Shane and Dawn and their daughter, Caroline, moved to Woodbury in August of 2009. Transplanted from Georgia originally, they landed in Minnesota via Ohio through Shane’s job. That December, Dawn’s neighbor and fast friend, Peg Benson, invited the Beavers family to try out Five Oaks. Peg lured Dawn with Five Oaks’ promise of taking free Christmas card photos that weekend. “That was great for a new family who didn’t have anyone to snap their photo for the annual Christmas card,” Dawn says.
Dawn and Shane both loved Five Oaks immediately. “We felt very welcomed,” Dawn says. They both loved the upbeat music and, in their words, how down-to-earth Pastor Henry was. “We never tried another church after that.”
In the six years since, they have gotten involved with a small group, and Dawn volunteers with VBS, the Acorn Cafe, and Dawn has also participated in women’s Bible Study. Both Shane and Dawn ran the Twin Cities Marathon in 2014 with the Five Oaks team.
Something as small as a casual invite to church can change the trajectory of someone else’s life. We sometimes shy away from inviting others, afraid of rejection or the possibility of changing the dynamic of that relationship. Shane and Dawn had both dropped out of church involvement in college despite both being raised in the church. “In Ohio,” Dawn says, “we were in a super small town, and five stanzas of hymns was not really our thing.” Without an invite from Dawn’s friend Peg, it may have taken their family months, if not years, to find a church on their own. Having a church home helped them feel at home in Minnesota that much faster.
Yes, it’s a risk to invite that friend, co-worker, neighbor to church with you. But Peg would agree it was a worthwhile risk, one she would gladly take again.