Building community connections through sportsmen events

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Pictured Above: Guest speaker, David Ellis brings humor to the event.

With fall in the air, churches throughout Florida are connecting with their communities through sportsmen events designed to reach entire families with the gospel.

Door prizes, food, testimonies, gospel presentations

The eighth annual Sportsman’s Banquet at Friendship Baptist Church in DeFuniak Springs welcomed its largest crowd to date with more than 150 men, women and children gathered together for a night of food, fellowship and gospel sharing.

Friendship Baptist Church Sportsman’s Banquet, Kevin Campbell
Church deacon, Kevin Campbell, welcomes attendees to the 8th Annual Friendship Baptist Church Sportsman’s Banquet.

“This is a lay-lead outreach event initiated by our youngest deacon, Kevin Campbell. He does a great job organizing and planning it every year,” said Mark Rathel who serves as pastor of the church and is also professor of theology at The Baptist College of Florida.

David Ellis, known widely as “Yawt Yawt” from his YouTube channel, was the guest speaker, offering up a little lighthearted comedy. Brad Smith, Walton High School football coach, shared a personal testimony, and Rathel concluded the evening by presenting the plan of salvation.

Since the event in September, the church has followed up with attendees who indicated a desire for more information about Jesus and the church.

Door prizes included BB guns for children, fishing equipment and hunting guns, for adults who pass background checks. The event created a special opportunity for attendees to minister to a family in need. All proceeds from the event were given to a family in the community with a child who has serious healthcare needs.

A similar event is scheduled Nov. 5 at Cluster Springs Baptist Church in DeFuniak Springs. The Cluster Springs Sportsman’s Banquet will feature a 3D archery tournament with categories for youth through adult, door prizes and mount displays.

Local businesses and individuals sponsor the annual event in an effort to reach the local community with the gospel of Christ. Attendance is free and includes a meal consistent with a “dinner-on-the-grounds” at an old country church.

A deer mount display at the event.

“Attendance grows every year, and we expect this year to be bigger than ever with about 150 participants,” said Pastor David Amason.

The 2022 event will feature a testimony from Brodie Swisher, a world champion game caller and editor for

A consistent theme year after year is Genesis 27:3 where Isaac told his son to take his bow out into the field to hunt game. For more information on this event, email or view the church’s Facebook page.

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