Reminders About Established Church




  • It is not good to receive the call to an established church with an agenda to change the church drastically, unless that has been agreed upon.


  • It is not good to try to change a church just because of your personal desire.


  • Sometimes leaders become unaware of how people are reacting to their leadership decisions, because they are isolated/insulated, or because people are not honest with them.


  • We must honor what others have done in the past, not act as if previous ministries do not matter.
  • Just because it has been done or exists as an attitude does not mean it was or is good in God’s opinion.


  • The same church that understood the missional reasons to do things a certain way in the past can understand the missional reasons not to do things a different way.

Story of Growth

Story of Growth Download

By dates and physical (approx.)



1934          Began with 30 people in store front. Carl Burnham, pioneer

1938          Moved to small building near university

                  Emphasis on evangelism – personal and end-of-service

1955          Built on Fir Hill, contingent to University of Akron

1962          Carl Burnham dies in surgery; son David becomes pastor

1960’s        Emphasis on huge music ministry, pulpit, home studies

1973          Move into 1900-seat sanctuary

1970’s        Grow to two duplicate services, strong evening service

1980          First branch church in Marlboro – 25 miles away

1981          People and staff start Hudson Chapel – 10 miles away

1983          Knute Larson becomes senior after 14-month period with no senior

1984          Big 60-second TV and radio spots on secular stations.

1985          Start branch church in North Canton – 14 miles away

                  Build gym, kids rooms, youth area ($13 M paid in three years)

                  Start “Super Monday” to help pastors

                  Tried three main senior associates for staff leadership

1986          Go to three worship services

                  Begin partnership with Arlington Church and racial reconciliation ministry

1987          Began using “business advisors” related to finances

1990          Go to four worship services, with ABFs all four hours

1991          Begin branch church in Kent – 7 miles away

                  Totally rewrote constitution

1994          Build more CE space ($3.5 M, paid for in three years)

1995          Craig Williford first executive pastor (director of ministries) since ‘84

1996          Go to five worship services – 4 in the morning, duplicate at 6:30

1997          Began Chapel Association of churches

1998          Begin stated journey to 50% of money to go “outside our walls”

2000          Begin urban ministries and a lot of city outreach

2001          Begin branch church at Wadsworth – 12 miles away

2002          Raise $25 M for new campus, camp, three buildings overseas (paid totally in five years)

2003          Second main campus begins with 3500, first day

2004          Emphasis on Home ABFs along with ABFs

2005          Start very contemporary worship at 6:40 p.m.

2006          Paul Sartarelli joins as associate senior (senior to be)

                  Clear plan announced.

                  Started “Imagine Unity,” coalition of six church organizations, four African-American

2007          Start extra venues on campus (live worship, screen sermon)

2009          Larson leaves; Sartarelli senior


Financial Practices


  1. “Faith Promise” each October for missions budget only.
  2. All building programs: raised 3-5 year pledges ahead.  All finished on exact date as planned.
  3. Monthly supply of offering envelopes sent.
  4. Budget based on actual of previous year.
  5. Trustee finance committee decides all salaries, perks.
  6. Total confidentiality as to giving.
  7. Salaries studied with other church surveys and local schools.