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Tulsa workshop will go on, director assures attendees


TULSA, Okla. — The Tulsa International Soul Winning Workshop will return in 2009, 2010 and every year after that until the Holy Spirit indicates it’s time to stop, workshop director Terry Rush said.
Rush, minister for the Memorial Drive church, assured attendees that the annual, three-day workshop has a bright future, despite the recent decision of the Garnett church to step back from its role as the workshop’s co-sponsor.
Since 1976, the two Tulsa congregations have directed the workshop, which brought about 8,000 attendees to the city’s fairgrounds this spring, Rush said.
But in recent years a decline in membership at the Garnett church has left the congregation without the manpower and resources to oversee the event. Garnett members will continue to attend and support the workshop, minister Wade Hodges said. After much discussion and prayer, Memorial Drive’s elders agreed to take full responsibility for the workshop.
“Letting go of the workshop was a relatively easy decision to make because we know that we are leaving it in good hands,” Hodges said.
Other Tulsa-area churches, including the Park Plaza congregation, have  pledged finances and resources to help the workshop continue. The workshop, which is free to attend, costs about $170,000 per year, Rush said. Contributions collected at the workshop’s nightly assemblies cover less than 25 percent of that cost.
Some additional funds come from sales of booth space for exhibitors and advertising in the workshop’s program.
To provide for the workshop’s future, a new team of ministers will oversee the event, Rush said. Shane Coffman, Jason Thornton and Bobby Smith, Memorial Drive’s worship, involvement and youth ministers, respectively, will take the workshop’s reigns in 2010.
Following in the footsteps of the event’s founders is “a huge faith move,” said Smith, who grew up in southwest Missouri and has attended the workshop since childhood.
At a session titled “The Future Direction of the Workshop,” Rush also discussed the workshop’s practice of inviting speakers from outside Churches of Christ. The minister stressed that the direction of the workshop is “toward Jesus — not toward the church.”
To that end, workshop coordinators will continue to invite speakers that will inspire attendees to win souls for Christ, he said.
“You are smart enough to sort out the things that are valuable to you and discard the rest,” Rush said.

Filed under: National

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