Youths participating in an Oklahoma City church conference recently put the concept of servanthood into practice.
North Church's Love OKC Conference was held Sunday through Wednesday at 1601 W Memorial Road.
As part of the conference, middle and high school students from Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Texas spread out into several metro area neighborhoods in the 73114 and 73106 ZIP codes to paint homes. Callie Settles, North Church administrative assistant, said the students had a goal of painting 21 houses in three days. The painting and some general lawn care were done during the day and the youths met for leadership conference sessions in the evening.
She said North Church's Love OKC nonprofit youth leadership organization is patterned after the Sulphur Springs Work Camp, a project with the same concept that was started in Sulphur Springs, Texas. Settles said the work camp project was started by Brian Cromer, who now serves as executive director of students and production at North Church.
Settles said the Love OKC project gave students an opportunity to help close to home.
“We want to focus on our city and love our city as much as we do other people,” she said.
Chris Rathbone, a youth pastor from Eastland Assembly of God Church, said about 13 youths from his Tulsa church participated in the effort.
“I liked the fact that we would be working in the community and that this is also attached to a leadership conference for my youths,” Rathbone said.
Halie Pultz, 16, of Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, said she attended the work camp in Sulphur Springs and decided to be part of the Oklahoma project.
“I was excited to see how God would work,” she said. “It's a lot of hard work but it is definitely worth it.”
D'Arrus Williams, 18, of North Church, agreed.
“I actually just like helping people without them having to ask,” he said.
Settles said she and other adults who worked alongside the youths were pleased with the positive attitudes and work ethic displayed by the students.
“It is so cool to see the students serving and going after God,” she said.