Since launching last November, our app Redeem the Commutehas been installed on mobile phones and tablets almost 1,000 times, and our course content is accessed hundreds of times a month. We’re thrilled about these numbers, since they are great indicators of potential for a local Christian community to form in Ajax.
Our next step was to begin hosting some community-building events to assess our users’ interest in face-to-face gatherings, and to connect with new people. On Sept. 27, Redeem the Commute hosted a free Outdoor Family Movie Night at Lakeside Amphitheatre on the Ajax waterfront, surrounded by commuting households. The event offered scattered mobile users a chance to gather and meet other members of Redeem the Commute’s online community. It was also an opportunity for Redeemer to share what it does with an entire neighbourhood.
The team of volunteers expected about 100 people to attend, and had popcorn donated from the local theatre to feed 200, just in case people were hungry. By the end of the evening, almost 400 people came out. Admission was free, and we collected hundreds of non-perishable food items for a local foodbank whose staff lit up with joy when the saw such a big delivery.
Everyone who came enjoyed a great movie, free popcorn, cheap refreshments and learned what Redeem the Commute is all about from a short video before the film began, and while meeting the snack bar volunteers. Movie-goers donated hundreds of items for the local foodbank. The leadership team heard great reviews of the evening, both in person and on social media. “We hope they do this next year!” wrote one, while another wrote, “We’ve lived here 11 years and never seen this amphitheatre used. Thanks!”
Our favourite quote was when a child asked his father why we’d give such a generous gift when if we’d just charged $2 per person, we could have “made a lot of money.” His father’s response, “I don’t think they’re interested in our money” showed that the event had communicated something very important about our values as a missional Christian community.
This event was worth every dollar we spent, and if you agree, we’d love your help! We’ve already had personal and business sponsors cover around 50% of the evening’s costs, and the rest has come from our hospitality budget. But with a gift of $100, or any donation, you will help offset the costs of advertising, film rights, equipment rental and more and can give us the confidence to make this an annual event.