God’s People At Work: Reaching Into the Woods

The Storyteller Tells a Story of Faith…

I John 3:18 “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” NIV

Most of the time, we spend our time on earth not knowing where life is taking us. We toss and turn as a ship in a storm bouncing from place to place.  It takes us a while to understand that God has a plan for our lives, and even longer for us to allow God to lead.  Our job is to follow His call no matter where He takes us.  It would be easier if we were all to go in the same direction, but we know that isn’t what He has in mind.  As Romans tells us, we aren’t all called to have the same gifts and do the same job, but rather to work together to reach everyone with God’s message.

So how do we reach those who love the outdoors and have a passion for hunting? It seems like the woods is an unlikely place to worship, but is it really? Steve and Shannon Trostle (MZ) had these same questions, and they came up with a perfect idea to reach into the woods.

Steve began this journey by attending several sportsmen’s banquets in the area, and thought about sponsoring an event such as this at Mt. Zion. He says, “Everyone has been very supportive of this ministry and has really stepped up and made this event a great success.  I am very thankful for everyone at Mt. Zion and Barnitz.  I am extremely blessed to be a part of the Mt. Zion family and the sportsmen’s ministry team.  I say ‘team’ because it truly does take a small army of Christian soldiers to do this event every year.”  However, just because this event has celebrated four anniversaries already, it certainly isn’t done growing.  If Steve thought banquets in the past needed a ‘small army of Christian soldiers’ to pull it off, just wait until the 2016 banquet.  “This year is our first year having the event on two evenings so we will certainly need all the help we can get,” adds Steve.  Serving about 250 guests each evening in such a short time (the meal is typically done in 20 minutes or less) requires many hands and coordination which Steve and Shannon have seemed to master.  There is so much for guests to do at the banquet, and sharing a meal together is just one part of the experience.  Included in the evening is an awesome meal, a photo contest for guests to enter their outdoor pictures for a chance to win prizes, speaker Sid Bream who will be sharing some of his stories, turkey calling contest and a display of trophy mounts from past hunting and fishing trips for all the guests to enjoy.”

In Steve’s mind, this event has a very specific goal. “At quick glance”, says Steve, “the Sportsmen’s Banquet is an opportunity to bring the community together and to bring some folks into church that may have not entered before.  It is a fun night of great food, fellowship with fellow sportsmen, women and children, door prizes and hearing some awesome testimony, God’s word and giving our guests the opportunity to invite Jesus into their hearts.  The big picture is, as with any ministry here at Mt. Zion, our goal of the Sportsmen’s Banquet is to bring new folks to come to know Jesus as their personal Savior.”

John 6:27a “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” NIV

Because of the larger scope of this year’s banquet, Steve has made contact with some of the local churches, Barnitz UMC, New Life Community and Mt. Holly Church of God, to help provide manpower for both nights. Not only is this ministry connecting with local sportsmen, but with fellow believers from churches in our community.  In his book, The Church of the Irresistible Influence, author Robert Lewis stresses the significance of building bridges.  “Although diverse, the bridge as metaphor shares a common theme: human connection.  And any bridge, either real or imagined, is useless unless one person moves toward another person,” says Lewis.

Steve and Shannon’s bridge is reaching into the woods.

YOU ARE INVITED TO THE 2016 SPORTSMEN’S BANQUET

Friday, March 18 – Doors open at 4:30

Saturday, March 19 – Doors open at 3:30

Come for one night or two. Please call 486-4280 for tickets ($10.00 each).

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