“When we serve, we get to be like Christ,” said Ben Muldoon, a Pensacola Theological Seminary master’s student who served bagfuls of buttery, warm popcorn at the Campus Church Pensacola Day outreach this year. Mid-scoop, he paused, adding, “I love being active in Campus Church because it gives me a way to show Jesus Christ and do what He did—serve the multitudes.”
For Ben and other PCC student volunteers, Campus Church’s Pensacola Day was an opportunity to share the love of Christ with the Pensacola community. For many in the community, this event was their first introduction to the gospel.
Campus Church Pastor Denis McBride said, “I’ve met more people today from the community that I had never met before that have no contact with church. We’re really fulfilling the purpose of Pensacola Day, and that’s to reach the community.” Every family attending received a welcome bag that included a John/Romans and information about Campus Church.
Many guests, who had not attended the event when it began last year, were surprised at the outpouring of love by complete strangers. “We just loved it. My grandchildren had such a good time,” said Mary, a nearby neighbor who walked over to Pensacola Day from her house down the street. She attended with her six grandchildren after PCC graduates personally invited her to come.
Youth ministries sophomore William Kie (MI) was reminded of his hometown as he helped. “It reminded me of the little carnival you’d go to back home in the summertime,” he said. “When you have people who want to do something like this, it makes you want to get involved, too. It’s good for the community to see that Christians can have fun.”
Aside from eating free food like hot dogs, pizza, and snow cones, guests also participated in a variety of games and activities. PCC students and community members who attend Campus Church worked side by side manning booths and helping pass out cold water and cotton candy. Children eagerly waited in lines to ride ponies, play in bounce houses, and win prizes.
Priscilla Meyer (Jr., AL) helped entertain crowds during Pensacola Day with live music. “I loved the opportunity to serve and play my mandolin,” she said. “I got to see a lot of kids, and it was really great to meet people in the community!”
For a group of students taking Public Relations class at PCC, Pensacola Day helped them practice building community relationships through an evangelistic event. They offered their services from 7:30 that morning setting up tents and tables and making over 1,000 cotton candy bags and preparing over 2,000 hot dogs.
“It’s been busy,” said management and marketing major Andrew McDonald (Sr., FL). “You learn a lot about business and a lot about PR this way, but you also learn a lot more about ministry and serving others. It’s about helping the community and serving visitors.”
Whether they participated behind the scenes or up on stage, PCC students saw firsthand how much the community appreciated the experience. Kristen Pianka (Sr., SC), who helped with the promotions committee, couldn’t help but feel a part of something much bigger. “Seeing a community come together because of a church family that united to promote the name of Jesus Christ is amazing!” she said. “I love seeing the willingness of the volunteers to serve Him, and the enjoyment on the faces of those who participated in the day.”