It's been at least 2 years since we started talking about this... but last Wednesday I drove this van the 20 miles from Turlock to it's new home at the Merced Adventist Church.
And then right into the fellowship hall on Friday for the congregation to have a good look at on Sabbath.
So what's the deal?
Well first, we are very much a suburban church - we are located on the border of Merced the City, and Merced the county. The Van is to make sure our church reaches more of the population in our vicinity... a "go to them" sort of thing as opposed to simply being a "come to us" sort of a church.
To do this, we plan on going around to those who can't drive themselves to church. We will pick them up in what will be the coolest ride to church in town.
Then we will show up at every event Merced has. MLK Parade - we'll be there. The 5k run day? We'll be a water station. New students coming to UC Merced in the early Fall... you better believe we'll be giving the van to one of the students to drive around campus as much as possible.
And then here's the best part... on Sabbath afternoons we want to do some street theater. We'll roll up, good sound system in tow, and produce a powerful depiction of love/grace/hope/etc. We'll drop our business card (looking like the van) to anyone who stops to watch... and then we'll be off again, to another part of town.
Plus if there is a Pathfinder camporee, it'll be going. Camp Meeting? The Van will be there. Day trips to Yosemite with the Seniors. We might even manage to brighten up a conference constituency meeting!
Other dreams mentioned include:
- Dentist chair inside a couple of times a year.
- Farmers Market presence
- Entering car shows (if we get it good enough - and we just might!)
But whatever happens... it's just a great way to introduce Jesus to an increasingly skeptical world. It'll be a fun way to get involved in sharing our hope, and we like to think our community will enjoy our approach too.