Reaching Children, Reaching Parents: Ohio Church Celebrates Family Outreach Success
By Mykaela Alvey
There is significant value in reaching the community around your church. Meadowbrook Church of God, in Rayland, Ohio, has taken this to heart and has been doing just that. As summer 2022 came to an end, Meadowbrook wanted to have several events to restart their children’s and youth programs within the church. They decided to have an event for kids (preschool–5th grade) on August 28. But as they planned, they recognized an opportunity to reach the parents, too.
Associate Pastor Dave Hennen says, “The event was to kick off the Discovery Club, so naturally the kids in the church were going to go to that. But there were also some from outside that came.” Community kids also meant community parents. So, they asked, “How can we use this as an event to attract some people who don’t normally come [to church]?”
Meadowbrook has several teachers in its congregation, so they decided to host an evening with the parents (while the kids were in their program). It focused on sharing resources for raising your child to thrive in today’s world. Pastor Hennen said, ”It was a good time of fellowship with the parents while providing helpful resources, and a way to get to know the kids a little better.”
While the adults were gathering resources, their kids learned about God, ate food, and played many fun games. The event brought in fifteen kids from the community who had never attended Discovery Club. Overall, Pastor Hennen says the two simultaneous events were a great success, “And the response from the church was phenomenal.”
He continued, “We decided to do these events because of the great need in our community. Our mission as a church is to make disciples of Jesus. We are always looking for ways to engage with those in our community in ways that demonstrate Christ’s love. The last couple of years have been difficult for parents, teachers, and students, and we saw this as an opportunity.”
The events resulted in several community members coming to worship at Meadowbrook on Sundays, a beautiful result of an impactful outreach event.
However, it doesn’t stop there. Meadowbrook has also recently restarted their youth program. To kick off this decision, they held an event on September 16 called the “5th Quarter Party” to reach community teenagers. Pastor Hennen said, “We had several inflatables—Hippo Chow Down, Bungee Run, and a Jousting Arena. There were games, food, and a message around the campfire from Hebrews 12:1 about running your race. There were over a hundred youth who came to the event after the [high school] football game.”
Pastor Hennen was very encouraged by all of the outreach events and looks forward to considering how they can move forward in the future, and do even better next year. “[Meadowbrook is committed to showing others] the value of the community within the church, and that we’re here for them.”
Meadowbrook Church of God is coming together to help adults, teenagers, and children thrive in this current world. “Our hope [at Meadowbrook],” he concludes, “is to build a community that pours into the lives of families that are desperate for help.”
Anderson University alumna Mykaela Alvey is a funding US missionary based in Greenwood, Indiana. A freelance writer for three years, she loves crafting stories of hope and healing.
Learn more about the Church of God movement at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.