Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Successful Community Outreach

Our AWANA Commander, Randy Short, was searching for opportunities to increase AWANA attendance, and pick up kids for Sunday School, Upward Basketball and Cheerleading, and other children's ministries at Westmoreland Baptist Church. His idea was to have a Fall Festival in the church gym on Trick or Treat night. It was a great idea, and a tremendous success.

One of our members last year suggested a "Trunk or Treat" project on the parking lot, but it was too late to pull it off when the idea was brought up. So we began to explore options for this year. Randy was willing to put this thing together, so I simply left it up to him, to make plans, enlist volunteers, and make it happen. I simply offered support. He and 4o other volunteers did a tremendous job!

A number of churches were doing "Trunk or Treat" this year, so Randy opted for the concept of having the event in the church gym. We weren't sure of what the weather would be like on Trick or Treat night, but we knew the climate would be under control in the gym. It was also bright, safe, and large enough to host a large group. We were able to offer free hotdogs, chips, and soft drinks to everyone who attended, and provide tables and chairs for them to eat at, and for the adults to rest while the youngsters took part in the various games, face paintings, and other activities. Various Sunday School classes had their own tables, where they gave treats to the children. The gym environment also allowed us to be able to control "foot traffic" and register each person in attendance, gaining valuable information on each person and family. By registering, the visitors became eligible for door prize drawings, and received tickets for the free food. Each registrant also received a Gospel tract, information brochure on the church, listing service times, ministry opportunities and other information. Each child also received a registration brochure for the upcoming Upward Basketball and cheerleading league.

Randy's records indicated that there were 513 registered visitors. 37 families were identified as not being part of any church family. These names were given to our G.R.O.W. teams and other outreach ministries for further contact. We don't know how many folks we may be able to reach for Christ as a result of the Festival, but we do know that six new children will be on the church van for Sunday School in the morning. For that, we praise God, and thank Him for the 41 volunteers who sacrificed their evening to accomplish two of our purposes - "Magnifying God and Ministering to People". Hopefully it will also provide inroads into the third purpose, "Making Disciples". Thursday evening was a nice ending to our "Spiritual Focus Week". In fact, our Revival Evangelist, Mike Osborne and wife Sue, stayed and extra night in town after the end of the Revival services and they attended the Festival along with their two grandchildren who live nearby!

Here are a few random photos we'd like to share with you.

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