By Michael Koontz
Pastor, Pine Ridge Baptist Church, Harriman
A few months ago, one of our deacons approached me about participating in the Oliver Springs Christmas Parade. The church had not been in a parade during his 10 years at the church. After a little research, we decided to jump in and see what God would do. Our church is in a transition period of young unchurched families coming in, and we are financially strapped right now. So, we went into this outreach with basically no budget.
As the weeks went by, the vision was cast. We would enter into this parade, with an army of people walking with the float handing out candy canes and Scripture. And God showed us what He would do. It started as one member donated new red bib aprons for the walkers, then another member put our new logo on them. The church family donated candy canes, members rallied together and gave supplies, ideas, and a lot of time to make everything come together.
About 4:40 p.m. on Saturday Dec. 16, 21 members of Pine Ridge Baptist Church in Harriman gathered around our float and prayed. We prayed that God would use the candy canes and Scriptures to draw people to Him, that our smiles and words of Merry Christmas would encourage our community. Throughout the parade route we had a sound system setup on the float and people heard the Christmas Scriptures as our church family would hand out 900 candy canes attached to God’s Word.
Christmas is a time of the year that we can easily get out and share the love of God with others. I’m praying that we will continue to get creative across Tennessee and reach our state with the gospel!