Church of the Fireworks, Community Restoration, and People Who Care
By Jonelle Frazier
Summer is the best time of the year for many things—family outings, picnic food, and outdoor fun. For Eaton Church of God in Indiana, it was the best time to do one more thing: ministry. This summer, Pastor Andy Denniston helped lead his church in “Impact Eaton,” a week of service and work projects for their local community.
During the week of Impact Eaton, workers from the church focused on replacing a strip of the sidewalk in downtown Eaton. They also poured cement into the dugout floors at local baseball parks, cleaning and repainting park equipment, weeding parks, and other hands-on improvements.
“We try to choose projects where both the church members and community are mobilized to work together as a team,” said Denniston, “We want to do more than simply give; we want to foster a sense of community pride.”
On top of Impact Eaton, Denniston’s church also put on a fireworks show for the local community on July 4, when it became apparent that the city would not be able to put on a show.
The church pushed for a sense of community, putting their all into making sure the event was incredible. “At the fireworks event, the crowd was immeasurable. Our youth and volunteers walked from car to car, offering cold popsicles and treats for the little ones, and we also offered free hotdogs, chips, and water.”
Because of Impact Eaton, the church’s relationship with its community has only grown stronger. The entire community has responded passionately and enthusiastically. “The community response to Impact Eaton was truly remarkable. Generous sponsors gave materials, funding, and some rolled up their sleeves and joined the work. Others gave creatively and spontaneously,” said Denniston.
A few citizens even took to social media to share their enthusiasm about the church’s enthusiasm for its town.
“Eaton Church of God does a lot of good for the town of Eaton. We are all so glad you are here,” said Marilyn Nesbitt.
“A big thank you to everyone who fixed the basketball goals. I saw it just a few minutes ago and I felt like a little kid on a playground. So, thank you from me and all my friends who play ball up there,” said another commenter.
To wrap up the summer, Eaton Church of God threw “Party in the Park,” with live music, entertainment for kids and adults, and more than two hundred people in attendance. “It was held in the park that had just been cleaned up during Impact Eaton, and we had new faces helping at our tables thanks to the work of Impact Eaton. It was a perfect cap to a truly impactful summer for everyone involved,” said Denniston.
Denniston says that working together for a common goal as a community is one of the most important things a church can do during ministry. “Each community is so unique and what works in one place may not spark in another, but attempting to understand the make-up and DNA of a community is so important.”
In the future, Impact Eaton will focus on creating connections with families they met over the summer, creating life groups and continuing their Family Movie Night series over the fall and winter.
Jonelle Frazier is a communication intern for Church of God Ministries from Austin, Texas. She is currently studying English and public relations at Anderson University. Learn more about the Church of God at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.