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“This Is Our New Church”

posted on August 16, 2013, under Church, Conference by

Altamonte Springs Church conducted a successful community festival as part of Florida Conference Youth Department's Live With Hope Festival. (Photo: Devon McCarthy)

Altamonte Springs Church conducted a successful community festival as part of Florida Conference Youth Department’s Live With Hope Festival. (Photo: Devon McCarthy)

by Dan Schiffbauer

What does a church hope to accomplish when they set out to plan a community festival? Do the leaders have the discipling of their members in mind? Are they hoping for community awareness? Are they thinking of ways to showcase ministries of the church, provide activities and entertainment for the entire family, or present solutions for health issues?

All of these goals entered into the planning and fulfillment of the community festival held at Altamonte Springs, Fla, Church in June. However, one of the most exciting outcomes was realized when several women exclaimed, “This is going to be our new church,” and they have since attended Sabbath worship services numerous times.

Prior to the event, the church conducted a community Vacation Bible School, and many of the attending families then came to the Festival. A youth evangelism series called Living With Hope followed the Festival with an average nightly attendance of more than 100, including several community visitors.

Festival attendees visit the balloon ministry table and learn Bible stories while receiving creative balloon characters. (Photo: Devon McCarthy)

Festival attendees visit the balloon ministry table and learn Bible stories while receiving creative balloon characters. (Photo: Devon McCarthy)

As a pastor, I believe what happened at the Festival is significant. More than half of the 300 people attending were not members of the church, and more than 80 of these nonmembers registered for some type of information at the 35+ exhibits set up on the church grounds.

It was a time of awareness for the attendees when they realized our church members were definitely interested and involved in the community. This message was evident in exhibits such as: CREATION Health, Pathfinders, Discover Bible School, youth evangelistic meetings, Spanish-language ministries, and prayer ministries. More than 100 copies of The Great Hope were given away as well as New Testament copies of the Bible and other literature.

Participating organizations from the community included the Seminole County Fire Department, Red Cross’s Little Red Bus which received blood donations, and the Altamonte Springs Police Department offering free safety tips and giveaways for children. “This is one of the best-attended community services events I have been invited to,” said the attending officer.

Florida Conference President Mike Cauley and Dottie, his wife, middle, visit the Pathfinder and Adventurer table where guests learn about the Adventist Church's scouting program. Also pictured: Devon McCarthy, left, church treasurer and elder for youth and pathfinders; and Edwin Alvarez, Adventurer director.

Florida Conference President Mike Cauley and Dottie, his wife, middle, visit the Pathfinder and Adventurer table where guests learn about the Adventist Church’s scouting program. Also pictured: Devon McCarthy, left, church treasurer and elder for youth and pathfinders; and Edwin Alvarez, Adventurer director.

Vegetarian cooking demonstrations with samples and more than 20 health-related exhibits in the gymnasium featured a variety of health screenings including: blood pressure, blood glucose, peripheral vascular circulation, breast examinations, lung capacity, and vision. Free massages and chiropractor consultations were also available.

Additional health-related exhibits featured information from Florida Hospital on home health services, nutrition, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. The American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association were represented as well.

Young people provided live Christian music, and the Eliathah Church Pathfinder Drum Corps performed. SALT youth evangelism helped with puppet ministry, and several participants from Impact Orlando training helped with face painting and food preparation.

Editor’s Note: Altamonte Springs Church’s community festival was held as part of the Florida Conference Youth Department’s Live With Hope Festival which was conducted at Lake Eola Park and Festival Park in downtown Orlando. Learn more about Impact Orlando and Live With Hope Festival.


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