Volunteers in black
shirts greeted a slow but steady crowd at Cross Culture Church Community Day in
Raleigh at Leesville Road Middle School as part of the statewide Operation
Inasmuch April 24.
“It was a big success
for us,” said Clay Stevens, lead pastor. “We’re trying to show the love of
Jesus in a tangible way.”
Fear of rain must have
kept some people away when the event began, but soon the skies cleared and the
festivities picked up at the middle school field.
“When we’re doing
something like this it’s so reliant on the weather,” he said.
The church, which used
to meet at the middle school and now meets at Leesville Road High School, had
about 75 volunteers helping what eventually became about 600 visitors.
Average Sunday morning
worship attendance is between 150-175 for the church that launched in September
A bouncy house and
ponies drew the longest lines, but families seemed to enjoy the food, puppets
and arts and crafts as well. There were also three-leg and potato sack races.
Visitors were attracted
by road signs, word-of-mouth, the church’s web site and public service
announcements on local media.
Stevens said he was
“pleasantly surprised” at the turnout.
He arrived early with
his wife, Cindy, who is secretary of the Baptist State Convention board of
directors, to set up and stayed late to pack up.
He also served as a
gofer and greeter and brought breakfast for the volunteers.
“We want to be a church
that reaches out and crosses over culture,” Clay Stevens said.
“We want to be a true
reflection of our community. We want to be a culture built on the cross.”
Stevens stressed that
it’s “not about me.”
“It’s about Him being
glorified. We’re doing our best to see that develop.”
Part of outreach
Cross Culture had been
doing Love Your Neighbor days every quarter.
Stevens said projects
are done by small groups, and each group is responsible for putting together a
how-to guide once a project is complete.
That way, other small
groups can build on previous ideas.
Last September the
church partnered with the fire department for public safety day and did some of
the same activities as on this most recent Community Day.
Stevens wasn’t sure
about using puppets because they weren’t well received in September. But this
time children and their parents sat down on the ground to enjoy the show.
Celeste Winston and
Kristi McCown, who worked side-by-side at the popcorn station for most of the
day, were part of the church plant.
Stevens was pastor at
Bethesda Baptist Church in Durham for eight years and had always been
interested in North Raleigh.
He met with BSC church
planter consultants to discuss the possibility of a church plant in that area.
“It seemed like a good
place to start,” he said.
The long-range hope is
to plant churches along the I-540 ring around Raleigh.
“All that’s gotta come
in God’s timing,” he said. “We’re praying now which direction?”