Sunday, October 16, 2016

Pumpkin Patch Evangelism

By the end of today, with luck and some dedicated labor, our church's front yard area will be transformed into a pumpkin patch.  Our pastor reminded us that no other event so connects us to our local community in the widest way.  Often when I describe the location of the church, someone will say, "Oh, the one that has the pumpkin patch every year!"

The sight of a pumpkin patch in front of a church does provide some visibility in the time of year when most motorists aren't noticing us.  We have lots of people stopping by who would ordinarily never give us a second thought.  We have brochures that tell people about our church.  But I doubt that pumpkin purchasers ever come back for worship.

We don't do it to be widely known for having a pumpkin patch, of course.  We do it because it raises a large amount of money in a short amount of time.  In my heart of hearts, I'm not sure it's worth the effort, but the majority of our church does.

We use the money that we raise for education--some years VBS, some years sending youth to the national gathering, some years for supplies.  One year the money helped repair the roof--it might not seem like supporting the community until one thinks about how many community organizations use our building, from AA groups to the drama group for developmentally disabled youth. 

I'm struck by the ways that our pumpkin patch serves as spiritual formation.  I love the way it brings our church together.  Much like Vacation Bible School, it's a time period where we need everyone to help out when and where they can.  Some of us offload pumpkins.  Some of us sell them.  Some of us show up in the evenings to turn the pumpkins to keep them from rotting.

So, if you haven't already bought your pumpkin(s) for the season, drop by a local church pumpkin patch.  Your dollars will go further than if you bought a pumpkin at a grocery store. 

If you're in South Florida and you want to support my church, it's Trinity Lutheran at the corner of 72nd and Pines Blvd, across the street (but on the same side of the street) from the South campus of Broward College.

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