Church gets creative with western-themed fundraiser for state missions

GILMER, Texas—When Tim Smith became pastor of East Mountain Baptist Church in 2012, he challenged the congregation to embrace the Reach Texas Missions Offering, and the church responded enthusiastically.

While Smith served as the catalyst, ideas for how to fundraise for the state missions offering of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention were “totally driven by the congregation,” he said. The following year, church members organized a western-themed “Reach Texas Roundup,” which has been an annual mainstay ever since. The event includes a “Walk across Texas” cupcake walk, a Longhorn ring toss, a “Faces of Texas” sponge throw, and a face painting table, along with several other games and booths.

Susan Breitenberg has been a lead organizer of the event since the beginning. “My favorite part about the Texas Roundup is seeing everyone work together to make [it] happen,” Breitenberg said.

To get their congregation excited about the Reach Texas offering they utilize the promotional materials provided by the convention. EMBC also creates their own video announcements and provides a visual aid for their congregation to track the status of the money being raised.

“The Reach Texas Roundup is the way we cap off the month of September and the offering,” Smith said. This year EMBC raised $1,000 the night of the event and came just under their goal of $5,000 for the Reach Texas Offering.

EMBC has anywhere from 200 to 300 guests that attend the event. The most popular game of the evening is the jail and bail in which they “charged $2 to buy a warrant which they could fill out with the name and ‘crime’ of the person they wanted arrested,” Breitenberg said. “The cashier would give it to one of the three sheriffs who would go ‘arrest’ the person. When brought to the jail they were supervised and sometimes harassed by the jailer! Then some kindhearted soul had to pay $3 to bail them out.”

The rest of the booths and activities were free, and they placed a freewill offering jar on the tables.

EMBC’s pastor and church body are excited about missions and promoting working together as a congregation.

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