As I reflected on the history of Chenal, I kept coming back to three elements that Chenal was founded on. One of the first identifying markers of Chenal was that all were welcomed. This was a culture established from the very beginning. It did not matter who you were or what you’d been through, you had a place at Chenal. This mindset is part of our history but rooted in Scripture. Moses records the word of the Lord in Leviticus 19:34 by stating, “Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” The word of Lord here notes that at one point, we have all felt like outsiders. Our role as followers of God should be to make others feel welcomed.
Another element of Chenal that I reflected on was how everyone was needed. Churches are not built on the backs of a few but on the gifts of many. This was part of why Chenal had so much momentum, because everyone had ownership and recognized that their gifts were needed to make Chenal a place where people wanted to be. Peter reflects on this in 1 Peter 4:10 when he writes, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
And finally, Chenal was built on being a church with a lot of joy. Danny and Bert both brought their own unique methods of joy and happiness to Chenal. From Danny’s personality to Bert’s willingness to get in whatever VBS costume that was needed, joy has been a foundational part of this church.
I referenced these elements this week because as we talk about where we are headed, we must reflect on where we have been. Furthermore, the foundation that was Chenal established on highlights that our future is bright. So if you know someone who is looking for a church that will welcome them, use their gifts, and have fun along the way, let them know about Chenal.