Forty-nine years, 604 students weekly and over 10,360 hours serving Tulsa is only a small glimpse at the impact of the ORU Outreach teams that infiltrate the streets, homes and organizations with Christ’s light and a desire to meet practical needs.
In 1976, Chancellor Oral Roberts established the ORU Missions and Outreach program to provide opportunities for students to show their concern for humanity and take an active part in bringing “healing to man in the totality of his needs.”
“There are so many in Tulsa that need the hope that we have,” said Bobby Parks, director of missions and outreach. “And all it takes is making ourselves available, even if it’s just a couple hours a month encouraging a child who doesn’t have a positive influence in their life.”
This year, three new outreaches are available to students. Tulsa Hills Youth Ranch allows students, faculty and staff to develop a mentoring relationship with a child between the ages of six and 17. Located in an authentic farm environment, the outreach requires a background check and two hours of mentoring per week. Volunteers can also provide other duties to the ranch like gardening, horse care and technical support.
Project Manna is a ministry started by an ORU graduate in 2013 which connects with a small group of teenage girls who have been through the foster care system. With around 500 children aging out of the foster care system every year, Project Manna helps these young women to adapt to a loving community and life of stability.
Located at 61st Street and Peoria Avenue, the South Tulsa Community House works to restore self-sufficiency to individuals and families seeking empowerment. The non-profit social service agency assists local residents in food and transportation, GED education, computer job search and resume preparation. The South Tulsa Community House’s motto is “Help a Little, Empower a Lot.”
If students don’t have time for a weekly outreach, Parks said there are also opportunities to serve online through LifeChurch.tv from the comfort of their dorm room.
“Five years from now we hope to continue to be a consistent answer to prayer, providing laborers into the harvest field here in Tulsa, strengthening the longterm work of the local church and Kingdom-minded organizations around the world.”
Outreaches began serving Monday, but it’s never too late to sign up. Visit oruoutreach.com to learn more about the 15 different outreaches ORU offers and to become involved.
“Through [outreach] you fall in love with the church all over again,” said Briauna Hoyt, student and volunteer at Thursday Night Lights, an outreach that serves Tulsa’s homeless families. “It marks your heart and the way you see the world. It forever changes the way you love the world.”