First Assembly sets lofty goal for crusade

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2005

First Assembly of God in Greenville hopes to reach out to hundreds of area children and youth this July 4 weekend.

The church, located at 418 N. Conecuh St., is hosting a three-day &uot;Kids’ Crusade,&uot; slated to kick off on Sunday, July 3 at 6 p.m. The event continues at 7 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday nights.

Pastor Gregg Zachary, who spent ten years in the Camellia City as a youth, will be leading the crusade.

Zachary, whose father, Pastor Jim Zachary, served at Union Baptist and East Greenville Baptist during their years here, has his own ministry known as Kingdom Kids Crusades. Currently putting on a Kids’ Crusade in Enterprise, the minister is on the road sharing the Gospel in VBS programs, camp meetings, revivals and kids’ events across the Southeast.

&uot;We are really excited to have Gregg coming back to visit us and share his ministry with our community’s children. I think it will be a real blessing,&uot; said Lane Simmons, pastor of First Assembly.

Known as &uot;Pastor Zack,&uot; Zachary incorporates everyday objects and situations into illustrated Bible messages, uses puppets to teach memory verses, performs live action skits, contests and feats of illusion, all in an effort to capture the attention and imagination of children.

&uot;I feel great coming back to Greenville; I have some good friends there. This crusade is going to be a great, fun event for the whole family to enjoy. The goal of our ministry is to enable and encourage children to be all God wants them to be,&uot; Zachary said.

First Assembly’s goal is to see 1,000 youngsters come through the church doors during the crusade and their upcoming VBS, slated for July 10-15.

&uot;Through this effort, we want to reach out to as many children and families as we can in our community,&uot; Matthew Gray said. He and wife Angela currently serve as youth pastors for the church.

&uot;Right now we have 20 to 30 kids involved in our Sunday morning program, and we’d like to double that in the next six months. We really want to grow our children and youth programs here,&uot; Gray said.

The Grays are former youth ministers at First Assembly, who later moved to Mississippi to plant a church.

They returned to Greenville six months ago. Less than a month ago, the Grays, parents of two-year-old Amos Josiah and one-year-old Jasmine Alyse, &uot;stepped up to the plate&uot; to serve as youth pastors once again.

Matthew Gray says he is looking forward to the opportunities First Assembly’s upcoming events offer to area youth, and their families.

&uot;The Kids’ Crusade will be a great, safe way for the kids to celebrate the 4th of July. We’ll be grilling hamburgers on Monday night, and we’ll have a fireworks show for them, too,&uot; said Gray.

The church’s VBS theme this year is &uot;Ultimate Sports Camp.&uot; Gray says the exciting theme promises &uot;to help kids learn important life values.&uot;

The youth minister said the church is also planning more out-of-church activities for its youth, including camping and trips to Six Flags.

&uot;We hope to help our youth see Jesus isn’t just for Sunday mornings; the picture of Jesus in our lives is much, much bigger than that. As a parent and a youth minister, I see the importance of showing people Jesus’ unconditional love, which is important to any age group,&uot; Gray said.

First Assembly offers transportation to those with no way to get to church.

&uot;We do have a bus ministry going, so anyone who needs a ride simply needs to contact the church office,&uot; Gray said.

For more information, contact First Assembly of God at 382-2138 or 382-7611.