OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (BP)--It's the Christmas story like you've never seen it before.
All the participants are meticulously dressed in Native American regalia. Tribal chiefs portray the Wise Men. The shepherds who come to worship the Christ child are seen as hunters.
Across the packed auditorium at Glorieta Baptist Church, members and guests watch as "A Native American Christmas Story" unfolds.
This is one of the more popular outreach activities at Glorieta Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, Okla., a 350-member congregation that is 90 percent Native American.
The church conducts a wide range of activities to engage its community and mature people in Christ, says Emerson Falls, who grew up just a few miles from the church and this past fall was elected president of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.
But of all the initiatives the church undertakes, Falls says the most important thing they do is pray. Like many other churches, the Wednesday night schedule begins with a meal, but then the rest of the evening focuses entirely on prayer.
"Whatever we do comes out of a dynamic relationship to God," Falls says. "We encourage members to read Scripture daily and keep a journal of what God is saying to them. We have to be connected with God before we can do anything."
One of the major changes the Lord led the church to make since Falls became pastor five years ago was to move its Sunday evening service to 2 p.m. and change it from a time of worship to a focus on discipleship training. That helped them involve more church families, many of whom travel to the church from all over the metropolitan area.
Falls tries to use the afternoon session to equip members for witness and ministry.
"We recently did Becoming Contagious Christians, and we revisited Experiencing God," Falls says. "We also train our people in the 'Roman Road' plan of salvation once a year."
But the church also works to get people in the pew so they can hear the Gospel.
"The No. 1 reason people come to church is because they know someone," Falls says. "Therefore, our outreach tends to be relational."
Toward that end, the church launched "Give Friday Nights to Jesus," a non-threatening social time -- a cook-out, game night or other event -- where unchurched people are special guests. Read More