By Vernon M. Herron
Photography by William C. Youngblood
What is tailgating? I know it is associated with fun, food and fashion; often I hear it in connection and conversation with the Charlotte’s Panthers football games; my church, the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church of Charlotte, NC has a Tailgate Fellowship just before its Homecoming/Revival each year. But I never knew the etymology of the word, TAILGATING.
What is obvious is that tailgating is associated with warm temperature and parking-lot fun. While Yale, Rutgers and Princeton all claim to be the birthplace of tailgate culture, it is nothing more than an “outdoor party.”
Originally, tailgating was a board or a gate at the back of a car, truck, station wagon designed to be moved or swung open or removed on hinges for loading or unloading. Tailgating prevents one from driving too closely behind another vehicle because the meal was originally served on the tailgate. Thus, tailgating is to picnic near one’s automobile or in a parking lot before an event whether it is for sports, religious or otherwise.
My church has a tailgate fellowship in its parking lots and Conference Center just before the annual Homecoming Sunday and the beginning of Revival. This story was first covered in blog 74 under the subject, “Utilizing a Unique Strategy for Spiritual Growth and Development.” It consisted of an array of circle prayers, food (without alcohol), fun and fellowship. It should be noted that this is not a fund-raising event. Rather, each of the 100 ministries is asked to sponsor a social setting for its membership to enhance spiritual growth and development. The goal of this process is to seek an understanding and expansion of knowing what it means to be a Christian.
The three major membership engagements prior to the Revival/Bible Study are the Jericho Walk, the Tailgate Fellowship and an Automobile, Truck and Motor Bike Classic Show. For a description of each, see blog 74.
Scenes from the 2012 Tailgate Fellowship
As previously noted, people are now motivated toward spiritual oneness, which renews/revives the church. This is strategizing for spiritual growth and development. As a result, we noted:
Mass attendance in Bible Study
Souls added to the church family
Growth in church fellowship
“Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and thy truth’s sake.” Psalm 115:1