Oklahoma church creates Native American ministry

Oklahoma church creates Native American ministry

by
Daniel Sperry for Nazarene News
| 18 Jan 2024
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Choctaw prayer

As part of Native American Heritage Month last November, Faith Community Church of the Nazarene in Poteau, Oklahoma, has launched a new Native American ministry program. 

The program started with an Indian taco fellowship meal followed by a worship service that included local Choctaw princesses performing the Lord’s Prayer, the singing of Choctaw hymns, and a special message on bringing hope, love, and unity to all people regardless of their background or circumstances.

In Poteau, the second largest demographic is the Native American population. The idea for the services came from Lead Pastor Michael Davidson’s youngest daughter, Micah, who is an ambassador and princess for their district within the Choctaw Nation. As part of this role, her platform has been to help preserve Choctaw culture. 

“As an ambassador for the Choctaw Nation, this new ministry has been a dream of mine for a long time and is a big part of my efforts to share and spread our culture and heritage with others,” Micah said. “I hope it can be used to reach people in our community that may not be reached by traditional church services or activities.”

The feedback from those who regularly attend Faith Community was positive, according to Micah. Having led the church in the Lord’s Prayer in the Choctaw language before, Micah knew the church was aware of the Choctaw culture. But putting together a whole service was a completely different experience.

“Bringing a Native American church service where they could actually see the hymns we sing and even the translation into the Native American Bible, they really liked it,” Micah said.

Michael said there were over 70 people present in the first meeting, which was held during a Sunday evening service. In his opinion, one of the most powerful things about the service was hearing the songs and hymns being sung in multiple languages simultaneously.

“It shows that when the church is willing to think outside the box of normal church activities, we can see great results for God’s kingdom,” Michael said.

The Native American ministry at Faith Community plans to have monthly worship and fellowship services starting in January in addition to other activities such as cultural events, Choctaw hymn lessons, and a missions trip to a reservation in the southwest U.S. Micah said she hopes to begin to involve other tribes locally in the fellowship gatherings.

Michael hopes this can be a way for the church to continue integrating itself within the community. 

“This is our second largest demographic in our community, so how do we reach them?” Michael asked. “I think we saw some people here that came to the Native American service and probably wouldn’t have come to a traditional church service. So for us, it’s just infusing the community and doing what we can to reach the different groups of people in the community.”

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