On Saturday night April 30, Camdenton Community Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) at Lake of the Ozarks hosted Gateway Elite Wrestling. Entertainment wrestling is family friendly, as the wrestlers act out a live-action comic book scenario. The wrestlers are amazing athletes! This local, upstart wrestling company needed a facility and Community Christian Church had the perfect gymnasium for them. Not only that, but this wrestling company wanted to give 35% of ticket sales to a local charity of choice. When Senior Minister William Brown was first given this opportunity, he was hesitant for multiple reasons. Pastor Brown shared “I have never witnessed an entertainment wrestling event in my life. Isn’t that violent? Does this cross the line of something I want in our church building?” After prayerful consideration and thought, it was decided that this is exactly what needs to be happening at a church!
The story gets even better! The Lake of the Ozarks Stop Human Trafficking Coalition was selected by Community Christian Church as the recipient organization. Pastor Brown was hesitant during the process and thought to himself, “Am I following God’s call in this congregation and community?” The answer again was YES! The mission of the Lake of the Ozarks Stop Human Trafficking Coalition is to bring awareness to the reality of human trafficking and stop it. With the partnership of Gateway Elite Wrestling and Community Christian Church, hundreds of people learned about human trafficking and its terrible reality. Seeds were planted throughout the Lake region in the weeks preceding by passing out flyers, sharing posters, sharing the story on the radio, and word of mouth at church and at the Stop Human Trafficking Coalition meetings. Gateway Elite Wrestling shared the human trafficking story at the event on April 30 too and even sold t-shirts that said “BODYSLAM HUMAN TRAFFICKING”. Furthermore, the Human Trafficking Coalition had a banner hanging and a table with information and handouts. A whole new group of people were made aware in the Lake area! To ask if this event was a success, is summed up by one of the owners of the wrestling company, “three months ago, I knew nothing about Human Trafficking and now I know so much!”
The synergy of this event was not over. The church was contacted about a child desiring to attend a pro-wrestling event through Dream Factory. The wrestling event fulfilled the young boy’s dream and the wrestlers honored him wonderfully. Community Christian Church provided hospitality through welcoming the over 160 people, and running the concession stand (a percentage of the proceeds was also given to the Human Trafficking Coalition). People gathered in the church. There was fellowship. There was laughter. There was fun. People’s lives were made better because of the event! We are being God’s church when we welcome, and when lives are enriched. Praise be to God!
Story by Rev. William Brown.
Photos courtesy of Sky View Photography.