At the end of September every year, a magical transformation happens and I become the pumpkin queen in order to serve as the coordinator of our church’s annual Pumpkin Patch. This is our 8th year to have the pumpkin patch and I can honestly say that I love EVERY single aspect of the pumpkin patch. All of it. My passion and enthusiasm for our Pumpkin Patch is 100% authentic. I love it.
It’s more than a pumpkin. It’s WAY more than a fundraiser. It’s who we are—we ARE The Pumpkin Patch Church.
All year long, when members of our church encounter others around town and describe their church, they say, “you know, we’re the church with the big steeple on the hill.” Sometimes that garners a response from the listener, but most of the time, if we say, “You know, we’re The Pumpkin Patch Church,” the listener smiles and says that of course they know which church we are talking about.
I have every reason to have a love-hate relationship with pumpkins, but I don’t. I am so very grateful for every aspect of it—from seeing how our church comes together every year to make it happen to seeing how this fundraising effort enables our children and youth to do and experience and share the love of God through Jesus Christ in countless ways!
We unload 2 full-sized semis filled to the brim with approximately 10,000 pumpkins of every shape, size, and color.
We host about 20-30 school groups and daycares who come to visit during our Story Time Field Trips (and yes, I read the SAME stories over and over again, but I wouldn’t have it any other way).
We have church members fill 4 shifts per day for 32 days. That’s 128 work shifts and we have anywhere from 2-4 people serve in each shift, which means that there are between 256 and 512 opportunities for church members to engage with one another as they engage with those from the community who come to visit.
We maintain a special facebook page just for the patch. In the last 7 days, we have accumulated 100+ new likes on the page! That’s amazing!
We provide a platform for our Noah’s Ark Preschool to host a wonderful new annual Carnival to raise funds for their Teacher Education Fund.
We host a Picnic in the Patch and set up a giant inflatable screen for families to come and watch outdoor movies for free late one Saturday night in the Patch.
We sell pumpkin faced t-shirts every year that help with advertizing, but more importantly, bring a smile to the faces of the children (and grown ups) who wear them.
We borrow 100 pallets and have volunteers go get them, lay them out on the grass, move them around, and then return them at the end of the month.
We take rotten pumpkins to the dumpster or a rancher comes to pick them up to give them to the cows and pigs to devour. Rot happens. It’s gross, but it’s what happens when vegetables sit for too long.
We see families who now have children who have taken a photo in our pumpkin patch every single year of their life—it’s their family tradition to come to our Pumpkin Patch.
We allow Waco photographers to host mini-sessions in the patch and we love seeing them capture special moments of children and families as they make memories together.
We have the children and youth of the church go on a hunt for the “Great Pumpkin” that is hidden somewhere in Waco.
We have a “pumpkin chunkin'” event after the patch–no explanation needed. Yes, whatever you’re thinking is exactly what we do!
Oh, and we sell pumpkins….lots and lots of pumpkins.
And because we sell pumpkins…..lots and lots of pumpkins….
more people know about our church family.
more people come to visit our church on Sunday mornings (and some of them even keep coming!)
more connections are made between CCC members who don’t normally cross paths.
more funds are available to take the children and youth shopping for toys for the Mission Waco Toy Store.
more funds are available for us to tithe to Caritas Food Bank.
more funds are available for youth to go to camp and on mission trips.
more funds are available for our innovative, creative, and growing children’s ministry.
So, can you see how there is no possible way that I can have anything but love for pumpkins?
Now excuse me, I’ve gotta go work in the Patch–hope to see you there!