Meet the Rev. Dr. Charlie Yoost: Director of Religious Life & Church Outreach

Posted on December 06, 2018

Although stepping out of retirement to assume a full-time ministry position wasn’t something the Rev. Dr. Charles Yoost had planned for, he sees very clearly that this position has chosen him and he has enthusiastically accepted the call. Beginning in September 2018, Yoost is the new Director of Religious Life and Church Outreach.

“It seemed like a natural connection,” said Yoost. “I’m retired and have been looking for a way to give back and help the church, but in a different way than being a local pastor, which I did for 46 years. I’m looking forward to this change of pace – this will be a different twist on ministry for me.”

Yoost was introduced to Lakeside because of his father, who also had a career as a pastor in the United Methodist Church (UMC). Every summer when his father needed to attend the East Ohio Conference, Yoost looked forward to everything Lakeside had to offer him as a child, and then as a teenager.

It was actually as a seminary student in 1973 in Hoover Auditorium that Yoost met his wife, who was also at Lakeside serving as East Ohio Conference Youth Council president

As a native of Youngstown, Yoost earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Akron, then his Master of Theology and Doctorate of Ministry in pastoral care and counseling from Boston University School of Theology. Yoost also served at Church of the Saviour in Cleveland Heights.

He knew he wanted to be a pastor after seeing the role of support that his father was able to provide for people.

“I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives,” he said. “The most meaningful thing for me is being there for people during the crisis points of their lives. It’s inspiring to me to see how people are able to cope with the things that life may hand them. It gives me real encouragement and hope to see that.”

Yoost has previously served as a pastor with the East Ohio Conference of the UMC. He was the Senior Pastor of Church of the Saviour in Cleveland Heights for 17 years. He also served as superintendent of the Mansfield District and was elected dean of the Cabinet in 1997. He is a three-time General Conference delegate and a World Methodist Conference delegate. Yoost has served as a trustee for Ohio Northern University and as a staff member of the Lakeside Institute for 23 years. He also spent time on the Lakeside Chautauqua Board of Trustees and has served as a Preacher of the Week in years past.

Along with his current position with Lakeside, Yoost also serves as an Associate for Care at the Old Stone Church in Cleveland, and on The Marsh Chapel Advisory Board for Boston University.

From his time as a young youth minister at Lakeside to these current part-time advisory positions, Yoost has demonstrated a lifetime of commitment to helping others grow in their spirituality.

“I’m looking to continue the strong religious tradition at Lakeside, and also to bring programs to a new generation of young people – specifically millennials and teenagers,” he said. “My hope is for them to have the kind of experience that so many of us have had at Lakeside.

“This is such a beautiful and natural setting for spiritual experiences. The services on the shore are unique opportunities to combine nature and faith. Lakeside is very much a holy ground. Many people have found Christ here – ministers have been ordained here, people are baptized, married and laid to rest here.”

Looking toward the future, Yoost wants to keep the strong foundations of faith that have been laid at Lakeside – Sunday worship services, Faith for Living Hour, Vespers, the prayer breakfast, Generosity & Stewardship Conference, Retreat for Local Pastors and the youth programs. But instead of keeping everything the same, he wants to dive into the details and expand the reach of faith at Lakeside. This might look like enhancing the Hoover Worship Service with new technology or by inviting youth guests to be a part of those services. He also wants to improve and grow the College Station program to include the many seasonal employees that Lakeside welcomes every summer.

As a third-generation Lakesider (his six grandkids now compose the fifth generation), Yoost has always held this small community close to his heart – as a place of vacation, a home-away-from-home, a site for spiritual renewal and now as a new avenue for ministry.