Oasis Church History
The clear and unmistakable call of God to come to Virginia to plant Oasis Church was communicated to the heart of Pastor George (“Bubba”) Rose in the first week of February 2008, while he was attending an international leadership conference for pastors in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Pastor Bubba had been serving as the Associate Pastor for Discipleship and Missions for a Charlotte, N.C. congregation for approximately one year at the time of the Lord’s call. Prior to this, while serving in international missions for approximately seven years and having their home base in the Amherst community during this time, he and Nedra, his lifelong ministry partner, made some very close and what were going to prove as ‘key’ friendships with some precious Amherst believers.Some of these were by God’s providence to be among the future founding members of Oasis Church.
Oasis Church was originally planted as a ‘seed’ by the Lord in July 2005 as a very informal house-church style Bible study made up of about a dozen Amherst, Virginia believers. All of these shared a common passion for a more radical obedience to Christ and for a major spiritual awakening in Amherst County and Central Virginia. This Bible study group met on Sunday evenings in various homes from week-to-week, under the leadership of Pastor Bubba, for more than three years, representing five families originally, and eventually growing to 30 members.
Some of these original Bible study members became a part of the Oasis Church core group, or planting team, which assembled for their very first meeting on Saturday afternoon, November 15, 2008 in the living room of one of these families. This first meeting was truly charged with a special visitation of the Holy Spirit falling upon all of the 25 believers present, from the very beginning of the first praise song, and stirring within the group a deep spirit of worship, brokenness, thanksgiving and joy! There was an acute awareness of the presence of Jesus! Some of these had traveled from considerable distances out of town/state to gather with the Amherst group. Some of these had been serving already for several months as special intercessory prayer partners for this new work, during its earliest planning phase.
The vision of Jesus for Oasis Church was cast by Pastor Bubba during this first meeting to be “a church without walls” (Zechariah 2:4-5). She was to be a virtual river of the life-giving water of Christ (John 7:37-38), flowing out daily through the Amherst County/Central Virginia region through the shared testimonies of the members’ changed lives. Her members would serve as missionaries to their culture in their respective work places, leading friends and work associates to drink from “the living water” of Christ, placing their faith in Jesus. Following the ministry model of Jesus, the earliest disciples and the early church in Acts, Oasis was given the charge from the Lord….”you go bless the Amherst community in My Name and I will build My church”!
The core group meetings were filled with excitement, worship, vision casting and strategy planning for the launching of the new church! These meetings took place weekly from the second week of January through the first week of April, 2009. The attendance grew weekly and soon it was evident to all that we needed to find a location beyond anyone’s living room capacity. As the pastors were sharing breakfast one morning, at “What a Blessing Bakery”, a small local restaurant, the idea came to request the owner, a dear brother-in-Christ, if we could possibly use his place of business as a temporary weekly meeting place for the Sunday night meetings. With tears running down his face, he replied, “anything…if it’s for God, it’s yours! When the pastors requested what the terms would be, he said, “Free, if it’s for God!” Meeting at the bakery was a great blessing, but very soon the gatherings outgrew the space, reaching almost 40 in attendance. Next, the gatherings would be moved to the Amherst County Public Library, as it was discovered that there was a “community room” which could be reserved and used without cost. Everyone was so elated and thankful for this provision from the Lord, as our launch day was fast approaching!
In accordance with the Lord’s vision, Oasis’ first of many community enrichment projects to be planned and conducted on a regular basis, called “Project Good Samaritan”, was organized and would take place in the Amherst County High School parking lot on the last weekend of March, 2009, just before the launch day of the church. This event included a free medical clinic, free food, live music, free family portraits, door prizes and games for the children. Approximately 350 attended on a day that had been predicted as a “wash-out” by the news media. As skies were yet very dark with heavy clouds, having followed two days of continual downpours of rain, the Lord with his own mighty hand intervened to stop the rain just before the outreach event began and held back the rain for the entire duration of this very strategic event, without even a drop falling! Within thirty minutes after clean-up, the rains began to fall again! To God be all the glory…..the Lord Jesus began to be referred to as our great…”Rain Holder-Backer” according to Pastor Brad Mullinax!
The pastors called the core team to join them in forty days of prayer and fasting, which would end the day before Launch Day on April 12, Easter Sunday, 2009. Excitement was mounting, as teams were going out door-to-door throughout the Amherst community and inviting any and all to attend – covering some 800 homes on one Saturday morning. The pre-launch Sunday arrived with teams prayer walking over the Amherst High School parking lot, as well as prayer walking inside the school cafeteria where the worship would soon begin! When the worship team began to sing….”There Is Power in the Blood”….tears began to stream…and the Lord’s presence was indeed evident. Expectation mounted among the core team during the remaining days prior to Launch Day, with a mixture of excitement and tension. Launch day, April 12, 2009, Easter Sunday, saw 154 present with 4 people raising their hands in response to the salvation invitation! What a day….we were riding high in the fervor of the Spirit! Immediately following the worship service there was a “tailgate buffet” conducted in the high school parking lot, as food was served off the tailgate of four trucks with nearly everyone staying to participate. The high school cafeteria continues to serve as the meeting place for Oasis, providing a direct connection to Amherst community life.
The very heart of the Oasis Church fellowship is it’s Life Group Bible studies which meet during the week in various communities. These groups were in full swing immediately following the Launch Day, providing the primary platform in order for members to serve in ministry to one another within the Oasis Church body and to reach out to the Amherst community at large. The global missionary vision for Oasis Church was cast for the first time with the very first International Mission Sunday taking place on July 12, 2009 with three missionary couples being presented to the church for her prayer and ministry support. Two of these couples are from within Oasis Church body. Oasis Church has been so blessed from the very beginning to have been given by the Lord, not just one, but three full-time pastors….Lead Pastor, Bubba Rose; Pastor of Church Ministries, Steve Harmon; Pastor of Assimilation and Outreach, Brad Mullinax. Each of these men have been summoned together by Jesus to serve the Lord in shepherding Oasis as a plurality of Biblical elders, with two more pastor elders yet to be appointed as the Lord is pleased to give them. Covenant Membership was officially defined and inaugurated for Oasis Church in August, 2009. Now the real work is in full swing, with continual prayer and fasting, constantly studying the Amherst community, and living among and loving the people…while sharing the testimony of Jesus individually and through every possible avenue of service and innovative outreach to demonstrate the love of Christ!