where love is alive 

     

First of all, I want to take a moment to give a huge THANK YOU to all who helped with Trunk or Treat!  So many of you pitched in to prepare and serve popcorn and hot dogs, register guests, hand out flyers, pray with guests. manage crowd overflow, etc. while adapting to last minute changes.  YOU are awesome and these events could not be possible without YOU!  

Despite the rainy weather we still had at least 750 in attendance at this year’s Trunk or Treat. Thankfully, we have the space to allow for bad weather, so we were able to move the “trunks” into the gym and still give out candy and food.  All participants were able to stay dry even while waiting in line thanks to the covered walkway that connects the buildings.  Many guests were complimentary of the fact that we still carried through with the event given the weather situation. 

        One of the best parts of the night was the prayer station.  This was the first year of the addition, but it definitely won’t be the last.  There was a great response from individuals requesting prayer for themselves, family members, and friends, and so many of them thanked our members for asking if they could pray with them on the spot.  Giving out candy and food and providing a safe environment for families to have fun are wonderful ways to show those in our community that we care.  However, when we ask someone if we can pray for them or with them, we are showing them that they are important to us and especially to God. The Bible tells us, “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another…” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)  How comforting is it to have someone randomly ask, “Do you have a need in your life that I could pray about with you?”  I am sure any person on any given day can come up with several needs to take to God in prayer.  I know I can. 

        The first few years of doing these events I was pretty much “going through the motions” and “learning the ropes” of how to effectively manage them, but the addition of the prayer station for Trunk or Treat this year was a great reminder for me.  Each event I plan should be done with the purpose of introducing people to Jesus, plain and simple.  All the small details will work themselves out, and if something goes wrong, all will be okay.  But making sure Jesus is front and center is what it’s all about. 

        So, let this be a challenge to us as a church family. It is so easy to get caught up in doing the business of the church, and events that are done year after year can become almost automatic to carry out. I pray that God gives us eyes to see how in every situation we can intentionally show people we care and most importantly that God cares.  I pray that we take every opportunity afforded us to introduce someone to Christ.  I pray that we don’t get so comfortable that we forget God calls us to service and putting others above ourselves.  I know I need this reminder on a regular basis in my life.  

                                                                                                            With a grateful, thankful heart,

                                                                                                                                                 Holly

 

Chrystal Bates has volunteered to teach elementary age Children’s Church during Chris Berry’s off months, so it will resume this Sunday.  Thank you to both Chris and Chrystal for following God’s call in leading this important children’s ministry. 

 

 

 

 

We are just two weeks away from Trunk or Treat!  This has become one of the largest attended events we have at North Cleveland, which gives us the perfect opportunity for outreach right here on our own campus.  Something as simple as handing a child a piece of candy or an adult a free bag of popcorn is showing them that we care.  However, we want to be more intentional with our outreach efforts and are adding a couple new stations this year.

      The first addition is a prayer tent. It is very difficult for those serving hot dogs, snow cones, etc. to be able to strike up a conversation with someone when there is a line of people waiting behind them.  However, if we have members of our church family stationed to initiate conversations with our guests throughout the evening, it opens the door to simply let them know we care about them and would like to pray for them or even with them at that moment.  We can get prayer requests and contact information to use for follow-up after the event. 

      The second addition is a station near the registration tables highlighting our church and the ministries we have to offer. Many who attend Trunk or Treat may already have a church home, but several who come through may be looking for a church to attend.  This will also be a wonderful way to share our many preschool, children’s and youth programs with parents and caregivers.  This station will also provide church members an opportunity to make some personal connections with our guests.

      I would like to send a special thanks to those who have donated candy and volunteered to be present that evening to help in so many ways!  If you haven’t signed up for a spot, it’s not too late to do so! 

      Lastly, I would like to remind those who are providing trunks, please only plan to distribute candy and not include a game with your trunk.  We are hoping this will help the line move a bit faster.  If you would like to provide a game for the children to play, I will be happy to have a spot for you in another area.  They love the games, too!

      Thank you for always supporting the ministries for our children and families.  None of this could be possible without YOU!

                                                                                                                                                    With a grateful heart,

                                                                                                                                                                       Holly

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