Augusta Outdoor Ministries Inc. is not a church. The organization does, however, exist to share Christ’s message, and to promote outdoor recreation.
This month, the group, an outgrowth of Warren Baptist Church, will hold its second annual Augusta Outdoor Expo.
See eagles, hawks and reptiles, fish from a portable trout pond or watch fishing and lure demonstrations from professional fisherman atop a 4,000-gallon aquarium at James Brown Arena from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 27.
Tickets to the second annual event provide access to more than 100 vendors, an Outdoor Channel Outfitters World Record Display, Wild Cheff Denny Corriveau and photos with The General Lee.
“We want to be a communitywide event,” said Adam Harris, an event organizer. “We want to be a kingdom-building event, not an event that builds Warren.”
Every adult admission includes raffle tickets for giveaways and door prizes for items including a Bad Boy Buggy Instinct, front row Guitar Pull tickets or large Big Green Egg grill. Every student ticket includes a chance to win one of 10 lifetime hunting licenses.
The first Augusta Outdoor Expo was held in August last year at Warren Baptist. The church hoped for a few hundred to turn out. More than 1,400 came.
“We had to turn hundreds of people away at the door,” Harris said. “Fortunately we also had stuff for them outside.”
Jimmy Sites, the host of Spiritual Outdoor Adventures, spoke last year, and 12 people “committed their lives to Christ,” Harris said.
“This place was packed,” he said. “These were men who wouldn’t darken the door of a church. But talking about hunting and fishing? Hey, let’s go.”
This year, bass fisherman and television host Hank Parker will speak at the expo. Parker, the first angler to win the Grand Slam of Bass Fishing, was inducted into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame in 2003. Since 1985, he has been host of the popular series, Hank Parker’s Outdoor Magazine.
“He’s just captivating,” Harris said.
This year, a follow-up dinner is planned for the Thursday after the expo. Thomson High School Football Coach Milan Turner will speak.
The James Brown Arena, Harris said, “is a big place. It’s hard to make personal connections.” The dinner fills that gap.
“We all know the statistics of what happens when you reach the men of the house,” Harris said. “We want a long-term plan to reach a diverse and lost community to share the light of Christ with.”