Acorn Café Celebrations!

We have such outstanding volunteers here at Five Oaks, that I love when we can take the opportunity to acknowledge them.

Today I’m taking a moment to celebrate Peg Benson, who was our Acorn Café Team Leader for the past SIX years, and Tammy & Gene Sheldon, who have taken over that role this summer.

I’m so grateful for Peg and her family, who have faithfully (and literally!) SERVED our congregation in this position. Peg has shown all of her volunteers and our church family what it means to be a true servant. Her kindness, smile, and listening ear have made the Acorn Café a great place to serve at Five Oaks! We’re thankful that even though Peg won’t leading the Acorn Team any longer, you’ll still see her around, as she has taken on a bigger role with our church staff. Thank you, Peg!

I’m also excited to introduce you to our new Acorn Café leaders – Tammy & Gene Sheldon! They’ve both been fixtures at Acorn Café for a while, so you have likely seen them there. Tammy will be our main leader, our point person for the volunteers, and Gene will handle the training of our new volunteers. They both bring great experience and wonderful enthusiasm for heading up the Acorn Café – the social hub of the church! Welcome, Tammy & Gene - We’re so glad to have you take on this role!

When you see any of these three around, take a minute to say Hi, and thank them for their dedication to Five Oaks!

Until next time…

Pam Hawley
Associate Director of Connections

Way to rock the t-shirts, Five Oaks!


It makes me smile to see all of our Five Oaks SERVE t-shirts on the weekend during service times. Our various volunteers each received a new green SERVE t-shirt over these past few weeks. It's not mandatory to wear the shirts, but it's been great to see a sea of green on the weekend without prompting.  I thanked one of our ushers for wearing her shirt  this past weekend and she commented back, "Of course, why wouldn't I?"  She has pride in her church and how she is serving God and the rest of us as we worship each week.  That's the part that makes me smile.  

I have a second secret reason why I like seeing people serving in their shirts:  the visual impact. When you walk in our doors, you can't help but notice how many people it takes to make our church run smoothly.  I am incredibly grateful for all of our Five Oakers who serve during the week and on the weekend faithfully.  You make a big difference!

We will have a designated SERVE weekend on June 24/25 when I will ask everyone to wear their shirts to church that weekend.  In the meantime, keep rockin' the gear and serving our community!

-Jennifer Clemens
Connections Director

Our Concierge Team is Welcoming Newcomers to Five Oaks!

If you’ve been at Five Oaks over the past few months, you’ve heard the weekend hosts say ‘We know how difficult finding a new church can be…’ during our welcome time. The part that you might not know is how much this is resonating with our new visitors! We’ve heard story after story of how much people appreciate that we’re acknowledging how hard it can be, and how we’re trying to make that process easier for them.

Enter the Five Oaks Concierge Team! This is a new team in the Connections Ministry, whose main purpose is to help new people feel more comfortable as they come to Five Oaks for the first time.

Here’s how it works - our Concierge Team meets new families in the Treehouse, helps them check their kids in, shows them to their classrooms, and connects them with their teachers. Once the kiddos are comfortable, the Concierge walks with the grown-ups down to the worship center, connects them with an Usher, who helps get them seated. On the way, the Concierge engages our guest in a bit of conversation about who they are, lets them know about our newcomers’ Discovery Class, and gives them an Acorn Café token for a beverage on us.

It’s a simple process, but it’s having a big impact on those who have gone through it. More than once, we’ve had people tell us how grateful they were to have someone personally connect with them as they visited our church for the first time!

We have a fantastic Concierge Team, and I want to send out a thank you to these folks for stepping into this new role – Brent & Carie Jorgenson, Jay & Laurie Dorenkamp, Jordan & Morgan Whitney, Amy Evans, Scott Erickson, Mark DuVal, Nicole Gustafson & Brian Burquest.  

However – even though they’re an awesome group – we can always use more of you helping welcome our guests! If you enjoy hospitality or meeting new people, or if you remember what it’s like to be that new person and want to help others in that same boat, we’d love to have you. Give me a shout at, and let’s talk about getting you involved in the Concierge Team!

Until next time…

Pam Hawley, 

Associate Director of Connections

You blessed us this Easter

I just want to give a huge shout out to everyone at Five Oaks who stepped up to serve for our extra Easter services.  Twenty-seven people responded by turning in an Easter serve brochure and filled spots as teachers, greeters, ushers and baristas.  It's not too late if you would like to serve at Easter, but have not yet turned in your sign-up card.  Please e-mail me, Jennifer Clemens, at and let me know WHEN you can serve and WHAT area you would like to help.  This is a perfect time to test out an area to serve with a one-time opportunity at Easter.

