By Christina Lopez
For the Salisbury Post
CLEVELAND ó Cornerstone Baptist Church’s Heart of a Sportsman ministry will sponsor “The Biggest Dadgum Outdoor Bazaar in Cleveland Ever” on the church campus Saturday.
The bazaar, which goes from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., will include drawings for outdoor-related prizes such as a truckload of mulch, festival games for kids, a silent auction, a yard sale and barbecue dinners with all the fixings for $6.50 a plate.
But Jeremy Harrill, Heart of a Sportsman group leader, said the purpose is more than winning prizes.
“It’s about introducing the church to the community and allowing the community to meet the church, and that is one of the most important things,” he said.
Proceeds for the event will help pay for Heart of a Sportsman’s mission trip to Montana, where the group is building a church for a community in need.
“Most of us have dreamed of going to Montana since we were kids and this is the perfect fit,” Harrill said.
Cornerstone started the Heart of a Sportsman group in September after Harrill noticed a shrinking number of men participating in the church.
“I think it is because men are bored with church and this group is designed to reach out to men and speak in their language,” he said.
The small group, which has nearly doubled in size since September, meets once a week for unique Bible studies and special events like a Wild Beast Feast, as well as lessons on how to sight in a scope, follow a blood trail and other outdoor-related activities and ministry projects.
“A Heart of a sportsman is a group of good ol’ guys who have a passion for the great outdoors,” Harrill said. “This group speaks their language, when I say mossy oak, muzzy broad head, elk haired cactus, brow ties, Carolina rig, and spit drum, to some those are just words, but to outdoorsmen that is sweet tea to the soul.”
The Rev. Mack Jarvis, Cornerstone’s pastor, said there’s a spiritual reason for that.
“When God created man he put them outside and there is something about the outdoors that makes men come alive,” Jarvis said.
In Heart of a Sportsman, Harrill said, that passion is a common bond, but “the object is to grow closer to Christ through the great outdoors.”
Jarvis said Cornerstone uses “innovative technology and outside the box methods to reach people for Christ,” but that smaller groups like Heart of a Sportsman are key in connecting people in larger church settings.
“We are hoping to grow larger and smaller at the same time,” he said. “Larger by attracting more people and smaller by getting people connected in small groups.”
Currently Cornerstone has developed 18 small groups; six of the groups meet on campus and 12 meet off campus in homes, restaurants and other various locations.
And they don’t just meet to talk.
Finishing a metal roof on a single mother’s home in the community and repairing houses for missionaries are some of the projects the Heart of a Sportsman group members have completed.
“These are guys who are good with their hands and are using those hands to help other people in need,” Harrill said. He’d like for guys just like them ó and people with other interests ó “to come and check our church out,” he said.
Cornerstone Baptist Church is at 200 Clearview Road. For more information, log on the church’s Web site at www.cornerstonenc.org.
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Contact Christina Lopez at 704-797-4280 or email@example.com.
By Christina Lopez