Reaching the Lost in Kansas City

Cole Family

David and Chris Cole started Oak Tree Church in Kansas City, Missouri, 2.5 years ago. Mr. Cole shares that his church’s community is an area of great lostness. Over 20,000 people live within a 3-mile radius of the church, and more than 91% of these people are unchurched. Oak Tree is very focused on missions, and the Cole family leads the way in doing whatever it takes to reach everyone at every level in their community.

Mr. Cole says, “What I love most about what I do is seeing lives and families transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Mr. and Mrs. Cole do much more than teach about missions. They intentionally seek out opportunities for sharing the love of God with others. The Cole family demonstrates that missions is not just something you do in your spare time. They live out a holistic missional lifestyle. You could say that missions is written into the DNA of their family.

Mr. Cole works out at a local gym several times a week. As he strengthens himself physically, he looks for ways to strengthen others spiritually. He also works in a local coffee house several mornings a week. At the coffee shop, it is natural for people to talk to each other as they work and enjoy their coffee. The built-in community of the gym and the coffee shop afford Mr. Cole many opportunities to strike up conversations and develop relationships. He says that people often ask to meet again to further discuss questions about God and the Bible.

The Coles also have found the opportunity to minister through their 5 sons’ involvement in sports.  They interact with other parents during practices and games. The conversations among parents naturally lead to conversations about the Lord as they speak of the challenges and joys of parenthood and life. The Coles have also taught their sons that a major reason they play sports is to reach their community for Christ. Dawson, Jaron, Owen, Solomon, and Zebi Cole engage in missions as they speak to their teammates about how Jesus has impacted their own lives. The Cole family is always mindful of opportunities to pray with other families.

The Coles expand their family focus on missions by leading the children of their church to live missional lives. Oak Tree welcomes the services of their children and students. The children serve in the church, and they consistently seek ways to invite their neighbors and classmates to church. In addition to engaging in missions in their community, Oak Tree Church also provides opportunities for its students to engage in missions around the world. They have taken their student ministries on missions trips to New York City and to Guatemala to serve for a week at an orphanage.

Wherever they go, Mr. Cole says “It is very important that we not hide the fact that we are followers of Jesus Christ.” As followers, they want their community to see the transformation that Jesus has brought in their own lives. They keep in their minds that no matter where they are and no matter who they are with, they are to be examples for Jesus Christ. Mr. Cole shares, “We constantly remind them to be prepared to give an answer and the reason why they may be different to anyone that asks.”

As missions leaders, we have much to learn from the Cole family. Missions is not an addendum to their lifestyle. Missions IS their life. Mr. and Mrs. Cole keep themselves so saturated in the gospel that it is only natural to seek for ways to talk about Jesus with everyone they meet. They also value their children as partners in ministry, teaching them to use every opportunity to be ambassadors for Christ.

Please join us in praying that the Lord will strengthen the Coles to be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in Him, their labor is not in vain (1 Cor. 15:58).

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