-Jennifer Clemens
Connections Director

Grieving a loved one at Easter

If you have lost a loved one you can probably resonate with the feeling of holidays being bittersweet. Gathering around the dinner table to celebrate a joyous occasion, but remembering the ones who are not sitting there with you. I know this sentiment well as Easter Sunday, April 16, marks three years since my dad passed away.  

As my mother, my siblings, and I surrounded my father while he took his final breaths, some of us were able to choke out the words to an old hymn. “ To God be the glory, great things he has done, So loved He the world that He gave us His Son, Who yielded His life our redemption to win, And opened the life-gate that all may go in.” Even through the tears and sorrow in the moment of my dad leaving this earth, the Holy Spirit brought peace to my heart knowing my dad had just entered heaven. 

While Easter will be a difficult day for me, it also brings me peace knowing the reason I celebrate this holiday is the same reason I know my dad is in heaven today. Jesus came so we could have an abundant life here on earth and eternal life as well. 

Whatever state of mind you might be in on Easter, in joy or sorrow, in anxiety or peace, in love or in anger, it's okay. Bring your heart, and God will meet you there. Let’s join together and give praise to God the Father for sending His Son, Jesus. Praise Jesus for coming to earth to rescue us. And praise the Holy Spirit for comforting us through the heartache that comes in this life. 

Martha Young
Administrative Assistant, Connections and Students

The times...they are a' changin'...

Carol pic.jpeg

This is my last blog post, as my husband, Jeff, and I have decided to help “plant” the new church that is being started with Daniel Lukas and the Awaken Community in St Paul. It was not an easy decision, but one we felt strongly that God was asking us to make. Being excited about a new adventure does not mean that there isn’t sadness in leaving where and whom you have grown to love dearly… here goes:

“We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.” 
(Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God)

Ok, if you have served on the Connections Ministry for any length of time, odds are you have seen this quote at least…well, a LOT of times in things that have been printed for you or for advertising what Connections Ministry is all about. (Once I find a good quote, I tend to over-use it). 

The thing is, when I think about this team - its mission, its members - these words from Brother Lawrence ring so true and remind me so much of how you on the Connections teams serve. (Brother L., by the way, lived in the 1600’s and worked in the kitchen of a French monastery. He knew a little about serving and hospitality!)

I started this job with what I thought was a decent amount of experience in the needed areas. Let’s just say that I was possibly over-confident. But as I met more and more of you every weekend as you served, your attitudes and caring actions gave me real-life examples of leadership and love for others. YOU trained ME.

Thank you.

...but you will recognize these faces!

Pam Hawley, incoming Associate Connections Director

Pam Hawley, incoming Associate Connections Director

Martha Young, incoming Connections and Youth Assistant

Martha Young, incoming Connections and Youth Assistant

As Carol leaves to help plant Awaken and build a new church home, we welcome two familiar faces to the Connections team.  Pam Hawley joined the team as Connections Associate Director starting in March.  Pam and her family have been Five Oakers for more than 13 years, and she has been on staff for 10 of those years.  In that time, Pam has been a ministry assistant supporting small groups, Impact, Pastor Henry, Discovery, membership, worship, and too many other things to count!  Most recently, Pam has added a huge helping of fun to Five Oaks as the leader of the FUN Team (shameless plug for Game Cafe on March 31 -- don't miss it)! Connections will also be adding Martha Young to our awesome team.  If you are a regular at the Wednesday night youth group gatherings, you will recognize Martha. She serves as ministry assistant to our Student Ministry team and will be adding a new layer to her title as our Connections and Youth Ministry Assistant.  Martha and her husband, Ben, have been coming to Five Oaks for almost two years. We are thrilled to have her take on these additional responsibilities.

Coming soon to a theater near you...(or your computer)...


The Connections Team has not had team trainings for a long while. If you’re a long-time veteran of this ministry, you may realize this. If you’re newer, you may not. Either way, a better way to get consistent guidelines out to everyone on each team is needed.

We think we have found that way. Your Team Leaders are working to create training videos that each of you will be able to watch from your own computer. They will contain the basic info for serving on the Connections Team (good review!) and the guidelines for each separate team (you will only be assigned the video for the team you’re on which you serve).

The goal is to have these complete and ready for viewing by the end of January. Keep an eye on your email inbox for an invitation from
GoodToG You will get a link / invitation to respond; from there you will be able to see videos assigned to you.

Each one of you plays a very important role in the welcoming and caring that our church provides, and you do it naturally, as part of your gifts. Thank you! I am eager to see how we will grow as a ministry, given more tools (like online training videos) to inform and encourage one another to good works for His glory.

