of going to college in 2019.

Comments

Oklahoma's Best-Sellers

Based on total number of book sales at Magic City Books, Best of Books in Edmond, Brace Books and More in Ponca City, and Full Circle Bookstore in Oklahoma City.

Comments