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Oklahoma City churches lose and come up as winners

Shartel Church of God in Oklahoma City recently won first place in the Lose to Serve church weight-loss challenge. The church won a new home to give to a member of its congregation.
by Carla Hinton Published: July 1, 2014


photo - 
Jessica Patterson Rimmer, Mid America Christian University’s dean of student life, and Cody Bobay, founder of Lose to Serve, present a Mid America Presidential Scholarship to Bryanna Weaver, 18, a member of Westmoore Community Church, during the recent Lose to Serve Church Challenge Celebration at the church, 12609 S Western. PHOTO PROVIDED
Jessica Patterson Rimmer, Mid America Christian University’s dean of student life, and Cody Bobay, founder of Lose to Serve, present a Mid America Presidential Scholarship to Bryanna Weaver, 18, a member of Westmoore Community Church, during the recent Lose to Serve Church Challenge Celebration at the church, 12609 S Western. PHOTO PROVIDED

The Rev. Steve Chiles has a church full of losers — and they just won big.

Chiles and his congregation at Shartel Church of God, 11600 S Western, won first place in the Lose to Serve Fitness Challenge conducted from January to March.

By losing weight together, members of the congregation beat out other Oklahoma City metro-area churches for the grand prize: a new home to give away to a church member. They chose Karissa Smith.

“It’s been a great journey,” Chiles said recently.

“It was always there in the back of your mind: I don’t want to be the one to cause a family not to get a home. I think that was a bigger incentive.”

Cody Bobay, a personal trainer, fitness coach and self-described “fitness evangelist,” and his organization called Lose to Serve issued the challenge to metro-area congregations, urging church members to get fit, get healthy and lose weight.

Chiles said he felt the time was right to take on such a health-focused mission.

“I’m a real firm believer that food addiction and the obesity issue is just one of the issues that the church has avoided because it’s so personal to them,” he said. “And I just felt like this would be a great opportunity if we didn’t do anything else — if we could just help a handful of people at our church get their lives back on track and reclaim their health and literally reclaim their body as a temple of God, it would be a really worthwhile venture for us.”

Getting fit to give back

Members of Shartel Church of God and other participating congregations gathered for the Lose to Serve Church Challenge Celebration event at Westmoore Community Church, the challenge’s second-place winner. The Rev. David Brown, Season 15 runner-up on “The Biggest Loser” reality TV show, shared insights from his successful weight-loss effort with the crowd.

Bobay, 28, said 30 churches participated in the challenge, with seven qualifying to compete for the grand prizes. Also competing for the two top prizes were: Southpointe Church, First Baptist Church of Moore, Discovery Church, Council Road Baptist Church in Bethany and Coffee Creek Baptist Church in Edmond.

Bobay, who attends Council Road Baptist Church, said he thinks the challenge worked well because congregations liked the idea of not only helping themselves by losing weight but also helping a deserving member of their church. He said participants from all of the churches combined lost a total of 4,951 pounds during the weight-loss effort. He said 617 people participated in the effort, with an average weight loss of 7.6 pounds.

“We finished with an 80 percent completion rate ... and that is incredible,” Bobay told the audience at the celebration event.

Participating churches were required to sign up as a group of at least 25 people age 18 or older to be eligible to win the grand prizes of a new house for first place and a four-year scholarship to Mid-America Christian University for second place.

Chiles said 54 members of Shartel Church of God participated in the challenge.

They won the new home by having the highest percentage of weight loss and the fewest dropouts. Bobay said the church lost an average of 11.7 pounds per participant for a total of 635.2 pounds. He said they finished with a 99 percent completion rate.

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by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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Lose to Serve

For more information about Lose to Serve, go to www.losetoserve.org or the organization’s Facebook page. Follow Cody Bobay and Lose to Serve on Twitter @LosetoServe.

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