This year, the money raised through Oklahoma Christian University’s homecoming philanthropy project will go to Outreach, a student-led missions organization. Created in 1953, Outreach is Oklahoma Christian’s oldest student organization. Its purpose is to serve the community and provide education about missions.
Outreach’s sponsor this year is Jennifer Gray, the president is Josh Clements, the vice president is Rett Parker and Ashleigh Lamb is the public relations officer. Lamb said she began attending Outreach meetings last spring and decided to become more involved this semester by running for an officer position.
“It is my job to communicate with other clubs and organizations on campus, as well as manage social media for Outreach,” Lamb said. “My hope is that, through effective communication around campus, we can see Outreach continue to grow.”
According to Lamb, one of Outreach’s biggest goals this semester is to make and send Christmas care packages for missionaries who graduated from Oklahoma Christian. She said the money raised during homecoming will help fund this project.
“We want to continue to grow the organization and encourage students to become more involved with the communities around them,” Lamb said. “We also plan to help fund mission trips during spring break, making them even more affordable for Oklahoma Christian students.”
This is Gray’s third year as a sponsor and she said Outreach has always been an important organization for her because she was involved with it when she was a student at Oklahoma Christian.
“I still have a passion for missions,” Gray said. “Actually, because of Outreach, I went on summer trips while I was a student here and that resulted in me doing mission work when I first graduated. It’s been a big motivator and part of my life, and I want to help students get that experience today.”
As a sponsor, Gray attends officer meetings, discusses the negatives and positives of projects and provides advice. She said Outreach has a great group of officers this year.
“[The purpose of Outreach is] to give students experiences in moving beyond their comfort zone to serve other people,” Gray said. “This year, we are emphasizing service. In the past, we would have better attendance for service projects than meetings. It’s just giving people some other opportunities to do things.”
According to Gray, Outreach collaborates with the Center for Global Missions to put on Missions Chapel, the GO Retreat and spring break mission trips. Additionally, they host various service projects each semester, including cooking dinner at the Ronald McDonald house, working at the food bank in downtown Oklahoma City, going to Luther, OK and wrapping Christmas presents, caroling at nursing homes and leading services at small churches.
“[Outreach has] evolved over time,” Gray said. “Before, we didn’t have Missions Chapel where you could have missionaries speak. Primarily, it was always someone speaking about a missionary. We have broadened our focus now to be both missions and service.”
Outreach is also working to expand attendance and get students of all majors involved.
“This year especially, we have [more majors represented] because the programs for the meetings have been professors from different areas on campus talking about how you can use your major for God,” Gray said. “Having those different programs has pulled in students from areas like engineering, nursing and education. We’re trying to have one or two meetings each week.”
Meetings are open to everyone on campus and there are no membership dues. Outreach meets every Monday at 7 p.m. on the third floor of the Mabee Learning Center.