Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing
Photography provided by KCC
Kingsway Christian Church (KCC) has always been a church that is focused on community. So last summer, leaders from the church did an impromptu survey and headed over to the Avon Farmers Market to ask shoppers what they felt was missing from the Hendricks County community. The responses they received from every demographic overwhelmingly pointed to one thing.
“People crave a fun and affordable family event,” says Brett Cadwell, Director of Ministries at Kingsway. Given that a trip to the zoo, a trampoline park or even the movie theatre can cost upwards of $50 or even $100, depending on the size of your brood, it’s not surprising that families are looking for a way to bond without breaking the bank.
The team at Kingsway started discussing how they might fill this void that people desired. In doing so, they discussed the success of their Trunk-or-Treat, which they’ve hosted the past two years and has been met with tremendous response as families came out in droves to enjoy a free, festive evening of fun.
“The first year we held the Trunk-or-Treat, around 2,000 people showed up, and last year we estimate that that number doubled,” Cadwell says. “People were waiting two hours for free candy and didn’t care because they were just happy to be at a place where their kids were having a blast.”
This summer Kingsway decided to host two Block Party and Family Movie Nights. One took place in June as a kick-off to summer where they showed “Toy Story 3” just prior to the national release of the franchise’s final installment—“Toy Story 4.” The other Block Party will be held August 2 as a celebration to usher in the start of a fresh school year.
The block parties are held on-site in a grassy area where families can set up chairs, put down blankets and settle in to watch the film. The night also includes games, bingo, shaved ice and tons of inflatables as well as cheap but tasty eats.
“The actual event is free and the food is priced very reasonably. For just $2 you can get a hot dog, chips and a drink,” says Cadwell, noting that all money for concessions goes toward their missions fund.
The Hammack family call the KCC Block Party & Movie Nights a “win-win” for their entire family because everyone looks forward to going.
The August Block Party will be similar to the one held in June. The only difference is that it will include water-related inflatables since the weather will be hotter.
“We are looking forward to Kingsway’s next Block Party where there will be lots of exciting activities to enjoy with family and friends,” says Miriam Krober.
Kingsway is happy to provide evenings of safe, free, fun entertainment for families because every time they’ve hosted such events in the past, they’ve been very popular.
“We strive to be a church not just in our community but also a church for our community,” Cadwell says. “And we find that folks respond in incredible ways because of that mission. We’ve just been blown away by the response we’ve gotten, really.”
Lauren Alspaugh says that her family loves these kinds of events at Kingsway because the activities are appropriate for children of all ages.
“An outdoor Movie Night takes something that kids are familiar with and makes it more exciting,” Alspaugh says. “They get to experience watching a movie in a whole new way. It combines using your imagination and being outdoors.”
It’s part of the church’s commitment to excellence.
“Community is one of our core values so we try to provide ways for people to rub shoulders with one another and do life with one another,” Cadwell adds. “Honestly, it’s just awesome to have an evening of fun that’s family-centric.”
The family-centric concept is not new to KCC. For the past decade, the church has partnered with the Avon Chamber of Commerce to hold the Hendricks County Rib Fest & Balloon Glow on their property. Offering their venue was so valuable because as the popular event has continued to grow and gain momentum through the years, they required more room to hold it. Given that there is live entertainment, games, inflatables, lots of food and fireworks, not to mention the hot-air balloons, they needed a sprawling space and plenty of parking, making Kingsway an ideal location. Every year draws a huge crowd — even last year when 10,000 people showed up on an oppressively hot day.
“It just goes to show that people enjoy getting together to celebrate as a community,” Cadwell says. “We believe that’s the center of our mission — to be in the community.”
Kingsway Christian Church is located at 7981 E. County Road 100 N in Avon. For more information about Kingsway or their upcoming August event, call 317-272-2222 or visit kingswaychurch.org.