In 1994, a group of eight Vietnamese people, led by David and Judy Vu, approached Anthony Jordan, then pastor of Oklahoma City, Northwest, about Jordan’s church providing leadership support and a place to worship. Now the executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO), Jordan recalls that time they met with him.
“When this group came to see me, they said to me, ‘We are going to fast and pray until God gives you an answer.’ I looked at these sweet Vietnamese people and noticed they looked quite thin and decided we need to respond quickly,” said Jordan, laughing as he recalled the meeting.
Twenty years later, Oklahoma City, Vietnamese is led by Pastor An Nguyen and draws an average of 160 people each Sunday for worship. Nguyen has been with the church for more than 19 years and has a special story about how he came to serve in Oklahoma City.
When the new church called him to serve as pastor in 1995, he was serving at a church in Portland, Ore., leading a strong Vietnamese youth fellowship. He told them he would pray, but he admits he was reluctant initially in praying about moving to Oklahoma.
Through a series of events, the church remained on Nguyen’s mind, and even his wife would have recurring thoughts about Oklahoma City, Vietnamese. What strongly convinced them to move to Oklahoma City was the bombing of the Murrah Building in downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995.
“I turned on the TV and saw the whole story in front of my eyes,” said Nguyen, recalling his first learning of the tragic event. “In my heart, I have a strong calling that God needs me there. I called my wife at work. She softened her heart and said to me ‘I think God needs us there.’”
Oklahoma City, Vietnamese has been successful in reaching out to the Vietnamese community and encouraging members to be involved in serving. The church has strong Sunday School small groups and also has regular outreach connections with Vietnamese college students who are enrolled in area colleges. Nguyen shared how thankful the church is for the support they received from Oklahoma City, Northwest and the BGCO.
“It’s one of the healthiest local churches that I have seen,” said Jordan. “They have vibrant worship and a trained laity that does the work of ministry. I couldn’t be more proud of this church. They are an evangelistic, mission-minded, healthy New Testament church.”
Nguyen shared how the church annually, for the last seven years, sends members overseas to various parts of Asia, including Malaysia and Vietnam, to do evangelistic projects. One time they experienced 370 people accept Christ in one service event.
“Pastor An is an Eph. 4:11-12 pastor,” said Jordan. “If a church planter would follow his model, they will have a strong, healthy church.”