Lots of us enjoy Memorial Day by spending time with friends while grilling outside, eating food, and listening to music play in the background. Memorial Day 2016 at Faith Community Church in Wyckoff, New Jersey was a bit like that, but bigger. An estimated 700 people walked around the church and parking lot, many of which had never visited our church. The parking lot was constantly full, in part because half of the lot was being used by four different food trucks (two of which ran out of food by the end of the event), a children’s craft and face-painting table, and to the stage.
On that stage three different bands from the local public high schools performed. The music was loud. People were into it as they sat on the church lawn under canopies. It was hot, so people purchased bottled water and soft drinks which had been donated by church members. All of the proceeds went to the “Wyckoff Stigma Free Zone”—an initiative seeking to remove the stigma of mental illness from our town and aid those who suffer from it. The proceeds completely paid for a one-day training at which thirty local teachers, administrators, youth pastors, and many others were equipped to recognize and respond to those who struggle with mental illness.
Rock and Roll and Food Trucks was easily the largest outreach event that Faith Community had undertaken in the last twenty years. It grew out of the ideas and culture that have been cultivated by the Church Renewal Lab. I don’t believe this event would have happened here had it not been for the encouragement of this journey. “Now that we’re in the renewal lab, and are trying to serve our community…” became the rallying cry of renewal lab team members, council members, and other volunteers, which enabled this ministry event to get off the ground, and have helped us in planning for this coming year. We’re looking forward to more trucks, louder music, and further dedication to joining God in mission to our town.