Thursday, September 6, 2007

We've Been Nominated

I received an email last week telling me that Charter Oak Church as been nominated for the America's Most Innovative Churches of 2008. We are #39, but I don't think they are ranked right now - just listed. I think we do some pretty cool things around here. There are two things that we have done in the last year in particular that have hit it out of the park.

Our First Impressions ministry has changed the connectional culture of our congregation. People are genuinely excited to see and talk to people. We have a parking team that is the most creative and fun loving people ever to stand on blacktop. When you walk in our doors, we have the traditional greeters who are incredibly authentic in their greeting. But after you pass the greeters we have a core of people who do something that no other church I have been in on Sunday morning do - they walk you there. What I mean is that if someone enters our church and asks for directions, we don't point - we walk you there. In the time of walking to the destination that First Impressions person will engage the person, get to know them, and often times will follow up with that person afterward. I was recently told by a new person to Charter Oak Church that the reason she came back was because of the person walking her to her destination called her later that evening to follow up on their conversation. This isn't something that we teach, it was this person being prompted by the Holy Spirit and saying yes. The First Impressions ministry has contributed in a huge way to our growth at Charter Oak Church.

The other ministry that has hit it out of the park was started this summer. We called it Sizzlin' Saturday. After worship on Saturday night we rolled out the grill, put meat to fire, and we ate. The head of our food services, Brenda, did a great job putting together a team of grill masters to pull off one of the best summers at Charter Oak Church. Attendance was up on Saturday night by nearly 70%. Yes, I said 70%. Our total increase in worship for the summer was 25%, but Saturday night was just plain awesome. Here's something that blew all of us away - it didn't rain one time on a Saturday night all summer! Sizzlin' Saturday provided the environment for people to connect and build community.

As I look at the list of the churches who have been nominated I know we aren't worshipping 7,000 or 25,000. But we aren't using that as an excuse. We are doing our best to respond when God prompts us by the power of the Holy Spirit to obediently follow His leading. If we make the final list of Innovative Churches isn't important. (I do like being on the list, though.) What's most important for us is letting people know they matter to God and we are here to help them to become more like Jesus.


Bob Zilhaver said...

I am so excited for Charter Oak and the ministry that is happening there! Congratulations and I know what ever the number is on the list of this kind, there are angels rejoicing in heaven for the names being added to the book of life through your ministry and the ministry of Charter Oak in the name Jesus Christ.

Chris Whitehead said...


Thanks for your kind words. I know God is at work through the people of Lakeside and your leadership in their lives has taken them to places they never thought possible. Way to go!