Rance Rushing felt the boy hug tighter and sniffle tears as he concluded his prayer with a word from God. The boy ran a few feet away before the prayer even ended, too overwhelmed to compose himself. His heart moved, Rushing approached the boy again and began an intentional friendship.
Rushing, a junior majoring in Business Administration, is one of team leaders of a group of volunteers for DC “Super Saturday” at the Tulsa Dream Center (TDC). Pastor Billy Joe Daugherty and Sharon Daugherty founded the TDC in 1999 because they had hearts to see people find God’s love for them. Serving the community of Tulsa with food, clothing, medical assistance, educational and recreational services, they reach people in need throughout the city. DC “Super Saturday” is a children’s service offered to ages five to 12 years old.
Oral Roberts University’s Missions and Outreach department sends an outreach team to the center every Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ORU volunteers carpool to the TDC with expectations of impacting kids’ lives, according to Rushing. The college students serve the children breakfast and lunch at the center and lead engaging activities in between.
“We want them to succeed and we want them to know that Jesus loves them, and because of Jesus, we are able to offer them love as well,” said the head team leader, Shelby Baker, a sophomore majoring in Social Work. “We’ve surrendered our time to Jesus and said ‘use me,’ and we go to the Tulsa Dream Center and play and laugh and fellowship and pray.”
The outreach team prays and assigns roles before each Saturday event in preparation for the day, and each student is given opportunities to impact the kids. The team of students helps facilitate outdoor and indoor games, indoor inflatables and chapel services. Their main focus is the word of God and pouring into the children during the chapel services.
“Missions is not about being a body that shows up. It is about being present and intentional,” Rushing said.
The first day of outreach, Rushing and his team held an altar call at the end of the chapel service, and a number of kids came forward. Rushing prayed with a boy whom he had played basketball with an hour before. The prayer was simple, but toward the end, Rushing received a word from God for the boy. At God’s touch, the boy’s walls broke down, allowing for Rushing to continue building a relationship with him through playing outdoor games and praying for his needs.
“ORU students bring a different perspective to the Tulsa Dream Center and the North Tulsa community. It’s encouraging to have an intentional conversation with someone who believes in your future, and that’s what ORU students do for our community. They bring hope, light, dreams and peace,” said Aaron Johnson, Executive Director of the Tulsa Dream Center.
The volunteers sacrifice their Saturday mornings with the expectation that God will bring restoration to the lives of kids through the way they pour into them. Baker believes that sharing the gospel is as simple as being intentional and genuine when she is building relationships with the children.
“There is no place I would rather spend my morning than the Tulsa Dream Center,” said Baker.
Student volunteers are not required to attend every Saturday outreach, making it flexible for those with busy schedules. The leaders challenge fellow ORU students to dedicate a Saturday morning to the children at TDC who are searching for godly mentorship. When students go with eager hearts to pour out God’s love, they open the door for God to work in the children.