Washington Church Creates Community with a Winter Carnival

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“If we wanted to reach the community, we needed to reach out to kids,” said Rev. Brad Vos of CrossWay Church, a Christian Reformed Church church plant in Vancouver, Wash.

CrossWay is located in the upper-middle-class neighborhood of Salmon Creek, which is largely populated by families with young children.

On January 7, the church welcomed 36 kids along with 20 parents to jump in a bounce house, toss beanbags, and earn prizes.

Many were once involved in a church, but stopped attending for various reasons. “They are willing to give us a shot because they engaged with us in a nonthreatening way. It is cool because it gives us the ability to build credibility with them,” said Vos.

Last summer the head of the local farmer’s market in Vancouver talked to Vos about running a kids’ booth. So from July to September, CrossWay ran a craft tent called “The Barnyard”; 980 children visited it.

The church continued the ministry with a fall school supply drive, a barbeque, a Harry Potter party, and a Christmas gathering.

“[Reaching families] takes a ton of relational energy. You need to find natural ways to connect with people,” Vos said.

About the Author

Amy Toornstra is a freelance news correspondent for The Banner. She lives in Salem, Oregon.