Local churches are anticipating a large turnout for next week’s Effingham Adventure Weekend.
The four-day event has been more than a year in the making, said Bob Rogers, pastor of First Baptist Church of Rincon.
“It’s a fun event, put on by the churches of all kind of denominations in this community, to share our faith and to share Christ with the community,” Rogers said. “It’s already been great to work together with lot of churches.”
Rogers added Effingham Adventure Weekend has two simple purposes — to share Christ with others “and it’s been wonderful to bring unity to our community,” he said. “I’ve gotten to know pastors from other churches and other Christians, and I’ve been in the community a long time.”
It begins April 11 with a student night, and all students in grades seventh-12th are invited to attend. Registration for the program, to be held at Effingham County High School, begins at 5:45 p.m., and there will be giveaways, including a free car. Jay Lowder, an evangelist from Wichita Falls, Texas, will speak, and the band Dayspring Reliance will perform.
A women’s banquet will be held April 12 at 7 p.m. at ECHS. Doors open at 6 p.m. and it is one of two ticketed events for the weekend. LaDonna Gatlin, sister of the music legends the Gatlin Brothers, will speak and sing at the event.
“She’s a great singer and speaker in her own right,” Rogers said.
Giveaways that night include a cruise, and women wishing to attend may call (912) 663-5460 for tickets.
Two events will take place April 13, including the outdoor expo and the men’s banquet that evening. The outdoor expo will be from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at ECHS, with events including car and motorcycle shows, games and activities for kids and a dog show from Hank Hough of Kingdom Dog Ministries. Food vendors will be on hand at the outdoor expo, and there also will be free drinks and hot dogs.
“We expect thousands of people. It’s going to be a big outdoor festival for the community,” Rogers said.
Lowder also will speak at the men’s banquet, which will start at 6:30 p.m. at the Effingham County School System maintenance department building, the old Savannah Yacht Company location, at 280 Industrial Blvd. The event is ticketed, and those men interested in attending can call 826-3743. Lowder will relate life lessons from hunting and fishing, and tickets must be purchased prior to the event. There also will be giveaways for hunting and fishing trips for those who attend.
“There will be a lot of fun things,” Rogers said.
The weekend will conclude with a celebration rally April 14 at ECHS’ football field. Lowder will speak, and Charles Billingsley will perform with a multi-church choir. The finale begins at 6 p.m.
Ministers and pastors across the county had been contemplating doing something for the community. The last community-wide event, Rogers recalled, was a revival in 1991.
“We prayed about doing an outreach event, and several churches came together and came to an agreement we wanted to do this,” he said.
Church leaders have been working on the event since fall 2011 and have been meeting once a month to plan and prepare for it since January 2012.
“We’ve been praying about it,” Rogers said. “We’ve been praying to God to do a great revival.”
More than two dozen churches, with larger and small congregations, have joined forces, Rogers said. Churches from Chatham County have pledged their help, and churches from Screven County have asked if they could come.
“It’s great to bring the community together,” Rogers said. “There’s been so much hurt and pain in our county in the last few years, we thought the time was right for an event that will bring unity and hope to people. There is never a bad time to be offering hope. And our country is so divided, too. It’s not about one denomination or one race. We want everybody to come together.”
For more information, see www.effinghamadventureweekend.com or find Effingham Adventure Weekend on Facebook.