EDMOND — A downtown Oklahoma City megachurch is set to open its first suburban satellite on Sunday.
St. Luke’s United Methodist, 222 NW 15, is leasing Edmond’s Sequoyah Middle School for worship services that will start at 11 a.m. Sunday. However, the Rev. Bob Long, St. Luke’s longtime senior pastor, said the school is only a temporary site because the church has purchased land for a permanent satellite site on Interstate 35, near Second Street.
Long said the satellite will have a campus pastor, the Rev. Josh Attaway. Long’s sermon at the downtown church’s 8:30 a.m. services will be shown during the weekly services at the satellite. Long said the satellite will offer programs for children and youth, as well.
Long said St. Luke’s has been the fastest growing United Methodist church in Oklahoma for the last three years. With about 7,000 members, the church is one of the largest congregations in the metro and one of the largest United Methodist congregations in the state. Asbury United Methodist Church in Tulsa is the largest United Methodist congregation in Oklahoma.
He said church leadership began researching the idea of an Edmond satellite campus after realizing that many St. Luke’s members live in the suburb. Long said more and more Edmond area families were telling him and other staff members that they were finding it increasingly difficult to make the drive to downtown Oklahoma City to attend Sunday services and church activities during the week because of family obligations and the distance between their homes and the church.
Long said about the same time, he attended Church of the Resurrection United Methodist Church in Kansas City, Kan., an 18,000-member church that is one of the nation’s largest United Methodist churches. Long said he was impressed with that church’s multi-site approach and began to see that such a model could work for his own Methodist congregation in Oklahoma.
The minister said he was already familar with the multi-site experience in some ways, having watched a former United Methodist preacher — LifeChurch.tv’s Craig Groeschel — achieve success with the model. LifeChurch.tv has eight campuses in the Oklahoma City metro and one being constructed near Britton Road and the Broadway Extension. The megachurch also has other campuses in other areas of the state and in other states.
Long said LifeChurch.tv campus pastors have been extremely helpful to him and his staff as they move forward to the inaugural service.
Other churches in the metro with satellite sites, besides LifeChurch.tv, include: Victory Church, People’s Church, Church of the Harvest and First Baptist Church of Edmond.
Long said Methodists in Oklahoma haven’t experimented with the multi-site approach thus far.
He said St. Luke’s has taken two struggling inner-city churches, Asbury United Methodist at 1320 SW 38 and Fuenta de Vida, 5801 S Pennsylvania, as mission churches to help revive them. He said his sermons are shown at Asbury each week, but Fuenta de Vida has a campus pastor that delivers a weekly sermon in Spanish due to the predominantly Hispanic congregation.
Long said the Edmond satellite will be the church’s first suburban satellite and the church eventually may expand to rural Oklahoma.
He said today’s technology makes such expansion possible and he would like to see more churches take advantage of it.
“We hope to experiment with all of these and see what new things can the Methodist church start doing to be more effective,” Long said.
St. Luke’s Edmond
•When: 11 a.m. Sunday.