How a Cancellation Becomes a Win

Friday night was an amazing night for Awaken Church! That’s weird to say when we had to cancel Movies in the Park, the biggest community outreach event we do all year.

All week, we knew there was a chance for rain and thunderstorms on Friday night. But, that’s pretty much every night in the Spring and Summer in Columbia, so everything went forward as planned.

Our crew began setting up for the event at 3:30pm. The weather was perfect, we had a ton of volunteers, and everything was rolling along very well. By the time the gates officially opened, we already had 600 people at the park for the event. 30 minutes later when I welcomed everyone and introduced our sponsors, 2100 people were at the park. Awesome!

It was incredible to see how well our teams served those in attendance. Red shirts were everywhere and doing everything from serving drinks and popcorn, to welcoming, to parking…even spraying bug spray for those who needed it. The best part was to see how much fun our teams were having while they served.

Then, 5 minutes before we started the movie, I get a weather statement on my phone saying a Severe Thunderstorm Warning has been issued for our area. We check the radar and sure enough, a massive storm is on its way with high winds, large hail, heavy rain, and lots of lightning. We could see the clouds and lightning in the distance, the wind was picking up, and the temperature was dropping. Not good!

I had no choice but to call off the event. As I stood to make the announcement, a gust of wind blew through the park that almost turned our movie screen into a kite! Thankfully, it fell gracefully, and no one was hurt. I announced the event was cancelled and asked everyone to leave calmly. What happened next blew me away.

Those same teams in those same red shirts went to work like I have never seen a group of people work. What took 4 hours to set up was safely packed up in about 30 minutes. I saw our team helping families gather their belongings, holding little kids hands, walking with people to their cars…doing whatever it took to help people. No one asked them to do it…they just did it.

With that many people leaving all at once and exiting onto the busiest road in our part of the city, 5 of our men ran out to the street with vests and parking flashlights and started directing traffic. No one asked them to do it…they just did it.

A team went around picking up trash that the wind was blowing everywhere. Another team was driving around the field gathering the trash out of trash cans. No one asked them to do it…they just did it.

Did I mention that it was pouring rain the whole time most of this was going on?

So, we didn’t get to show the movie. But, we did get to serve and love on people, we did get to bless our city and our sponsors, and we did get to have those divine appointment type conversations with people. And hopefully, God used our teams to demonstrate the gospel through their selfless service.

And that’s how a cancellation becomes a win. Awaken Church, I’m so proud of you!

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One Comment on “How a Cancellation Becomes a Win”

  1. Helen says:

    We drove through Columbia on Friday night about 11 on our way to Charleston and saw the most amazing and terrifying lightning storm as we drove into and out of the city. It rained like crazy for about 15 minutes as well but we thought about you guys and hoped that you were able to get through your movie night with no problems. Looks like everything went great even if you didn’t get to show the movie!! Way to go, Awaken!!


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