Knowing there is no part of our stories that God wastes, the vision for Oaks Church began long before any of us were even followers of Jesus. Growing up in diverse communities, the leadership and many of the members of Oaks Church experienced life in a multi-ethnic, multi-generational expression. And yet the segregation of peoples and generations on Sunday mornings was far too prevalent in the South where many of us grew up.
As God began to draw us to himself through the grace found in Jesus, he also began to set in our hearts a desire to experience the fullness of what it means to truly be ‘one’ church (Ephesians 4:1-16), but particularly as it is described how it will be in eternity, consisting of peoples from every tribe, tongue and nation (Revelation 7:9-10).
In God’s providence, Larry Lyon and Josh Reed were trained and sent out from North Wake Church in Wake Forest, NC to Raleigh, NC in 2013 to plant Oaks Church Raleigh. Forbes Magazine recently cited Raleigh as the fastest growing city in America for both adults, senior adults and children. It is a favorite relocation area for those leaving the declining population centers in the northeast United States as the area is surrounded by business growth in Research Triangle Park and numerous universities and colleges. For these reasons, Raleigh is also a magnet for international population segments of all ages (students, employees, and refugees). While Raleigh is not considered an “urban center,” it is an expanding multi-cultural, multi-national, multi-generational city with no sign of slowing down in the near future.
Our desire from the beginning is to be a church of the nations, to the nations, where each member, community group and new work magnifies the Lord in all of life, matures unto Christlikeness and multiplies over and over again. We consider this to be ‘normal Christianity,’ the appropriate response to what God has done for us and our salvation in and through the person and work of Jesus.
We desire to be a thumbprint of our city. With 6 nations represented in our current expression and over 25% not considered “majority culture,” we continue to pursue the vision the Lord has instilled in us from the beginning. Our goal is to be radically invasive in our city, leaving no neighborhood, no apartment complex, no business center Gospel impoverished (Romans 15:23), but to fill our city with the Gospel of Jesus (Acts 5:28) and to spread that message in our region, state, nation and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).