, Muskogee, OK


December 21, 2012

Checotah First United Methodist among state leaders in growth

The Checotah First United Methodist Church has been selected as one of 18 United Methodist churches out of 525 congregations in the Oklahoma Conference to participate in a leadership experiment, according to a media release.

The invitation came because of the growth of the local congregation.

The Rev. Wayne Loftin, senior minister of the Checotah church, received the invitation by letter from B. Craig Stinson, director of congregational development for the annual conference council.  

Stinson said Checotah First Methodist Church was one of 18 churches from across the conference invited to participate in “Multiplying Your Impact.”  

Loftin said he is proud to accept the invitation to participate in the leadership experiment and is proud of the church’s ranking among churches in the Oklahoma conference.  He said the church has added approximately 80 members during his four-year tenure.  

“Almost a year ago we initiated what we call ‘Project 500,’ which consists of outreach activities to reach our goal of having 500 members by the close of 2013,” Loftin said.  “Right now our membership stands at 417.”

Although Loftin is proud of the work the clergy, leadership and members of the congregation have done, he attributes some of the success of the congregation to improvements and growth in the community.

Loftin said that the First United Methodist Church in Checotah decided to stay on the hill at Second and Gentry where it’s been since its founding in October 1890.  

The church is in the midst of a three-phase expansion, Loftin  said.  The $1.8 million phase one, completed in mid-2011, consisted of remodeling in the sanctuary, the building of a new Memorial Hall and a Youth Hall.

Assisting Loftin with the spiritual work of the church is the Rev. Tyler Kirk, associate minister.  Everyone is invited to participate in church activities.  

The church has an early service on Sundays at 8:30 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall, followed by Sunday School classes for all ages at 9:30, then a second service at 10:50 in the sanctuary.  There is an attended nursery available for infants through pre-K during Sunday School and the 10:50 worship service. Communion is held on the first Sunday of every month and every Wednesday morning at 7 a.m. in Memorial Hall.  Loftin and Kirk alternate conducting the 20-minute Wednesday service.

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