The blessing of beautiful fall weather contributed to record attendance at fall festivals and trunk or treat events at many churches around Arkansas during the latter days of October. We have received numerous reports of events and want to share some of the creative ways that churches blessed the families in their neighborhoods. Of course, the goal of every event is to share the love of Jesus with our neighbors and plant Gospel seeds. We hope you enjoy the pictures and find some new ideas as you begin to plan for 2022.
First Baptist Church in Russellville and their three church plants, Circle Church, Church in the Dirt, and Hello Church partnered with Oakland Elementary School for the school’s Fall Fest on Friday, October 22. The church provided volunteers as well as covering the cost of food, allowing families to enjoy the activities. There were carnival style games, a cake walk, s’mores, pony rides, and a hayride.
Crossroads New Baptist Church, west Pulaski County registered more than 40 families with no connection to the church as they hosted a fall fest on Saturday, October 23 that featured bounce houses, games with prizes and candy, free food, and family pictures. Bobo the puppet made an appearance at the fishing booth, much to the delight of children who had met him at VBS this past summer. These families will be contacted in the near future to follow up on prayer requests and connections made that evening.
First Baptist Church in Hamburg hosted their second annual community wide trunk or treat on the square in downtown Hamburg on Thursday, October 28th. Twelve vehicles and one semi-truck were decorated with Christian based fall themes and volunteers handed out candy to approximately 250 children.
Even more events were held the weekend of October 30 and 31.
Woodland Heights Baptist Church, Conway reported that in two hours on Saturday evening they passed out 1,462 Bibles and 1,200 hot dogs with chips. Activities includes a petting zoo and a balloon artist.
In the midst of pony rides and cake walks, every kid was given an “M&M® scavenger sheet” and encouraged to find all six Gospel stations, each represented by one of the M&M® colors (see following list), hear a story, get a stamp after hearing it, and then taking that to the M&M® table for a special treat (what else but M&M®s). Two thousand of these sheets were handed out!
• Brown — the cross that Jesus died on
• Red — the blood Jesus shed for our sins
• Orange — as the sun rose on the 3rd day, so did Jesus
• Blue — baptism
• Green — new life/growth
• Yellow — heaven
Steve Lasiter, children’s and outreach pastor stated, “How awesome it was to watch so many kids running around looking for the colored tables and hearing a part of the Gospel story. By the end of the night, entire families heard how Jesus came to save them.”
Geyer Springs FBC, Little Rock hosted the Raymar Harvest Festival at their Raymar Fields property in Bryant, Arkansas on Saturday, October 30. The Harvest Festival saw approximately 1,000 people come out and play games, get candy and prizes, and participate in a costume contest. There were four local food trucks on site for families to get lunch, enjoy the beautiful weather and watch their kids play on the playground. Geyer Springs had over 50 volunteers running game and activity stations and making connections with families from the community. Geyer Springs looks to continue to use the 52 acres of Raymar Fields for community events, fall and spring sports leagues and more.
Park Hill Baptist Church, North Little Rock hosted a trunk or treat on Saturday, October 30. It was a huge success and we had over 700 people attend, many of which were not associated with our church. It was so well attended that we had to make an emergency candy run halfway through the event! As a church it was really good to have an onsite activity that had a huge impact in the community around us.
Union Valley Baptist Church in Beebe hosted a fall festival on Saturday afternoon with six bounce houses and multiple games, some crafted by church members, spread over their large outdoor space. Pastor Tommy Miller said, “We had over 800 in attendance in the two hours we were out there. In fact, we were overwhelmed by it! Our follow up will start this week as we got names and addresses on most everyone who attended through the registration for the drawings we had for prizes.”
Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock moved their Family FunFest to a Saturday as a way to target more of the immediate community. The event was moved outside to be more Covid-friendly but it also gave more space for people and activities. There were games, trunk or treats, inflatables, a petting zoo, fire trucks, police cars, trash trucks, Disney princesses, live music and free food. We also changed the model from it being hosted by the staff to encouraging Sunday School groups and ministries to serve together. This worked out really well and created more ownership with the event. They invited two elementary schools from their immediate community. Many of these friends came, had a great time and were open to hearing more about God and the church.
Over 200 volunteers and 2000 participants attended the event. There were around 250 families that indicated they do not have a church home and would like more information. Each of these families got a personal text message on Saturday night after the event that afternoon.
Lindsay Venters, children’s director, said, “All in all, it was a great event that helped move the needle in our church and our efforts to be ‘For the City of Little Rock!’”
Life Line Baptist Church in Little Rock hosted their annual Trunk-Or-Treat on Sunday, Oct. 31 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. This year, they did a drive-through, giving out candy to over 200 cars and over 500 children. Misty Outlaw, Life Line’s children’s special events ministry team leader, pre-packaged the candy proportionally in plastic bags and distributed them amongst the cars of various themes. Each car was labeled upon arrival with the number of children in the car so that volunteers knew how many bags to hand out.
Cars were decorated in a variety of fun themes, including a Frankenstein trunk, whose owner posed as a ‘Ghost Buster’ and quoted James 4:7— “Resist the devil and he will flee from you”—to every car that drove through.
First Baptist Church in White Hall had 708 come through Sunday night with 57 families saying they would like more info on our church or mentioning they do not attend a church.
Parkway Place Baptist Church in West Little Rock hosted a “Trunk or Treat Drive Thru” outreach on Sunday, October 31. Church member Bit Stephens shared, “In a two-hour period we served 469 adults and children in 128 cars mostly from our community. They were engaged through various stops with warm smiles, candy, fun interaction, games, info about our church and the greatest treat of all, the great news of Jesus.”
One of the church staff members said it well. “I’d call that reaching our community!”
Central Baptist Church in Jonesboro Central Kids Ministry wanted to offer a fun free event to the community, where the Gospel would be presented. At Family Fall Fest they offered free carnival rides, carnival games, inflatables, candy, and for a small fee, food trucks from around Jonesboro were invited to take part in the event. During the event, all of the rides and games came to a stop while Senior Pastor, Dr. Archie Mason shared the Gospel to the community. The Family Fall Fest reached more than 5000 people in Jonesboro and had over 500 visitor connection cards.