After 25 years as a PGA golf professional managing courses from California to New Mexico, Warren Lehr of Discovery Bible Fellowship, Collinsville, Okla., returned to his home state of Oklahoma a few years ago. He was recently appointed City Manager of Owasso, a town of 33,000 near Tulsa.
How did you become city manager?
City manager was a job I never aspired to do. I was assistant city manager when my predecessor came under fire and resigned. Though I didn’t see it at first, I eventually came to a realization that this is what God had for me now.
Why do you feel God placed you here?
One aspect of why I’m here is to rebuild trust and engage with people who are on either side of controversial issues.
What other priorities do you have for Owasso?
Of course it is our goal to provide excellent city services, but we also need to build community. I want not only our city staff but everyone in the community to realize that it is all about relationships and serving one another.
How do you nurture a spirit of community?
Part of it is recognizing that every good endeavor is valuable—whether you’re defending the people as a police officer, picking up people’s garbage or teaching their children. None of these is more important than the other.
How can churches partner with their city leadership?
For years Owasso’s city manager has met monthly with local pastors. There’s great value in pastors getting together and asking what they need to address or pray about. Churches can follow up by establishing different social justice ministries that hold up the gospel of Christ in practical ways.
What Scripture do you look to for guidance?
Micah 6:8 calls us to do justice and love mercy. In this job I need wisdom every day to balance truth and grace, justice and mercy.
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