Alabama Church Uses Food Truck Festival to Spread the Gospel

When Brad Neave of Boones Chapel Baptist Church, Prattville, approached senior pastor Phil Winningham with the idea of hosting a food truck festival, church leaders weren’t certain the idea would work in their rural community.

“My first thought was, that might work in the big city of Atlanta but not in the rural community of Boones Chapel,” Winningham said. “However, when you challenge the church to dream big and think out of the box it’s hard to shoot down an idea without giving it a try.”

Boones Chapel introduced its first Truck Fest in 2018 and Winningham said they have been “blown away ever since.”

The goal of the event held on the Boones Chapel campus was to draw people to the church and create opportunities for gospel conversations.

“Most have heard about Boones Chapel but events like this connect what they have heard with the reality of who we are,” Winningham said, noting that church members are encouraged to personally engage in evangelism.

Event planning began with prayer and promotion on social media, local advertising and word of mouth through church members.

“At all of our events members are encouraged to have the personal touch and to make connections whenever the opportunity arises,” said Amy Fray, Boones Chapel ministry assistant. “We make sure our members keep that evangelistic focus.”

This year’s event held May 15 drew approximately 1,300 guests. In addition to the dozen or so food trucks, visitors enjoyed a festival atmosphere with a bouncy house, face painting and games like corn hole and horseshoes.

Food vendors attend by invitation only, ensuring a variety of food options. Neave manages the event, inviting food vendors and communicating with them from the start of planning through the event’s end.

While the event provided a festival atmosphere it also offered a setting that encouraged one-on-one gospel conversations, Winningham said.

“Having a meal with someone offers a prime opportunity to share whereas a fall festival, moving from one game to the other, makes it nearly impossible for this personal conversation,” Winningham said.

In line with the church’s three-fold evangelism strategy the festival offered a live praise band, gospel conversations and a Serving Our Savior (SOS) ministry booth.

SOS Ministries for Evangelism and Discipleship is a national events-based ministry focusing on evangelism.

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Source: Baptist Press