By Sharon Mager

Upper Seneca Baptist Church members want to reach young families and be more visible in the community. So they planted pumpkins. felder

During a meeting in which leaders were brainstorming ways to reach the Germantown community, especially young families, Pastor Dennis Felder suggested the church use a portion of land in front of the church for a pumpkin patch. They could grow pumpkins then give them away in October.

Members rolled up their sleeves and went to work! They cleared the grass, did the gridding, tilled, fertilized and seeded and they take turns watering and weeding. As a result, the vines and the pumpkins are thriving.

“When it’s all said and done, we expect 2,000 Jack-O-Lantern type pumpkins!” Felder said.

The growing pumpkin patch is drawing attention. People ride by, see the pumpkin patch, point and say, ‘Hey! Look at that!’” Felder said.

And that’s exactly what the church wants! The visibility is fabulous, Felder said. Now, when he’s out running errands in the community and the conversation with neighbors turns to his pastorate or the church, the proverbial light bulb goes off.

“They say, ‘Oh, you’re the ones that have that pumpkin patch!’” Felder laughs. That’s a good thing, he says.

“As we get closer, we’re encouraging the church to look over there at the pumpkin patch—and we tell them that’s what God will use to reach our community,” he said.

Several weekends in October, church members will invite guests to pick their free pumpkins. They’ll also have a few children’s activities and some goodie bags and they’ll provide each family with literature about the church and its ministries.

“Everyone is very excited. People are seeing an opportunity to think out of the box.” Felder said. The patch has sparked creativity and members are bringing more creative ideas for outreach.

Later in October, the church will have a fall festival, which Felder said would be a time to celebrate how God blessed their pumpkin field harvest.