God bless each and every one of you. Thank you for reminding me of the joy of serving each weekend.

Carol Jorgensen
Connections Manager

Thank you!

Thank you for all you do in helping us bring the story of God to life!

Find your serving 'zone'

If you already serve in some capacity at Five Oaks, you know when it’s the right fit: you grow in this role, and our church body benefits from that contagiousness. When you serve, it’s because of you that we can bring the story of God to life each week. 

Finding the right serving fit may mean you try a few areas on for size — that’s OK! If you are looking to start serving but aren’t sure where to serve, consider trying out a new serving role or ministry for Christmas. We always need extra hands and hearts at Christmas time with several additional worship services. Another great way to help at Christmas time is to consider serving in a new area with your whole family, or with your small group.  

To get connected, you may email Jennifer Clemens, our Serve Coordinator, at She will contact you and walk you through the process to begin serving at Five Oaks.

Connections Ministry … what is it, and what do we do?

Carol mug.jpeg

Connections exists to help make the weekend services happen, to create a warm and welcoming place for all who attend, and to continue to offer our lives to God in worship in many different ways. That includes caring for others around us, and to love one another as we love ourselves. When we make the time and effort to meet each other’s needs, we are creating space in our lives to see Him work in amazing ways.

Connections is made up of teams of volunteers in the areas of:

  • Greeting Team
  • Information Center Team
  • Ushering Team
  • Acorn Cafe Team
  • Security Team
  • White Glove Team (light housekeeping between weekend services)
  • Tour Guide Team (offering information to visitors)

  If you have ever been new anywhere (and everyone has), you know how much it can mean when someone sees YOU and makes an effort to make you feel comfortable / special / noticed / cared-about / heard / appreciated……you get the idea. YOU have the ability to give that gift to someone else, and Connections Ministry would love to help you do that. 

    To talk more about how you might like to be that blessing, talk to someone serving on a Connections Team at church. They can tell you how to get more information, or they can invite you to serve with them for a service time to see if you like what they do. Or contact the Serving Coordinator at Five Oaks Church. Her name is Jennifer Clemens, and her email is  Either way, you have some really great conversations ahead of you, and you’re about to see how God is going to use you in ways you may not have imagined. 

Thanks for reading,

Carol Jorgensen, Connections Manager


Thank you.

Thank you.

You come here each weekend and you serve others
    and you brighten our doorways
    and you meet people’s needs
    and you listen
    and you help
    and you try
    and above all you’re there.

You might be the first, 
    or only friendly face someone sees in their entire week.

You praise each other’s strengths
    and bear each other’s failings, 
    because that’s what we all are, 
    a collection of strengths and failings…
    examples of God’s mercy and grace.

And I am so blessed by each and every one of you,
    because you extend that same grace to me.

It is a highlight of my weekend here at church to be able to see each one of you,
    to be able to walk around and thank you,
    to catch up with you and say hi.

Each one of you matters so much…
    to me, 
    to God, 
    and to the folks that walk through our doors.

And I have to believe that each one of you carry the same attitude into your everyday, 
    walking-about-the-world lives, 
    because how could you not?

It is who you are.

So thank you for being you
    and for letting others see that.

You bless me
         every day.

-Carol Jorgensen
Connections Manager

Meet Shane and Dawn Beavers

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.

It doesn't work without you.

Serving. More than just a nice idea, it’s a part of discipleship! Our Connections Ministry, once called First Impressions, meets many needs: to help make the weekend services happen, to create a warm and welcoming environment for all who attend, and to show the spiritual gift of hospitality to one another. But did you know it’s also something God says is part of being a growing, maturing follower of Jesus?

God calls us to serve one another and to offer our whole lives as an act of worship to him. Throughout the Bible, he tells us how much he values caring for the stranger in our midst, for the widow, the orphan, for our neighbors…..and to love each other as we love ourselves. When we make the time and effort to meet one another’s needs, we are creating spaces in our lives to see him work in amazing ways. 

Are you experiencing the joy of serving someone else and discovering your gifts along the way? Are you giving your kids the blessing of thinking of other people and seeing how God uses them to make someone else feel welcome?

Five Oaks needs YOU to find a place to serve, but the best part is, you will receive so much more than you give. Connections is in need of volunteers in several areas. Below are the ministry areas and the number of openings we need yet to fill for this ministry year:

Acorn -- 7
Greeters -- 9
White Glove -- 5
Safety & Security -- 3
Ushers -- 9

If any of these areas sounds appealing, for a once-per-month serving commitment, please email me at to see how you and your family can get involved. You WILL make a difference.