Faith Lutheran Lawn Tractor Drill Team Turns Heads and Attracts New Members
The Southern Ohio Synod Bishop's Office recently asked you to share photos from fun and perhaps unique events your congregation holds annually for fun, fellowship and outreach.
This story, printed in the Lancaster Eagle Gazette about Faith Lutheran Church in Baltimore, Ohio is the perfect example of the unique and fun activity we were hoping to receive when our call for stories went out. Read on to learn more about the Faith Lutheran Lawn Tractor Drill Team and see the bottom of the story for some fun photos!
Drill team attracts attention to church
By Carl Burnett Jr.
The Eagle-Gazette Staff
BALTIMORE — There are many ways for a church or congregation to expand its reach, and Faith Lutheran Church has found an innovative one.
For a dedicated group of volunteers and supporters of the Baltimore church, the idea of a tractor drill team started about nine years ago after the church bought about 10 acres of land.
“We were trying to figure out ways to reach out to the community and the Baltimore Festival was coming up and we were struggling with ideas,” said Tim Tucker, a church member. “For the first couple of years, we did use a float pulled by a tractor, but we were looking for something more interesting.”
Around the same time, Tucker had been mowing the 10 acres.
“We had different people doing it, but I was doing it on that day and people were honking their horns and waving at me as they passed by,” he said.
Art Brate, a Faith Lutheran member and the major for the drill team, said the group used to joke that part of its mission was mowing grass.
That’s when the idea came together.
“We had a meeting that night at the church and decided we would form a tractor drill team for the parade,” Tucker said.
“We thought it was a good way to get the word out about faith and our church,” Brate said. “I got the major’s position because I’m pretty tall and people could see me when they were riding tractors.”
Before long, the group consisted of more than a few dozen tractors and riders and a major that leads the parade twirling a weed eater.
Tom Young, a high school band leader, helped develop the routines, Brate said.
Now 10 years later, before the parade volunteers round up the tractors. “They go all across northern Fairfield County to pick up tractors and bring them to the parade line up,” Tucker said.
The group has three formations it uses during a parade.
“The night before (the parade) the church hosts a wiener roast and we have everyone walk through the routine without the tractors,” Tucker said. “It’s a lot of fun to watch the faces of the people as we go by in a parade.”
Tucker said that the effort has attracted some new church members.
“We had 27 tractors with about 40 to 45 volunteers helping with it this year,” he said. “We have people who participate who aren’t members of the church as well.
“It’s just a great opportunity to break the ice; show even though we are a church, we can have some fun as well,” Tucker said.
Faith Lutheran Pastor Bruce Quatman said the drill team is a lot fun.
“People see us and it generates awareness and its fun,” Quatman said.
“If the people then come to our church or go to their own and try to develop more fun ideas, I think it is positive.”
Download the exerpt from Faith Lutheran's newsletter to share with your congregation. Perhaps their imaginations will be sparked to create their own fun outreach activity. If it does, please share the results with the Bishop's Office. We want to share your activities with others.