Our Home at Southpark

By Devin Swank, Partnership Coordinator

With the summer now here I wanted to highlight a very important partnership we have with our church home in Oklahoma. Southpark Baptist Church has been home to the Next Step Oklahomies for over 3 years now. We have grown on them year by year as we continue to do missions in their neighborhoods. For me, this church was far more than a home during the summer, but rather a place where I met some amazing people. People who would take me in if I needed a place to stay, and people who would even buy me a meal out of the kindness of their heart. And it wasn’t just me they were doing this for. In Oklahoma, hospitality runs deep and people here know how to take care of one another. This led me to think about what long-term partnership with a church can look like.

Over each summer as relationships grow stronger, we see more and more collaborative efforts to make not only the church grow stronger but also the community around it. New resources become available when multiple groups collaborate. A great example of this is the shower trailer that was built last year. While its main purpose was to service the Next Step trips during the summer, it has allowed Southpark to also offer shower services to those in need during disasters. Without a partnership that shower trailer wouldn’t have been built and that resource would have been missed in the community.

As the first group of students arrive I can already see the benefit of being anchored in a church partnership. The church is responsive and devoted to praying for our needs as a ministry. When that happens, it makes both a new staff team and a new student group feel welcomed and surrounded by people that already care for them. That’s the job of the church right? To come alongside and love on people, and here at Southpark that gets done everyday. It is a blessing to stay at a facility that is equipping us well to do the work God has shown us to do. I pray that every Next Step site¬†would have a church that surrounds, supports, and loves the work we do because without them, a site is not a home.