By Rudy Paniagua
In the 2014 – 2015 school year, VIDA church partnered with Don Julian’s PTA to host a FIRST TIME EVER Family Movie Night. The vision behind this was birthed from Relational Evangelism which has allowed us to see first hand that many families in our community are low-income and are unable to go to the movie theatres because of the high costs involved. VIDA church supplied all the equipment and the PTA was able to raise money for their events. By doing this we were able to have more exposure to the families as a church outside the four walls. It was a success and approximately 60 people came out that night.
As we started the 2015 – 2016 school year, we partnered again with the PTA to host a Back to School Movie Night. This time we had about 190 people come out to watch the movie “Home”. We are looking forward to continue these Family Movie Nights and adding jumpers and craft areas for the children. This will continue to assist us in building stronger one-on-one relationships with the community with the ultimate goal of leading them to Christ.
Another Relational Evangelism strategy that has helped VIDA church build relationships in the community has been the horse. Pastor Rudy identified the gap between the rancher community and the church and set out to purchase a horse to intentionally infiltrate the people. This purchase was made possible through the tithes and offerings of VIDA church. The name of the horse that he purchased was Feo (ugly) and when he was brought to Avocado Heights, the name was quickly changed to VIDA (life). This has helped get the name of VIDA Church out in the community.
VIDA has been a great tool to evangelize and connect with the community. After having VIDA for 6 months and Pastor Rudy walking his son, Noah, who rode VIDA from the ranch to the park, a local rancher (unbeliever) reached out to Pastor Rudy. He said, “Pastor! I have seen you walking behind the horse for a while now and I want to give you this horse so that you don’t have to walk and you can ride next your son and go the river with him.” Today VIDA church has two horses, VIDA (life) and Gracia (grace). Through them a child and others from the community have accepted Jesus Christ and now have become family.