Community outreach is important at Grace Fellowship Church of Pickerington, Ohio (Keith Minier, pastor). “We want it to be part of the DNA and part of the culture of who we are and what we do,” says Nicole Waggoner, head of the Impact Team, the group who is responsible for planning such events.
To that end, the Ohio church plans six or seven outreach events each year. Over Valentine’s Day the church completed the Cookie Crush. “[Members of] our church baked and donated more than 700 dozen cookies, and we packaged them into bags of one dozen each,” Waggoner explains. “Then they were taken into the schools and given to all the teachers, custodians, secretaries, that kind of thing. We also gave them to local firemen and police officers.”
The biggest event they do each year is called Eggsplosion and takes place on Good Friday, according to Waggoner. “A helicopter comes and drops empty plastic eggs onto a field. And then the kids collect the plastic eggs and exchange them for candy,” she explains.
And the event is growing. “It started with about 90 people. Two years ago we had about 1,100 people. Last year we had more than 3,000 people,” Waggoner reports. In addition to candy, the church provides a free meal and carnival-style entertainment. “And then as they leave, we hand them fliers inviting them to our Easter service,” she adds.
Information about Eggsplosion appeared on the church’s website. Waggoner and her team also put up posters around the neighborhoods. “It’s grown in reputation to the point where people are contacting us now,” Waggoner adds.
Some wonder what these events to do lead people to Christ. “Giving them a dozen cookies doesn’t necessarily lead them to Jesus,” Waggoner explains, “but we’re hoping that all of these events develop a platform of credibility for our church in the community so they know that we’re a church that wants to love them where they are.” – by Andrea Skowronski