Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Get Plugged In....Family Festival

Today's blog post is by Hannah Montgomery....the illustrious leader of the GLCC's Family Festival.

The yearly Family Festival never fails to excite and bless me. To many it’s just an event the church has to bring in some community people and show everyone a good time. To me it’s a chance to put my all into creating a fun and safe place for our church members and our community to come together and have fun. It’s a time to connect people who may have never met before. It’s a chance to offer a good time for free to some families who may not have the money to go to Chuck E. Cheese or House of Bounce. It’s an opportunity to collect food for our food pantry, to offer a warm and inviting smile to a child or parent who just needs a moment of being happy. It’s being real, authentic, community minded, carefree, and just plain crazy!
You can’t downplay how much of an outreach it is. I used to wonder what kind of impact we were actually having with this event. I mean, there is no preaching or curriculum or anything like that. But there are smiles given out at every booth, there’s a puppet show sharing about Jesus, there are prizes given out that make a child feel special, there is an invitation to come in and see our church without the uncomfortable feeling of being out of place. There are so many people that come through our doors on the day of the Family Festival that would have never come here on a Sunday. It’s our chance to show them what we have to offer and then in the long run, what God has to offer. It’s getting our foot in the door. An opportunity to make a little crack so that God can step right in and continue to work in those lives.
The one thing that does put a damper on things for me each year is the lack of our own church community at the Festival. We scrounge up volunteers and the majority of the people enjoying the games and events, I have never seen before. This is a great thing, don’t get me wrong, but I wish more of our own church family would join in on the fun… on the opportunity to connect with others in the community.
I always struggle with the sign up part of this planning process. Not trying to guilt anyone or anything, but we have upwards of 600 people in this church. We advertised via bulletin, a movie clip and a long announcement on Sunday and we had about 10 people sign up… 4 of which are teens. What in the world?! One day of the year… 2 ½ hours of your day, actually… and out of at least 600 we get 10. I honestly just don’t get it. What does it take to interest people? To pull them in to this great opportunity? I have so much passion for this event and I so badly want to be able to transfer that to the rest of the congregation. I want to throw it out there and have God put that desire to be involved in your hearts.
I haven’t been able to control that frustration yet. My flesh gets frustrated every time. I never understand the lack of volunteers. But I constantly try to let go and give the frustration to God. I pray that He will move those in the congregation to sign up. To take action. To give of their time for God and for others.  In the end, I want others to volunteer for that reason. For God and others. Not because they feel guilted or because they want some credit for volunteering. It has to be a God thing. But that doesn’t mean I’ve come to terms with that yet… my controlling flesh wants to guilt you like crazy!! J
I do still want to challenge you. Is God asking you to become involved? To take action? Maybe not even in this event (though I hope he is!!) There are so many places in our church where we need volunteers and it seems like we get the same handful of people every time. How awesome would it be for everyone to be plugged in somewhere. Just one place. Receiving and giving. I mean, that’s what it should be. So what in the world is holding us back…

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