Doug Creamer: Serving others
Last weekend our church sponsored a Family Fest. It was a blast; you should have been there. We brought in several inflatables, including the tallest slide in the world. It was fun to watch people come down this incredible slide. The pastor was one of the first people to go. He tried to convince me to give it a whirl, but in the end I decided to pass.
We also gave a free lunch to all who came. Our men grilled some hotdogs, which included all the trimmings. For dessert we had a cup of Sweet Frog yogurt. There wasn’t a better deal in town. The fellowship around the food was sweet.
On top of all that we had some fun games for the whole family. There was the ring toss onto glass soda bottles. I didn’t know you could even buy glass soda bottles anymore. For fun you could toss cow patties into baskets…OK, they weren’t real cow patties! There was a penny toss, and darts to pop balloons. The hula hoop challenge was fun to watch. I ran the one where you had to hold a spoon and toss a frog onto a lily pad. That was fun for everyone, as those little frogs would hop right off those pads.
There were a number of fun games for both kids and adults. There was so much laughter surrounding the whole event. This fun time gave our church a chance to welcome visitors and give them a chance to check us out. Everyone that I saw looked like they were having a good time. This was an opportunity to serve our community.
There is a lot of work to putting on an event like this. Organization is not one of my gifts. I can do it, but it takes me twice as long as anyone else. Someone had to create the booths, signs, and the games themselves. Then all the parts for the games and the prizes had to be bought and organized. Then there is all the food that had to be purchased and cooked. There is another organizational nightmare. I haven’t even thought about the parking lot layout. There were lots of hours put in long before the big day on Saturday.
There were also people who invited folks to come. I am not very good at evangelism. I prefer to let others evangelize; I will teach them once they come. I am good at that! I stretched a little and invited people to our event. It’s hard to approach people in a parking lot, but once they heard about free food and a fun time people were interested. Most people who approach you in a parking lot are looking for a handout. In my case, I was giving something away.
Community outreaches are important for churches to do. Jesus was always out where the people were hurting. He ate with tax collectors and sinners, all in hopes of reaching the lost souls. I believe that Jesus was funny and engaging, not critical and condemning. The lost need to feel like they are loved and that someone cares before they can open their hearts to God. Each church has to figure out how they can be the hands and feet of Jesus to their community.
I believe it is vitally important to teach and train people for the work of the kingdom…that’s where my gifts lie. But the purpose for all that training is to take the love of Jesus out into a lost world. Yes, we need to do things to help Christians grow in their faith, but we can’t forget the importance of using that training to reach out to the disenchanted or the disconnected.
Why do we want to reach out? We want to grow our churches. Some churches have few, if any, young families. We have to reach out to families and help them connect, not only with our churches but with the Lord. We want to remember the importance of passing the baton on to the next generation.
I want to encourage you to get involved in your church’s outreach. It will challenge you, but that is OK. We have to remember there are so many people who are lost and haven’t found the path to God and we have the answer they desperately need. My pastor often tells us that sometimes it takes a human connection, a personal invitation, to get some people to come give us a try. Reach out, you may be surprised by how quickly they respond…sometimes they are just waiting for someone to invite them.
Contact Doug at email@example.com