Welcome to “the Oasis”
Nick Warner, Ph.D.
Greetings, sisters and brothers.
Thank you for visiting our website. February of 2015 will mark the end of our twelfe year at Desert Oasis Chapel and it has been a remarkable journey. When Michael, Devin, Jim and I began this ministry, I only had a vague idea what was in store for us. I knew that we would meet people we didn’t already know and I knew that a lot of those people would be struggling and hurting. I knew we had a message and that was to tell the gay and lesbian community that God loves you just as you are and I knew that would, sometimes, be a hard sell. I knew that there was a part of me that embraced this calling and another part that did not want to do this. Nevertheless, we began our little church in February, 2003 and I committed us to the idea that we would never dilute the gospel message.
What I couldn’t know then was that the most amazing array of people would come into our lives – men and women with open hearts and tales to tell, seekers and skeptics and soul-mates. We would meet couples and singles of all ages and all stages in their spiritual walk. I would encounter men and women who had never opened the Bible, on one hand, and everything in between including long-term pastors and evangelists and teachers. The gifted and seasoned people, sometimes serious, sometimes funny, sometimes heart-broken who walked through our doors continues to impress me every day.
We began humbly in the dingy back room of the Elks Club in Cathedral City, sharing the air with the smokers who’d closed the place down late the night before. But folks found us and came. In time we were blessed to move to the beautiful but tiny chapel at the Hanson House on the campus of Desert Regional Hospital. We loved the facility and location but its size inhibited our growth and we prayed for a better facility. In January of 2007 we moved into Wiefels Chapel near the Palm Springs Airport and we have grown strikingly in that location. Our team of leaders grew and changed several times and continues to expand and bless us. Our music went from a boom box belting out recorded music to the gifted keyboard skills and vocal talent of Ken Roberts. Ken has greatly improved our music and now we’re building the foundation of a choir – men and women wanting to make joyful music to the Lord we serve.
On a personal note, there have been days that I was so discouraged with this endeavor that I thought I should bow out and make room for someone else to pastor this mixed flock. I struggled with the sometimes slow answers to prayers and, in the beginning, the slow growth. For a long time we got 12-15 people per week and I didn’t know if it would ever grow. We lost people to death, wonderful Patty and one of our founders, Jim Hazekamp. People we loved would sometimes stop coming, I didn’t know why. But behind the shadows there were so many blessings. New people came in and so many have stayed. New talent has stretched us beyond original expectations. For me, preparing a weekly sermon has been a constant blessing and deepening from the Lord to know God’s way and proclaim it boldly. Ideas and events I never dreamed of have opened doors, for example having a booth at the Pride Festival, speaking at rallies, getting to know local leaders, hosting Fellowship time after church that went on until we had to ask people to leave. We’ve met chefs and musicians and gifted teachers and preachers. My original objective was to provide a church and worship that was somehow like that of the early church. I can’t know if we accomplished that but I sure understand many of the challengers of the early believers. Like them, we have been pressed and blessed and for that, I give thanks every day. Above all, I thank God for the rare privilege of sharing the magnificent gospel of Jesus Christ with the wonderful men and women and kids that God has led into our church. For this time and gift, I am eternally grateful.
If you have not joined us in worship, we warmly welcome you to our church. If you have participated with us, we want you to know how much we value your part in our community.
May God bless you.