Since Pastor Nathan and Shana Gast began in the ministry in 2005, they have hosted an annual Strawberry Fellowship in their home for the church family after an evening church service. They got the idea from Shana’s home church, North Court Baptist Church, Ottumwa, Iowa. There, Pastor Roger and Beth Hemmings have been hosting this event for years. At Urbandale Baptist, the event gives the church “the opportunity to come over to the parsonage and enjoy the cool, fresh, spring air, as well as a time of good food and fellowship,” says Gast, who has been pastor of Urbandale Baptist since October 2013.
As in years past, guests at this year’s Strawberry Fellowship enjoyed a wide variety of delectable, homemade strawberry treats, including chocolate-covered strawberries, strawberry cobblers, strawberry kabobs, strawberry lemonade, and strawberry ice cream.
“Along with the wonderful time that was had, and the great food, we also were able to fellowship a bit longer with two visitors that attended our service on Sunday evening from Poland, who are here in the States for a summer job,” Gast says. “One individual was Catholic, the other Greek Orthodox, and both wanted to experience a Baptist service! One of the young men laughingly said as he was leaving, ‘This is the first church I have ever gone to where you heard a great message, left, and then immediately went to Heaven!’ Please pray for these two young men that they might accept the gospel.”
The Strawberry Fellowship is just one of the events the Gasts host to invite the church family and neighbors into their home. As well as having people over regularly for barbecues, lunches, and kids’ playdates, the couple also host a Christmas Open House.
Pastor Nathan says, “Anything we can do to serve others—and through that serve Christ and let God get the glory—is what we desire to do.”