Caleb Groteluschen, Lead Pastor at Capstone Church
I am totally unprepared for this. The thought must have been tattooed on my forehead around 5 p.m. on October 31, just 30 short minutes before Candy Jam was scheduled to begin. There were already about 100 guests gathered in the foyer of our venue – the Lewis & Clark County Fairgrounds – and we still had significant setup remaining. As I thought back to our group’s countless discussions on what we should prepare for, this had not been taken into consideration. When we started out, we were aiming for 300 and praying for 500, but this was nowhere on our radar.
We had considered best and worst case scenarios and wondered if we had supplied and staffed the event adequately. We spent time painting and crafting and scheduling and reserving equipment. We handed out door hangers, posters, flyers, and business cards. We even put an ad on the local classifieds page. We analyzed multiple venues and weighed their potential advantages and disadvantages. We prepared…a lot!
When I earnestly reflected on what should be communicated about Candy Jam, it was the realization that crossed my mind those few minutes before we were set to begin. While our group had been preparing diligently for weeks and even months, God himself had been preparing something beyond our wildest imagination. From about 5 – 8 p.m. on Halloween night, somewhere around 2,500 people graced us with their presence. People were shoulder to shoulder for the majority of the night, and many people wondered if we had set up a severe fire hazard. Kids got more candy than most of their parents would want them to indulge in a lifetime. We fed the crowd hotdogs, popcorn, chips, and cotton candy. We made it all free, because we wanted the community to sense the investment that we are making in Helena. The event far surpassed our greatest expectations. We now have hundreds of contacts to follow-up with, and we have a name and a reputation that can only help us. We have much feedback from the community thanking us for a wonderful time. We know that Candy Jam is but a stepping stone of what God has planned for Capstone Church.
I told someone the other day that I did not sleep well at all Monday night. My body was incredibly fatigued from a full day’s work, but my mind could not find rest. Where had all those people come from? Why had they chosen to spend their trick-or-treat time with us? How could two families have accomplished so much in so little time? A peace has come over me the remainder of this week. I know that much sweat and tears were poured into Candy Jam, but we accomplished nothing. The Lord is our orchestrator and preparer, and we are just his obedient servants. Now I know for certain what I have for some time been confident of – that God has great things in store for Helena, MT through Capstone Church! Please don’t take this statement as brashness or arrogance. We are completely humbled by what transpired at Candy Jam, but we also are certain of the vision that God has granted to us. Please rejoice with us at what God has done for us through this initial outreach effort. Praise be to God!
Please continue to pray for Capstone Church. Our first “preview service” was on November 13, with 32 in attendance.
Visit Capstone Church online at capstonehelena.com.
Dave Carroll, Lead Pastor at Elevation Church
Candy Jam is a special event for Elevation Church in Billings, MT. The event was born out of seeing a need in cold weather communities on October 31st – a need for a warm, fun & friendly environment for families with young children. It was the very first thing Elevation did to help gather people and impact the community during the pre-launch planting phase in the fall of 2012. In that first year, 750+ people came not knowing anything about the church, the pastor or even the people – because technically, we didn’t exist yet! Fast forward to our fifth Candy Jam in 4 years and God has done a miraculous thing. We still see people come to worship, come to Christ or grow deeper in discipleship from that first Candy Jam!
This year we had 10 times the amount of people from that first one 4 years ago. That’s right, 7,500 people attended Candy Jam – and it was the first time our church body was able to handle it on our own, with over 100 volunteers. We were able to have gospel centered conversations with most of the families and handed every family an invite back to our worship service. Outreach events are one of the best ways to expand your potential reach as a church body. We highly encourage you to find one that makes a BIG impact and do it as well as you are able. We are grateful for the MTSBC and their support to help us become a different & refreshing church helping people far from God come alive in Christ!
Visit Elevation Church online at elevationbillings.com.