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Leadership JournalAs the kingdom advances, where are we going?
Winter 2005

FREE ARTICLE PREVIEW

 ARTICLE TOOLS

Planes, Chains, and Automobiles
These churches take innovation to extremes.

Drop zone church

Former Green Beret Steve Phelps is a cartoonist, biker, and also a skydiver and pastor of The Rock Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. At times Steve combines the latter passions and offers a worship gathering that meets somewhere between heaven and earth.

The idea developed as Steve befriended skydivers at the drop zone outside the city. The owner of the drop zone became a believer, and the other jumpers seemed receptive. "They always said, 'If I ever went to church, I'd go to your church.' But they never came." So Steve, with the help of the drop zone's owner, decided to bring the church to them.

The Rock Church started meeting in the airplane hanger at the site about fifteen miles north of Tulsa, and on several occasions, Steve literally drops in. "It's like the opening of the Super Bowl when a skydiver lands in the stadium with the football. I landed with the Bible. The church thought it was really cool."

The event attracted many visitors and about forty skydivers, some who have now become regular attenders. Was anyone shocked by the stunt? "Not anyone who knows me. But I'm sure some of the more traditional churches in town didn't like it." The church plans to conduct the skydiving service at least once a year. "We've set out to make ourselves different. To reach those who aren't comfortable in a conventional church," Steve says.

To reach the Harley Davidson crowd, Phelps organized a motorcycle poker run—a kind of scavenger hunt on hogs. Each biker rode to five locations to receive a playing card from church members. The final card was presented at the church, along with a prize for the best hand. A party followed, along with a brief message from Steve and an invitation to return to the church Sunday morning ...



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