Hot Rod Show Draws Crowds to Southern California Church
When Frank Foulk maneuvered his 1948 Hudson Commodore into the parking lot at Faith Community Church in West Covina, Calif., he was greeted with great fanfare. "That is a true classic," observed hot rod enthusiast Don Dillard. "It's a dandy," howled another passerby.
Foulk's mobile masterpiece was one of 200 vintage pre-1972 vehicles on display Sept. 23 at Faith's first auto show, which was co-sponsored by a local hot rod club.
Associate pastor Kelly DuPee masterminded the event as a way to draw nonchurchgoers to the premises.
"Many people have been hurt or just will not come to a service," DuPee said. "We want to go beyond the walls of the church. This is a time to reach out to people who have been jaded."
On this Saturday, it seemed to be working. Hundreds of people roamed the Faith lot looking under the hoods and checking out the immaculate paint jobs of classic cars and mingling with their owners.
Across the aisle from Foulk's Hudson, 20-year-old Margie Guzman showed off her newly purchased 1958 Chevrolet Biscayne. Margie and her sister, Erica, went all out, dressing up in '50s attire. "A lot of people think Christians cannot have fun," said Guzman, who has taught swing dance lessons at Faith. "By being here, we are showing them not only can we have fun, but we can put on a very good car show."
Dillard guided his 1930 Model A Coupe into a space on the next row. "This is a big show. There are a lot of regulars [from other nonchurch-spo nsored car shows] here," Dillard said. "It is a different, but a good way to get people's attention because they don't expect a church to do a car show."
As members of Faith, Foulk, Guzman and Dillard share DuPee's enthusiasm for evangelism. They have even considered starting a classic car cell group. The 5,000-member church sponsors six such family- or community-oriented events each year, including a "Harvest Festival" at Halloween. Attendance varies, but usually numbers in the thousands.
In conjunction with the September car show, Faith put on an all-day "SummerFest," complete with live music, a petting zoo and carnival rides. While there was no overt preaching outdoors, toward the end of the event, Faith held its regular Saturday night worship service in its adjacent sanctuary. A few who had admired the cars wandered into the meeting.
"We first have to get the word out: We are a family church, and we have events that are good for your family," DuPee said. "That is friendship evangelism. When they come to our services, they will hear the gospel."
Senior pastor Jim Reeve has just released his first book, God Never Wastes a Hurt (Creation House).
--Steve Lawson in West Covina, Calif.
Prayer Focuses on Muslim Morocco
On Palm Sunday, April 8, 2001, in Morocco, North Africa, songwriter Graham Kendrick will lead hundreds of international believers in an unprecedented special gathering of worship and prayer. The event is called "Seeking God--A Call for Blessing in Morocco."
"This is a week of prayer designed to focus on the kingdom of Morocco," said the Rev. John Gooch, pastor of St. John's Anglican Church in Casablanca, Morocco, one of the many churches working together on this event. "We are coming together to ask God to bless the Moroccan people, her new king, Mohamed VI, and the country as a whole."
Although Morocco is a country whose culture and religious faith are deeply rooted in Islam, Morocco has long sought to promote understanding among religious beliefs. The event is being organized by the expatriate churches in Morocco.
"This is an intercessory time for a nation God deeply loves," said Gabe McReynolds, a believer who lives in Morocco. "We truly desire to bless this nation and her people by means of prayer and worship."
This event has tremendous potential to build bridges of understanding between Muslims and Christians, organizers say.
A call is going out for teams of people from across the Western nations to come to Morocco April 1-8. The event consists of two days of orientation in Casablanca, a three-day prayer journey throughout the country and three days of worship, prayer and celebration with Kendrick concluding on Palm Sunday, April 8.
Baptists Make Waves On TBN
The sermons of a pastor who helped spark a charismatic resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) are now carried on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) at 8 a.m. (EST) each Sunday.
Ron Phillips of Central Baptist Church in suburban Chattanooga, Tenn., follows such high-profile SBC pastors as Charles Stanley, Adrian Rogers and convention president James Merritt onto the charismatic-oriented network.
But the Tennessee cleric is the first Southern Baptist with charismatic leanings on TBN. The link increased the number of stations airing The Central Message by more than 600 percent.
It has also generated mail from as far away as South Africa, Australia and Iceland.
"We've been overwhelmed by the response," said Phillips, a recent guest on TBN's Praise the Lord program.
Already controversial in SBC circles for his embrace of spiritual gifts, Phillips recently released his latest book, Made Kindred by the Spirit: Pursuing the Joy of True Friendship, through Pathway Press, the publishing arm of the Church of God based in Cleveland, Tenn.
Awakened by the Spirit, released by Thomas Nelson Publishers in November 1999, angered fundamentalists. In it, Phillips argued that Baptists were historically radical reformers and receptive to moves of the Holy Spirit. --Ken Walker
Out on a limb: Pete Beaulieu perched next to this billboard for 12 days.
Would You Spend 12 Days On a Billboard...for God?
Children's pastor Pete Beaulieu has gone out on a limb to help his youngsters meet their missions fund-raising goal. Actually, to be more precise, it was a platform.
He spent 12 days living 18 feet up in the air next to a giant billboard in Fort Myers, Fla., to spur on members of his Just For Kids group at First Assembly to meet their 2000 goal of $30,000 toward missionary programs.
The ambitious total, more than double the previous year's effort, had been agreed after prayer, and Beaulieu said he wanted to do whatever he could to help the group see God's faithfulness in reaching the target.
Donated free for two weeks by a local business, the billboard advertised the project. Passersby stopped to make donations, and two people visited the church for the first time after meeting Beaulieu.
Equipped with a sleeping bag and portable shower and toilet, he was well-fed by visiting supporters. "I wanted the kids to know that I believe in them and will go the extra mile," he said. His efforts paid off; the remaining $15,000 came in before he came down from his roost. --Andy Butcher
THE JANUARY LIST
No. 1 Christian hardback: He Chose the Nails, Max Lucado (Word)
No. 1 paperback: The Power of a Praying Wife, Stormie Omartian (Harvest House)
No. 1 fiction book (paperback): Left Behind, Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins (Tyndale House)
No. 1 CD: WOW 2001 (Sparrow)
For more information, log on at www.blessmorocco.org or write Come Bless Morocco, 11300 Kamloops St., Lake View Terrace, CA 91342.