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When the annual Byron Days parade happens in Byron Center, Mich., First Christian Reformed Church adds water to expand its evangelism efforts.

About 25 church members handed out 5,000 water bottles with gospel tracts attached to them to parade-goers.

“We’re trying to bring a life-changing message to the community,” said Kevin Hoekman, a member of First CRC’s evangelism committee and organizer of the effort.

It’s the third year the church has handed out water bottles at the parade. Hoekman came up with the idea while attending the Tulip Time Festival parade in nearby Holland several years ago when he noticed members of a local church sharing their faith with those attending the parade.

“It’s more of a direct gospel witness to the community,” Hoekman said, noting that church members are actively involved in other evangelism outreach efforts, including the traditional summer vacation Bible school program.

The bottled water is donated, and church members attach the tracts to the bottles with rubber bands. The tracts speak of humanity’s sinful nature and the need for each person to come to faith in Christ. “We are sinners and we need to be saved,” Hoekman said.

First CRC has handed out about 15,000 bottles of water with tracts at the parade over the past three years, Hoekman said.

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