Last Friday morning, I sat with Cleve Wootson at the McDonald’s on Sugar Creek. Cleve is an amazing guy (and fellow Mac user) and I really enjoyed our conversation. Throughout our conversation, it was apparent that his goal was to understand the heart of our church. (that’s what made this McDonald’s Diet Coke of special)
Here is the subsequent article by Cleve for the Charlotte Observer. I believe that this is one of the best reports to date.
Church turns heads with high-profile response to theft
CLEVE R. WOOTSON JR. – firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave Milam has a message for whomever stole his church’s trailers last month, making off with most of the Concord congregation’s supplies and leaving dozens of Bibles in a heap 15 miles away on Freedom Drive.
The two-year-old Kinetic Church has taken out billboards — visible from Interstate 85 and I-277, and near the N.C. 49/U.S. 29 split in Charlotte. The wording is sarcastic and purposely edgy:
“Stealing from God … ballsy,” one says.
“Ever worry about lightning strikes?” asks another.
The campaign, Milam says, offers insight into the 250-member nondenominational church, which is about 2 years old and has been meeting in a movie theater at Concord Mills mall since October. Before the trailer was stolen, the church used it to shuttle books, children’s materials and a sound system between the theater and an office/warehouse.
The church is aimed at “getting the people who are missing from other churches,” people in their 20s and 30s, Milam says.
“I think that really is who we are. We want to do whatever it takes to help and care about somebody,” he said. “I would like to have just a mess of people who are a mess. I’m not going after the people who are in khakis and polos and have been in church all their life.”
So far, Milam says, the response to the billboards has been more positive than negative. Church members have used their own money at Wal-Mart to replace supplies. Others have donated money. But some have derided the church, saying the messages are too sarcastic. One YouTube commentator said it was wrong to put “ballsy” on a sign sponsored by a church.
But Milam said the campaign was about “how do we create enough noise that this guy or group of guys will log on” to the church’s Web site — www.onelifechurch.tv.
“If we’re going to go after caring about these people, then we have to put our reputation on the line,” he said.
At the site, there’s a link to a video message on YouTube, “To Those Who Stole Our Stuff.”
If the suspects do come forward, Milam says, he plans to extend forgiveness and an invitation to a meal — no handcuffs, no police, just a conversation.
“I’ve thought about it, and the first question I ask will probably be `tell me about you,’ ” he said. “We may not even talk about the trailer.”