“We are seeking to serve Him, and we can have a lot of fun doing that.”
In February, 50 youth from Bellefontaine Grace Church (BGC) in Bellefontaine, Ohio, participated in a Supermarket Sweep for charity. The youth group raised money, hosted a gameshow night at a local grocery store, and purchased food to donate to a local food bank.
“At the beginning of the year, we challenged each student to raise fifty dollars and bring it to the Supermarket Sweep,” said Nick Mazza, pastor on staff at BGC. The money raised by students and leaders totaled more than $2,300, all of which went toward buying grocery items that would be donated to their local food bank.
The idea originated from Ethan Bunce, pastor at BGC, who participated in a similar event at Grace College in Winona Lake, Ind. Ethan presented the idea to Nick, and Nick teamed up with leaders Ellie Barnard and Cadan Goldstein to create a plan. Nick worked with the manager at the grocery store Community Market, who was thrilled to host the event.
The youth group formed teams by grade and the collected money was divided amongst them. The teams participated in various challenges to earn extra money and time for shopping. Youth volunteer Kohltin Hoeppner served as gameshow host for the evening.
The first round was trivia of slogans, jingles, and logo Pictionary. The senior class won that round and got to begin shopping before the other groups. “Teams had a shopping list of essentials and nonperishable items. That was our baseline, so we knew the basic necessities would be cared for,” Nick said.
The second round was food finds, where each team had a representative pair that would solve a riddle leading them to a specific food item. The first pair that solved the riddle and brought the item to the front won extra shopping money.
The third round was the final sweep where students were looking for eight items in a treasure hunt. Once they brought an item to the front, they would get a clue for the next item. “Students were on the edge of their seats, ready to race for the items,” Nick said.
The event took place on a Wednesday night, during both normal youth group meeting time and normal business hours for Community Market. The employees cheered on the students and explained the event to store patrons. One patron happened to be a local reporter who did a spur-of-the-moment interview and wrote a story about the event in the local Bellefontaine newspaper.
“I was really praying about this,” Nick said. “I wanted us to be an aroma of Christ to our community – not just in what we were doing but in how we were doing it.”
Nick shared the Bible passage 2 Corinthians 2:15–17 with the students, encouraging them to have good behavior and to be an aroma of Christ. BGC’s theme verse is John 1:4–5, with an emphasis on the church being a light in darkness. The goal of the Supermarket Sweep event was to be a light in their community while showing the students that serving the Lord can be fun.
“Sometimes we get bogged down, thinking we just need to trudge through it and persevere, but serving the Lord can be fun. It should be the most joyful thing that we do,” Nick said. “We hope this event helps get the students excited about serving the Lord.”
The BGC youth purchased items to fill 22 boxes of food. “We’ll definitely do it again,” Nick said. “It’s a great way to have fun and love on our community.”