It’s been almost 3 years since I’ve called Oak Leaf my home and in those 3 years God has shown me a lot. Oak Leaf was a step beyond normal, or normal to Cartersville’s standards. Normal being you went to church for Sunday school first and then service, you dressed in your “Sunday best”, you sat on padded pews, sang from hymnals with the direction of a choir, your pastor preached from a pulpit(usually in a suit) and then you all stood around afterward and “fellowshiped”. Now I’m not saying anything is wrong with all that. It’s all perfectly fine. That’s just not how it’s done at Oak Leaf. I remember when I first started hearing about Oak Leaf. Mainly it was through the signs they placed along the roads. As I saw them, I got more curious. I checked them out online and quickly made up my mind to visit. My dear friend Nikki joined me that morning. We walked in, found out that Limelight was taking place, hung out for that then drove across town to make it for the sermon at our other church. This became our Sunday morning routine. Early service at Oak Leaf then race across town in time for the other service at the other church. I was getting tired of this, we did it almost all summer. I wanted to serve, be connected, I felt Oak Leaf was where I was suppose to be, but how do I break the news to the other church? Well I decided one Sunday evening that it was going to be my last. I told a few friends and one loving adult who encouraged me and said I was doing right. The next Sunday I signed up to volunteer with the kids and my life has never been the same since.
Since being at Oak Leaf I’ve realized that being a Christian isn’t about what you look like it’s about who you act like. It’s about the fruit of your spirit and the life you live. So what if I wear jeans and a teeshirt to church? So what if the person next to me has a tattoo on the arm that they are lifting up to Jesus? It’s a heart matter. I love our motto- Leading People from where THEY are to where GOD wants them to be. It’s not about where we want them to be. It’s about where God wants them.
While at Oak Leaf, I’ve seen kids I’ve teach come to accept Christ and be baptized. I’ve seen my best friend’s mom who we had prayed for several years step foot into a church, accept Christ,and be baptized. I’ve seen men and women dedicate their time to a church just so one person could be saved. I’ve seen people turn from their old ways. I saw myself, turn from a life of sin,darkness,confusion,pain,and torment to a life of joy,peace,forgiveness,light,and salvation. I’ve seen people give away their shoes so that someone else may have them and possibly one day know the love of Jesus. I myself and many more decided to sponsor a child so that they can experience the love of God. I’ve seen eggs fall from the sky 3 times, each time bringing more people in from the community, to show them that Oak Leaf cares.I’ve seen baptisms in rivers,lakes, pools, and weird tubs on wheels. I’ve watched services while sitting in my room 300 miles away.
My church may do things a little differently. We may be looked down upon because we don’t have a steeple and we meet in an old bar. But I love my church and it’s mission to show everyone the saving and loving power of Christ Jesus. Jesus didn’t say that you have to have padded pews, hymnals,pulpits,and a choir. He said”where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” So does it matter that i wear jeans, the lady next to me is dressed up, and the person on the end just walked in off the streets? NO. Because we are gathered in the name of Christ. We may be bold. But we’re bold for Him so that people will know God.
I’ve been at Oak Leaf for almost 3 years and even though now my time is very short there because I am in school 300 miles away, I know that I am still connected to a church that wants to see the lost of Cartersville saved.