CityTeam Ministries Oakland held its first Family Faire Day at the Lafayette Square Park in Oakland, Ca., with the vision starting a church-planting movement among the families.
“Our goal is to begin what we call family connection groups, small groups that meet in the homes of families and connect with families and do inductive bible studies,” said Alyssa Penman, Rescue Mission Manager of CityTeam Ministries Oakland.
The Family Faire Day on May 29 served as a platform for the ministry to introduce the program to the families in West Downtown Oakland Community. Participating families received bags with USDA non-fat dried milk, cases of ramen noodles donated by Prince of Peace Warehouse, several pounds of Peet’s coffee, and a flier inviting them to join one of the Family Connections groups.
“We eventually want to see small groups of disciples being created and growing and becoming a movement for church growth,” explained Penman.
Centered around a grassroots model, Family Connection groups would be led by a trained volunteer from CityTeam Ministries who would conduct Bible studies, chronologically progressing from the Old Testament to the New Testament. Eventually, the goal is to hand the reigns of the group to a participant who would expand the group by reaching out to neighbors and family members.
After the group is solidified and then they make their commitment to Christ, they turn to reaching out to their families, said Penman.
“We’re trying to help them to love their neighbor,” she said.
Family Faire Day was only the first event planned to promote the Family Connection groups. Debbie Wenrich, a volunteer who coordinated the event, allowed her children to develop games for the Faire such as a fishing game, a bowling pin game, and a rubber duck race.
Penman reported it was encouraging for CityTeam Ministries Oakland to welcome 600 people to the Family Faire Day.
“Usually, when we do an new event, the turnout is fairly low. To see approximately 600 there was unreal,” she reflected. “It showed that God was really blessing what we were doing. The families that were neglected for such a long time, God cares about them.”
At the end of this month, CityTeam Ministries Oakland will also hold the School’s Out Summer Lunch Giveaway on June 26. Volunteers will fill 600 bags with food and take them to apartments in the West Downtown Oakland area. A flier for Family Connection groups will also be included in the bag.
Penman said she is hoping that the ministry’s efforts will bring love, peace, and compassion to the community.
“We’ve been praying for the city of Oakland for a long time,” said Penman. “We know that God’s heart is with the young people of Oakland for the future of Oakland. Everything we saw from the favor the city to getting the health permits to getting the differ items donated, everything worked in a way that was truly miraculous. We could see that God was there from the beginning.”