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Pastor Monty Muehlebach hopes that good barbecue and a puppet show will help draw people to his church for some fellowship and fun.

Sims Corner Church will host some special Cowboy Catering Company barbecue and a unique puppet show provided by the Operation Puppet Ministries. The event is set for 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 6, at the Sims Corner Church.

Muehlebach said the puppet show idea continues to be a popular draw, with several of these events hosted in the past year.

The idea got its start when Muehlebach's friend had some old puppets at her church.

"I said, 'Come do a puppet show at my church,'" Muehlebach said.

Since then, church members have hosted a puppet show on the Fourth of July and at a festival last fall.

Stephanie Holloway, who heads up Operation Puppet Ministries, hails from the Jesus Name Pentecostal Church in Springdale.

Her main goal with the puppet ministry is to reach others, no matter where they attend church -- or if they attend a church.

Puppet shows as a ministry are a little outside the norm. But reaching children -- and adults -- is powerful with a great message and some puppets.

"We're all working for the same goal," Holloway said.

The puppet ministry started about 10 years ago at Holloway's church but, after the pastor died, the ministry went into a phase of nonactivity.

The person who financed the Sims Corner Church renovation happened to be attending the Springdale church at the time. One day, Muehlebach visited the church. In speaking with Holloway and her husband, Muehlebach learned that their church had puppets.

"His eyes got really big and he said, 'You have puppets?'"

From there, the ministry -- which had mainly performed for its own church -- brushed up on its skills and put on a presentation.

It was accepted so well that Muehlebach asked the group to come back two other times. This performance, set for Sunday evening, will be the third such event at Sims Corner Church.

Holloway and her dedicated volunteers practice up to twice a week and have taken their show on the road to some others -- mainly nursing home residents.

Older people love the 30-minute show and clap between scenes. Sometimes, the older folks simply don't want the performers to leave, Holloway said.

With quite a bit of training and practice, the group works hard to bring forward a message about God and make it entertaining. They keep the performances to about 30 minutes, to keep the young and the older ones' attention.

The performance is oftentimes specialized for a particular season, as in the Christmas story, or Easter. On Sunday, the troupe will focus on the season of planting and spreading the Word.

The group is focused on using its talents to reach others. Most of the volunteers are 40 and older. The church also utilizes retirees in their 70s, as well as a woman who is wheelchair-bound but enjoys assisting.

At first, Holloway hoped the ministry would help them grow their own church. She finally came to realize that "if that's God's will, it will happen."

In the meantime, the puppet ministry is taking its show on the road at no cost to bring a smile and a prayer.

"Sometimes we find out later we did touch somebody."

Sunday's event is free and open to the public. The church is located at 10289 E. Highway 90, Pineville.

For information, call the church at 417-435-2217 or Holloway at 479-263-2240.

General News on 05/03/2018

Print Headline: Church Plans Barbecue, Puppet Show To Minister To Others

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