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Fueling Up with God

Churches partner to renovate gas station for ministry

Claremore Assembly of God is teaming with First United Methodist Church in the northeast Oklahoma city to renovate a gas station that has been vacant for two years. The facility, slated to open March 24, will house the Amplified Millennial Project (AMP), a ministry to young adults. Located across the street from Rogers State University, the site will host Sunday night services. During the week, students can study, drink coffee, and do their laundry for free at the site.

Jeff L. Losornio, who struggled with alcohol abuse for years and recommitted his life to Christ four years ago, is spearheading the effort. Losornio sports a mohawk and favors brightly colored clothes, which he believes makes him more relatable to college-age students.

“People are willing to listen to what I have to say because I’m flawed,” says Losornio, 50. “In Christ, we don’t have to be worthy; we just have to be willing.”

Losornio wants to help young adults avoid mistakes he’s made in life, and he believes providing them with a safe place to hang out and hear the gospel will help solidify their faith in early adulthood — a time when most will make decisions impacting the rest of their lives.

While golfing with friends from First United Methodist, Losornio met Ray Crawford, the church’s senior pastor. After hearing Losornio’s passion for reaching young adults, Crawford mentioned the nearby gas station, owned by one of his congregants, as a possible home for the ministry.

Losornio, who owns a printing, embroidery ,and promotional products company, took the idea to his pastor, David F. Mewbourne. Mewbourne, 62, lead pastor of Claremore Assembly of God, offered his full support. After a series of conversations between Losornio and both ministers, Claremore AG and First United Methodist Church agreed to partner to renovate the dormant facility for the AMP ministry.

AMP has been meeting in the Family Life Center, a converted gym behind the main building of Claremore Assembly of God. The AMP service, held every Sunday night after the church’s regular evening service, opens with a meal at 7:30, followed by worship and a message at 8. Losornio does most of the preaching.

Both pastors, along with an advisory committee — comprised of three leaders from each congregation — provide oversight to Losornio and help direct the ministry.

“There are a massive number of young people in this community that need stability,” says Mewbourne, 62. “God is touching these kids.”

For example, Losornio recently encountered a young woman contemplating suicide. After realizing the situation required a level of expertise he lacked, Losornio asked the girl if she would be willing to meet with his pastor. Thanks to the combined efforts of Losornio and Melbourne, the young woman is now thriving and serving as one of AMP’s leaders.

Losornio is grateful to God for his blessings, including children Addy, 22, and Reggie, 15, but he has also faced challenges.

“I have to be careful to avoid playing God in some situations,” Losornio says. “As a father, I want to protect these kids and provide them with everything they need, but my role is to introduce them to God. We need to go to the Bible for the ‘real deal.’”

The new facility, which could still use more furnishings, is set to launch March 24.

Mary J Yerkes

Mary J. Yerkes is a freelance writer based in metro Washington, D.C.