More than 4,000 people from Kennett Missouri attended a block party hosted by the Abundant Life Assembly of God. Nearly 100 church volunteers distributed 2,500 copies of the “Book of Hope” evangelism outreach booklet along with several gifts, including a Mercury Sable donated by the local dealership.
According to the Senior Pastor Larry Dugger, the outreach, which glittered with carnival rides, inflatable games, ponies, Christian bands and free food, was simply done for evangelism.
"To reach our generation, we have to go above and beyond just having a revival or special service," said Dugger.
In the week following the outreach, 400 new visitors came to Abundant Life Church the next Sunday. Of them, 200 returned for evening service.
"What we try to do is meet people's unspiritual needs so we can have an opportunity to meet their spiritual needs,” added Dugger.
While the cost for the block party, which enteretained nearly half of the estimated 10,000 in the city, totaled $30,000, the church paid out only $5,000, thanks to the numerous donations made by local businesses.
Twenty-eight Master's Commission students from Praise A/G in Springfield, Missouri, performed dramas and helped with one-on-one evangelism during the Saturday and Sunday event.
"Anytime we get a chance to help churches out, it's a great opportunity for us to become better evangelists," said Patrick Verbetem, Master's Commission director. "The way the church put the outreach on was incredible.”