Oasis at Conway Gardens is a small Southern Baptist church on the east side of Orlando, Florida. The church was planted in 1957 and serves the Conway Gardens, Curry Ford West, and Hour Glass District neighborhoods by “Loving God, and Loving our Neighbors as Ourselves.”
At the height of our history we were a church of over 350 people with many vibrant ministries. Three years ago, we were a church of about 30-35 people, with questions about our future. For the last three years we’ve had several planning retreats to seriously pray and seek God about the future of this ministry. Then COVID hit. But God has been faithful. We lost some friends, but gained new ones as well.
Today we are still a church of 30-35 people on a given Sunday. But now we have 3 other congregations renting our property, meeting separately, but worshiping and cooperating with us for the Kingdom of God. The other congregations are: one traditional Spanish speaking Pentecostal church, one second generation Caribbean, Spanish speaking, Reformed church, and one English speaking Reformed church. People are coming to Jesus in all four congregations. The senior leadership of all four churches meet together quarterly to share what God is doing, to pray, and to discuss how He would have us navigate our cooperative relationship. We truly love each other. While Oasis has been debt free for many years, the result of this arrangement is a financially stable church, looking to the future, and slowly growing.
The following are signature traits reflective of who we are and what we want to be:
We understand the extremes of legalism versus license/antinomianism and we lead with the heart-shocking great news of salvation by faith, in order to constantly renew our faith as individuals, as well as the vision for our church, our sense of the good news and our interaction with the community.
Oasis is a growing, yet close family. We have no dreams of becoming a megachurch. While large churches have their place, smaller churches are great places for living our stories together and fostering faith in others. When our congregation approaches 100 in regular attendance, our plan is to prayerfully begin sowing the seeds to plant a church in another community.
Contextualization means telling the story of Jesus in a way that others understand. It allows us to present the gospel (the story of Jesus) in its most compelling form so that the message is relevant for the culture around us, while being careful not to compromise the integrity and truth of the gospel. To quote Tim Keller in Center Church, “we minister with balance, using the gospel to both appreciate and challenge the culture to be in accord with God’s truth.” While new to us, we are continually adapting and hope to come to land in a place where contextualization is interwoven into every ministry, teaching, and relationship at Oasis.
Seeking to align our hearts with God’s love for humanity, our goal is to assist with not only the spiritual needs of our neighbors, but emotional and physical needs as well. The former does not preclude the latter, nor the other way around. The ministry of Jesus is a ministry of wholeness.
Our property hosts four congregations, four distinct cultures, with two languages. Our neighborhood evidences more languages and cultures. God has a passion for all cultures, ethnicities and languages (Revelation 5:9; 7:9; 10:11; 11:9; 13:7; 14:6; 17:15). We have a passion for biblical diversity, loving all races, genders, religions, ages, socio-economic statuses, and cultures.
We are affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. However, denominations can become idols. We are Southern Baptist, but evangelically ecumenical, in that we cooperate with “Like-Kind” churches in our community, with parallel doctrinal beliefs to those of Oasis at Conway Gardens, listed here.