More than 1,000 Southeast Christian Church members live in Bullitt County, but they attend four different campuses: Blankenbaker, Elizabethtown, Indiana and Southwest.
“People are about 25 minutes from each of those campuses, so many of our folks attend the same church as their neighbors, but have never encountered one another,” Community Engagement Pastor Heath Barth said.
So Southeast decided to do something to bring the church family together in a big way.
On Sunday, Nov. 17, Southeast hosted a one-time live stream watch party for more than 400 people at Pleasant Grove Elementary School in Mt. Washington, Kentucky.
Southeast members and attendees, and even some new faces from all over the county, worshiped, prayed and watched “Empty the Jar,” the fifth sermon from Senior Pastor Kyle Idleman’s Mantra series.
The event came from a desire to see Bullitt County catch the wind of the Holy Spirit together.
“About 80% of Southeast people who live in Bullitt County aren’t connected outside of coming to church on Sunday,” Barth said. “So, we thought, ‘How do we get our people together and how do we get them plugged in?’ We wanted to give our folks the opportunity to see what God is already doing in this community and give them a chance to join in.”
Barth, who lives in Bullitt County, said the resounding message at the watch party was, “We may not have a campus, but we have a church here, and it’s you guys.”
During the event, families with young children were given the choice of staying in the school’s gym, the main worship area, or going to the cafeteria, where the sermon was also being live streamed.
Barth said, “If the kids get loud, Jesus won’t be offended. We’ll just turn the volume up louder.”
Nearly every family stayed in the gym.
“That gets me excited—that most of our families wanted to worship and hear God’s Word preached together,” Barth said.
Dozens of volunteers served in the parking lot, welcomed attendees, handed out coffee and doughnuts and helped people make new connections.
Jordon and Rikki Lee Smith, who attend the Blankenbaker Campus, served for the first time at the watch party.
At the end of the service, guests were given commitment cards.
People could commit to getting involved with Men’s or Women’s Ministry groups in their neighborhoods, host a live stream party in their home or workplace or serve in the community.
Representatives from A Loving Choice pregnancy resource center in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, and Mark 12 Ministries, a white-flag shelter for the homeless in Shepherdsville, provided information on how to serve.
Nearly 80 people connected with those organizations.
Barth said he can’t wait to see how God will continue to work in Bullitt County.
“Polls have shown that around 92% of the 78,000 people living in Bullitt County don’t go to church on Sunday,” Barth said. “It’s the second-most unchurched county in Kentucky. Ultimately, we want to do our part to come together and connect people outside the church to Jesus and one another.”