Terry & Nina Cuthbertson
Planting in: Oklahoma City, OK
“I grew up in a family that always attended church. In fact, my family has a long history of being church planters.
Our family looked like the perfect family and my mom and stepdad were volunteers at every church we ever attended. Despite all this, our family had a dark secret. For nearly 8 years my stepdad abused my siblings and I. During this time my stepdad moved us constantly to hide his illegal activities and to keep us disconnected from my mom’s family.
On July 4, 1992, my stepdad came home from work in the middle of the day; he gave each one of us five dollars and told us to go into town to buy some lunch. While we were gone, he packed all his belongings into the family van and left us. I still remember all of us sitting in the living room holding our mom as she sobbed and called my grandparents to let them know what had happened.
For the next year, my mom walked 5 miles to work at a local gas station at the edge of town. We barely had enough money to buy groceries or pay rent.
Eventually the bills piled up and we could no longer afford our house, so we moved in with my grandparents. The number one rule at my grandparent’s house was if the doors of the church are open, we go.
No matter what I did, I never felt like I fit in at the church. Another problem was that nobody knew the abuse my siblings and I had gone through.
I had no outlet to express my pain, anger, and self-loathing. I decided to use art, drama, and music as a way of expressing my pain. This did not go over well in a small country church and got worse when I joined a band, pierced my ears, and dyed my hair blue.
I hated high school and going to church because I always felt like an outcast. I also was depressed because of my inability to act like a good Christian.
My senior year, I wanted to make my family proud so I applied to a Christian University in Texas. The third semester I was there, I ran out of money and could not afford to continue going.
I became bitter at the church and Christians and decided to walk away from it all. For the next two years, I began living for myself. I tried to medicate the pain I felt with drugs, alcohol, and women but only became more depressed and bitter. I was angry with God, the Church, and Christians. I felt alone.
After moving back to Oklahoma, a friend I partied with began inviting me to church. He and his girlfriend had attended twice and the church was extremely friendly to him.
He invited me by telling me they always hug him when he came into the building. He said he was worried because I seemed depressed all the time and he believed it would help if I went to this church and was hugged.
For a month, I turned down his invite. Finally, he showed up at my house and told me to get in the truck so we can go to church and get hugged. The moment I walked into the church from across the room one of the older church members saw me and quickly approached me. Without any warning, I was being hugged and welcomed to the church.
That night the message was on the prodigal son and the Holy Spirit convicted me and I gave my life to Christ. I had an encounter with Jesus’s love in such a way that it forever changed my view of who God was.
I have been drug and alcohol free for over 15 years and I have been in ministry for 13 years. All of this was because one church and one person reached out and loved me right where I was.
I believe God has called me to plant a church that reaches out to those who are hurting and feel unloved… to build a community of people who actively reach out to the unlovable and the hurting. We will encourage our launch team and church to serve the community. With the revitalization process of downtown Oklahoma City, each district has monthly community events, local unique restaurants, and many small businesses. As a church, we will build connections by serving and participating with these community events.”