By Crystal Ludwig
Baseball bats snapped. Frying pans were rolled. Cement blocks were broken. Telephone books were ripped. Hot water bottles were inflated until they burst. A flaming telephone pole was lifted high overhead.
And hundreds of people committed their lives to Christ, as a result.
Community Grace Brethren Church of Warsaw, IN, hosted the internationally known Power Team in a series of performances and evangelistic presentations February 1-5, 2006.
The Power Team is a group of powerful men and one woman who perform amazing feats of strength. During and after their presentations, The Power Team communicates the gospel and encourages a daily relationship with Jesus Christ.
Community Grace scheduled the Power Team in order to make a significant impact on the Warsaw area. Executive pastor Tom Abbitt says reaching out to the community “is our biblical mandate! We were praying for opportunities to reach out and have an impact on our community.”
Pastor Abbitt notes the reason Community Grace chose to use the Power Team in its outreach endeavors is because “we are a pretty ‘athletic’ church and this seemed to fit our niche. Plus, we needed to be stretched in our faith and vision, and having an internationally known group like The Power Team here has certainly done that.”
The church advertised the events all over their upper Midwest town, including banners, posters, and radio and newspaper interviews. The church tried to avoid advertising only with other local churches. Instead, they hung posters in local bars and liquor stores. “If we hope to reach the lost then we need to be rubbing shoulders with (them),” explains Power Team coordinator Dennis Brown. The church also hung a banner across the main street in Warsaw to ensure the community knew about the event.
The best advertisements, however, were the assemblies the Power Team held in local public schools during the days they were in Warsaw. “The kids would go home and tell their parents how cool that was and they would come back at night and hear the gospel,” says Abbitt.
The Power Team performances were a great success. “We had an unbelievable response,” says Abbitt. He indicates that 364 decisions for Christ and rededications had been recorded in the course of three nights, and he estimates that between 3,500 and 4,000 people were ministered to through the Power Team. And the audience weren’t the only ones affected.
“Our (congregation’s) lives are being changed themselves from hosting this event,” says Abbitt. “We are so deeply grateful to God for showing His favor to us and to the lost ones of our community that we want to love to Christ!”
The Power Team performances are only a small part of Community Grace’s ongoing effort to minister to its community. The church celebrated its 50th anniversary on January 15, 2006.
This fall the church will be going through the 40 Days of Purpose program. “We have purposeful, targeted events for cultivating, planting, and reaping scheduled throughout the year. Our goal is to see 50 new lives for our 50th anniversary in 2006!” says Abbitt.
For more information on The Power Team, visit their website at www.thepowerteam.com, call (972) 484-8333, or write them at PO Box 816404, Dallas, TX, 75381.
Crystal Ludwig, a Grace College journalism major, is an editorial intern with FGBC World during the spring, 2006 semester.