Some people have called it the “all hands on deck weekend.” And we are certainly hoping we get some divine help too on September 16-17 when we host our annual Fall Festival on Saturday and a Homecoming Sunday. These are all church events, both with strong invitational themes.
The Fall Festival has become HCOB’s premier community event reaching children and adults in our neighborhood with a day of fun, games, food, and Christian hospitality. Consider volunteering this year to help in the kitchen, monitor a game, or to hand out church information. Or, simply attend and get to know a neighbor or two. As we engage our neighborhood, we do so to make relationships and invite people deeper into our church life.
Then on Sunday, we celebrate Homecoming with a special worship service on “The Invitation” featuring a special guest preacher who was shaped and formed by this congregation, Pastor Scott Duffey. Scott, my father, is the pastor of the Staunton Church of the Brethren in Virginia. This day will be an opportunity both to celebrate who the Hagerstown Church of the Brethren has been and who we are going to be. We are a congregation rich with history and a vibrant future. I want everyone to invite a friend from the church’s past or someone who could be a part of the church’s future to worship on this special Sunday.
These two major events have invitation as a major theme. They both present opportunities for us to practice invitation to our neighborhood, families, and friends. But as you invite, I give you a word of advice. Consider what you are truly inviting people to do. Are you inviting people to join you for an event? Maybe a fun festival event like you could find at City Park or a historical event to honor some significant place from age’s past? No, these invitations aren’t going out for people to experience an event as much as they are to experience a people. Guests at Fall Fest and Homecoming should experience a people impacted by Christ, living in joyful service to one another.
What makes our events different than City Park or the Historical Society is the mission for which we do them: Jesus and his Kingdom. The Church at its best connects people to people and people to God. Primarily, we are a place for relationship growing: vertical and horizontal. These great events during the “all hands on deck weekend” just provide space to facilitate relational connection to God and neighbor. So come out and get to know people. New or old, it doesn’t matter because everyone is invited to the Great Banquet.