This past week was IMPACT Week at CATR. We hosted a group of High School students from Calvary Baptist Church in Holland, MI for a week of Basketball Camp, Neighborhood Bible Clubs, community ministry and outreach. It was the first time in my career to be on the receiving end of a mission trip. It was different. I don’t know which is more work!
We had the opportunity to see many, many seeds planted in families and individuals in our community. We had over 42 kids involved in our basketball camp (almost all of them were from outside our church). I had challenged our folks (and might have upset some, but that’s ok) by saying “Don’t bring your kids to basketball camp unless you bring a friend or neighbor.” I told them that this wasn’t for US…the people in the church…it was for THEM…the people outside the church. It worked. While we could have had more “numbers” to boast about, we wouldn’t have had the reach into the community we were looking for. We had 3-4 of our church kids come and they did bring friends, but the rest were totally from the community and a large number are not associated with any church at all. That’s what we are after!
The neighborhood clubs were to take place in the evenings in a couple of neighborhoods. Well, momentum there was hard to come by. One neighborhood we were trying to use fell through at the last minute and wouldn’t you know it, God decides to send the much needed rain every evening this week! “My ways are not your ways…” He kept reminding us. We were able to pull off a couple of the clubs, albeit abbreviated (one only one night). Even so, we had a total of 64 kids attending for the week.
BUT GOD…had something planned. Thursday, we had scheduled to hold a free carnival at the Kroger parking lot. Promotion was mostly word of mouth through the clubs and camp and e-mail, along with drive-by. Well, that was the most gorgeous July day we could have asked for! Maybe the rain had kept people in earlier in the week and they were looking for something to do, but conservatively, over 500 people showed up that evening! WOW! The vast majority of those people seemed to have no real church connection either. Our CATR folks did an awesome job of just showing up, meeting and talking to people and handing out invites to church. The mission team from Mich. handled all of the events and food, so our people were free to mingle. It was certainly a great cap to a great week. I can’t wait until Sunday to see what kind of results this week will have!