Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Build it and they will come!

Eight years ago we needed a new roof on our church (slate) and we needed to expand our parish school. So, what is a rural congregation to do in raising Big $ for a needed building projects?

The solution - build a maze - and the people will come! We planted a 5 acre field of corn and then on Memorial Day weekend with tillers and hoes in hand 50 members dug out a maze in the shape of a church. The objective, have people walk through a field of corn trying to solve a riddle. (who abducted "corn guy"?) Along the path people could read clues to help solve the riddle and become educated as to the various and sundry uses for corn. We advertised it as family fun event and as a team building exercise for organizations, youth groups etc. We charge what one would pay to see a movie (which at the time was about $5) We offered food, water, did a little bit of advertising and the people we were promises would come. The maze was open on Saturdays and Sundays and for special events. July and August had a few visitors but by September word got out that we had something going. In October we added a "haunted maze" and the people came flocking...

We ran a maze in 1999, 2000, and 2001, and had close to 30,000 visitors (from over 30 states) and raised close to $200,000 for a new church roof and an addition to our school And we also welcomed into our fellowship two families who were unchurched, who invited their families, who invited their families and before we knew it five new families were added to our church and school.

I must be honest...when two women from the parish came up with this idea my first thought was that they had lost their minds however, it brought the people together (we needed about 30 volunteers each day) and the fruit of that labor still remain.

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