Deeply Rooted in the Austin Community
When Austin Oaks Church first put down roots in Central Texas, this congregation began building foundations for more.
Way back in 1892, our church’s founding Swedish families began investing in people’s lives to see God on the move in their community. The original group of 33 members knew they were God’s answers to other people’s prayers, that through them God was already up to “far more abundantly than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).
If we go back even further to Acts 1 and 2, we see believers seeking God for more, praying for the faithful generations to come, praying for this church, praying for this next chapter. Praying for us. The hearts of these early Christians was never about building monuments to religion. Instead, they longed to take part in the movement of God in the world. Like the those First Century believers, our church’s founding group prayed for God to make them agents of change right where they lived.
To take part in God’s movement means staying open handed to whatever change God asks of us. So this church, like all other churches, has experienced seasons of God shaking us up. He’s moved us out of complacency and won our hearts again and again. There’s not a church where that hasn’t happened, and Austin Oaks Church is no exception. (continue below)
Asking God For More
To take part in God’s movement means staying open handed to whatever change God asks of us. So this church, like all other churches, has experienced seasons of God shaking us up. He’s moved us out of complacency and won our hearts again and again. There’s not a church where that hasn’t happened, and Austin Oaks Church is no exception.
For example, in 1990, our congregation consisted of only a few dozen aging members, and faced two options: close the doors or radically change. In response, they asked God for more and called local college and youth pastor Rob Harrell to come lead them. Those long-time members had hope for the future God would bring. They prayed the church would:
- Keep on with the Word;
- Seek the heart of the Lord;
- Grow in every way;
- Be accepting of others; and
- Pave the way for others.
Over the next several years, God poured all this and much, much more into this local body, bringing hundreds of people until the church burst at the seams and relocated to South Austin. God continues to answer those prayers, and their heartbeat still pumps life into this city. This desire for more – more of God, more encounters with Jesus, cultivating more connections with others, advancing more good for the glory of God – now rests with us.
Those Swedes more than one hundred years ago, those original 33 members, built the church’s foundation in Jesus where we stand today.
Now it’s our turn.
Rob Harrell is Pastor Emeritus of Austin Oaks Church, where he served as Senior Pastor for over 25 years. He has been married to Kathy, his partner in ministry, for almost 40 years. Rob began in pastoral ministry in 1979, serving as a Student Ministry Pastor at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Oklahoma City and at Westlake Bible Church in Austin, Texas. In January of 2017, he was sent out to use his experiences to be a Global Ambassador locally and internationally. Rob received a B.S. degree in Psychology/Sociology from the University of Utah, a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. Rob currently serves as Founder and President of Austin Global Ambassadors, a ministry that has a vision to “Ignite a Movement of Fearless Ambassadors for Christ’s Kingdom.”
To learn more about Austin Global Ambassors, Click here.