Taking Advantage of the Opportunity

Every once in a while an opportunity comes along — one that was not being looked for, nor was it expected.  Such is the case with Alive Ministries and the first annual Jenison Street Dance.

Alive is a new church plant in the Jenison area and they are all about “bringing LIFE to community.”  One good way to do this is to have members develop personal relationships with people they do not know.  Another good way is to get out into the community.  Such was the case with the Jenison Street Dance.

When Alive began its journey just short of two years ago, Pastor Terry Scholten decided to join the local Chamber of Commerce.  When Alive moved into their facility a year ago, he invited the Chamber to hold their regular meetings in this building.

At one of the recent meetings of the Grandville/Jenison Chamber of Commerce meetings, Eric Billin, Worship Ministries Director at Alive, and Sandy LeBlanc, Executive Director of the Chamber, were having a discussion about the proposed upcoming Jenison Street Dance, which was to be held on August 18, and Alive was invited to be part of the planning team for this event.

The planning involved everything from the beginning plans, to fundraising, to implementing the event, to trash pickup, to clean up.  Alive was a platinum financial sponsor and also supplied more than 110 volunteers for the day of the event.  On the schedule for the volunteers were setting up, trash pickup, staffing parking lots, manning the information booths and VIP tents, and cleaning up.  Township officials estimated that it would take two hours to clear the street, but this was accomplished in 24 minutes with some amazing volunteers.

There were at least two reasons for Alive wanting to be involved with the Jenison Street Dance.  The main reason was because Alive is committed to “bringing LIFE to community.”  So it was quite a natural response for this church to become involved in this community-building event.  It is estimated that over 3,000 people showed up throughout the day, and this was a great way to build community and bless the people that showed up.  A second reason is that Alive wanted people to know that this church cares about them.  By reaching out and helping put on a community event like this, it is hoped that the people that showed up and saw Alive volunteers busy at work would see that they care for this community.  That’s what their mission is and they will do whatever it takes to reach people who need life.

Some of the tangible results from the street dance were that the 3,000 people that showed up from noon to 8:00 PM really enjoyed themselves and the people who attend Alive were given the opportunity to serve the community.  Although it is difficult to measure, it also helped new people at Alive to understand that this church is committed to service and is not just “open on Sunday.”  It is important to have all who attend become involved in the life of this church.

If your church is asked to become involved in a community event, the Alive community would encourage you to seize the opportunity.  There is such a need for positive events in this area.  When our churches get involved, they show the people that community leaders care about them, but followers of Jesus want to show His love to them as well.

(Eric Billin, Worship Ministries Director at Alive, contributed to this article)9.26.2012