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Family Fun Fair
By Matthew Vixie
Description:’s a Sunday morning in September. A cool New England breeze is blowing as I hop into my car at 7:15. There are tables to be set up and a bouncy house to inflate. There’s a swimming pool in the back seat of my car to integrate into the obstacle course at the annual Family Fun Day, hosted by the Merrimack Valley Adventist Church for the community. 
Guests and members are met at the front by our youth – we want the community to see our best faces first! The teens not only greet our guests, but volunteer to give their car a free wash while they enjoy the activities. We provide a bucket for donations, and most are happy to help the kids raise funds for a worthy cause.
The action starts on the left with a yard sale. While moms and dads check out the goods, the kids hit the bouncy house. A variety of games are featured at different stations. Then there’s the animal show – snakes, lizards, turtles, alligators, and even a tarantula that kids can see, touch, and smell. The balloon guy is ready to entertain a long line of kids and parents with balloons twisted and shaped into animals and angels. Boy is he good! And of course there is plenty of good food. This is our chance to introduce our friends to veggie burgers, veggie hotdogs, and corn on the cob – hot off the grill!
This is a great opportunity for this pastor and church family to meet people from across our community. There’s the newly married couple who were out for a Sunday stroll and saw our sign.  This is the first time they have ever tried a veggie hotdog and they are enjoying the free vegetarian lunch. This is also my chance to connect with a lot of church members I haven’t seen in a while.
All good things must come to a close, and by the time it is 4:00, I’m tired and ready for the clean-up. Chairs and tables go back on their racks. Hoses are put away and the obstacle course is taken down. The animals are put back in their cages. Left-over food from the grill is packaged up and sent home with different families. The youth are all smiles as they count their car wash money.
Today we have enjoyed an opportunity to make friends with our community families. And we have helped our community understand that we are not just a stuffy old congregation that worships in our church once a week and then leaves. We are here to serve. We are here to be friends helping friends become fully devoted followers of Christ.
Matthew Vixie is pastor of the Merrimack Valley and Billerica churches in Massachusetts