Praise in the Park, An End-of-the-Summer Outreach—Oasis Style

December 01, 2004 | Bruce Biggs

"Why not have church in the park some Sabbath?” thought a father as he ate lunch with his daughter in the park. A few months later, that father was working as the youth director for the Oasis Church in Boise. He presented the idea to the church as an “end-of-the-summer outreach event.” The church board was enthusiastic and gave approval, but weren’t sure how to fund it.

Five months later, Praise in the Park Summer 2004 happened as a result of teamwork. The Oasis Church family worked together harmoniously, and six local businesses donated money or merchandise to help defray expenses. To top off this generous spirit, the planning team for Praise in the Park decided to make this event a fundraiser for the Community House homeless shelter in Boise.

By 7:30 a.m., Ann Morrison Park was swarming with Oasis team members in their yellow Praise in the Park t-shirts. The team set up the stage and sound equipment, and warmed the griddle for the pancake breakfast. The weather was perfect. By 10 a.m. the Breakfast Team was serving pancakes to the first of nearly 300 guests who came to the park that day. The Emmett Pathfinder Club came to provide cool water and remove trash. A team of ten from Gem State Adventist Academy provided activities for the smaller children.

Free blood pressure checks and lifestyle analyses were offered by a health screening team. Four times during the day, there was a drawing for a free subscription to Vibrant Life magazine. Captivating the crowd, old and young alike, the Hands-4-Him puppet team from the Kuna Adventist Church performed for both the young and the young at heart. Former Heritage Singer, Pete McLeod from southeastern California, used illusions to illustrate the gospel. Youth from the Emmett Church presented two skits with Benny and Bo, the smallest members of their youth group. Melissa Andregg and Jaime Thietten concluded the day with their concerts.

No charge was made for any services that day. No baptisms were held in the fountain pool. But seeds were sown and lives were touched by the message of Jesus’ love and soon return. The donations to Community House exceeded $800, and thanks to the generosity of so many, costs for Praise in the Park were all but covered.

Plans are already being made for Praise in the Park 2005. Plan on coming to the fountain on Sabbath, Sept. 3, 2005. Bring your appetite… and a friend!