Bringing the Church to Your Community
“If your church closed down today, would your town know that you were gone? Would they miss you?” When my older brother posed these questions to me a few years back, I had to admit that if my church were to close, it was possible that the majority of our city would never know or even care. Over the past several years I have sought to change the DNA of my church so that we pursue sinners through the activities, programs, and processes within the church, but also through tangible actions that bring the church to the community.
This past year we have seen some success in these endeavors. This past spring our city was hit by severe flooding. We contacted the mayor’s office to find out what we could do to help. They suggested that we help clean fences at the riverwalk when the waters subsided, and we gladly agreed. To our surprise, a photographer from the local paper appeared, took pictures, and interviewed several of our members who were serving in the cleanup. A few weeks later, we held our annual wrap-up party at the local pool and had a baptism there. We had 40–60 visitors at the baptism, and one of those visitors was the photographer from the local paper. A picture from the event appeared on the front page of the paper the following day. (Read “Church Members Seen throughout Indiana Community” at BaptistBulletin.org.)
Opportunities such as these go a long way in getting the news out to our community that there is a church in town that loves God and loves their city. Every August our community celebrates Strassenfest, and our church, working through the Chamber of Commerce, sets up a table to distribute free water to passersby. This water giveaway enables us to make contact with 600–1,200 of our neighbors. Another thing we do annually is host a community outdoor church service in the heart of Jasper called Church in the Park. This church service consists of a free breakfast, church service, free lunch, and other special events in the afternoon. Taking place along a busy walking path, this service gives our church a very visible presence in the community.
We have not found one great idea that makes our church visible and viable in the community, but we are constantly trying new ideas and methods to reach and engage our community with the gospel message.
David King, pastor
Fellowship Baptist Church
Trunk or Treat
Americans were expected to spend an average of $66 on Halloween last year, according to the National Retail Association. Most Christians would view such a large investment of money in Halloween as a terrible waste. Fair Haven Baptist Church in Kansas City, Kan., led by Pastor Nathan Gast, decided to use their “treat” money to invest in the sharing the gospel and befriending their community.
During Kansas City’s trick-or-treating hours, Fair Haven Baptist Church held an outreach project called “Trunk or Treat.” Church members parked their cars, which they had decorated, around the parameter of the church parking lot and handed out candy to neighborhood families who were trick-or-treating. Along with enjoying free hot dogs, soda pop, and hot chocolate, kids and parents received church information and gospel tracts. Children also enjoyed a free moon bounce and entered a free drawing for a boy’s and girl’s scooter. A miniature remote control racetrack set up alongside one of the parked cars advertised the church’s upcoming VBS, RBP‘s “Rev It Up, Full Throttle for God.”
With 350–400 members of the community taking advantage of the safe, fun, and free family-friendly event, the night became an excellent way for a church of only 40 members to share the gospel and meet the community. Through guests registering for the drawing for the scooters, the church had the opportunity to follow up with approximately 150 children and potential church families.
(Read “Church Holds October 31 ‘Trunk Or Treat‘ ” at BaptistBulletin.org.)
Sanctity of Life Celebration
Does your church underscore the importance of preserving life? You have a great opportunity to promote pro-life values with your church family by celebrating Sanctity of Life Sunday on Jan. 22, 2012.
Rustic Hills Baptist Church, Colorado Springs, Colo., supported Sanctity of Life this past year by sponsoring “Baby Bottle Boomerang.” Baptists for Life, a Biblically-based pro-life ministry, supplied the church with specially marked baby bottles. Pastor Stan Lightfoot encouraged church families and individuals to fill their bottles with nickles, dimes and quarters. The pro-life endeavor was capped by a visit to the church by Tom Lothamer, director of Baptists for Life, who received the money collected from the “baby bottle” donations on behalf of his ministry.
Plan now to observe Sanctity of Life in your church. Click here for more information about Baby Bottle Boomerang. See Baptists for Life for additional resources to promote pro-life values in your church.
(Read “Church Participates in Baby Bottle Boomerang” at BaptistBulletin.org.)