Candy canes sweeten invitation to church
Jan 25, 2013
By CAROLYN NICHOLS
Florida Baptist Witness

OUTREACH Crossway Baptist Church in Tallahassee gave away 3,440 candy canes to its community. Courtesy photo
TALLAHASSEE (FBW)-Caroling and candy canes are helping to “change the atmosphere” around some Tallahassee businesses thanks to Crossway Baptist Church.

During the Christmas season, carolers from Crossway Baptist sang in front of businesses and at a local flea market. In seven performances the group gave away 3,440 candy canes with church information attached. 

 It is a way for the church to take the Gospel to its neighborhood, according to Pastor Josh Parker.

“I know God rewards our faithfulness,” he said.

On Jan. 6, 16 visitors at Crossway Baptist joined the 130 who regularly attend morning worship. Some of the increase can be attributed to the candy cane distribution, Parker said.

The caroling ministry began three years ago, when the church had 80 members, with a goal of giving away 600 candy canes; the carolers distributed 1,100. The number of performances and the number of candy canes has grown each year.

Church members of all ages assembled the candy cane messages before the caroling began Dec. 8. With dozens of volunteers, messages were attached to 3,440 candy canes in one hour.

As the caroling ministry has evolved, Parker said he and 

Minister of Music Chuck Chipps instituted a “Candy Cane Spirit Award” that goes to the most consistent volunteer. The 2012 winner was Frank Crenshaw, a 75-year-old who “was there rain or shine with a smile on his face.”

“Even when the carolers took a break he was still giving out candy canes,” Parker said.

According to the pastor, performances usually follow a pattern. As the band and the carolers, with their homemade carol books, start to play and sing, people begin staring, then some take videos on their phones. Some sing along and are handed a songbook. Some “laugh and cut up with us.” 

“It changes the atmosphere,” he said. “Some of these people just need to hear a good message.”

 

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