Adventure, climbing, sliding, running, evangelism. Why shouldn’t those go together? At The Park at Grace, these everyday fun activities allow families to connect with the local church.
Grace Community Church, a Charis Fellowship congregation in Goshen, Ind. (Jim Brown, lead pastor), will open The Park at Grace this Saturday. This indoor park features a 6,000 square-foot space that can hold around 200 people – surrounding a 23-foot-tall playground. The Park is free to the public.
“It came from our desire to be known as a church in the community and for the community,” says Jim Brown, lead pastor of Grace. “We began exploring ideas and recognized that as a parent, there’s not a place to take your kids to hang out indoors.”
The church already has an indoor track, weight room, and fitness center that includes bikes, ellipticals, and treadmills that are free to the community, so the addition of this indoor park allows entire families to enjoy spending time at Grace – something the congregation hopes will lead to many open doors.
Mark Armbruster, recreation director, will oversee the large group of volunteers who will keep the Park at Grace running smoothly. The indoor playground allows the church to connect with its surrounding community, but it also allows the church to continue to live out its values.
“We want to be the fittest church in America,” says Brown, “because we believe that the living God lives in us. We want to give Him a place to live that does not render ourselves ineffective to be used by Him.”
But above all, the Park at Grace is about bringing people to God.
“Your best conversation for evangelism bridges from natural conversation,” Brown says. “We don’t want people to feel targeted, but our goal is to engage visitors in conversation – connecting God to life and doing so with the hope that regular conversations lend themselves to spiritual conversations.”
There is an event room attached to the park that may be reserved for parties, and another room connected to the playground for parents to sit, drink coffee or soda, and enjoy conversation while their kids enjoy some adventure.
“For many, it may be their first time inside of a church building, which is an incredible opportunity in itself,” says Brown. “Our hope is that they’ll be curious and think, ‘Here’s a church that cares about us. I want to learn more.’”
Click here to send a note of encouragement to Jim Brown.
This story first appeared in GraceConnect eNews. To subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter that includes news and information from congregations in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, click here.