When the Renaissance Bible Church congregation walked into church on Halloween morning, they had nowhere to sit.
No chairs were set up. There was no stage, and no musicians waited to lead worship in the Cabarrus YMCA gym, where the church meets.
"Church as usual turned into church unusual," Pastor Brian Goins said.
Instead, about 90 adults and 20 children were directed to the Kangaroo gas station at the Afton Ridge shopping center, where the church planned to give away more than $5,000 in gas to unsuspecting motorists.
At first, church member Brad Henry said, he thought he was getting into more "traditional" outreach.
"I'm kind of unnerved when someone says, "Meet here and we're going to go out into the world,'" Henry said. "I really wasn't on board with it until we got out there."
The congregation divided into teams, talking with drivers, pumping gas and squeegeeing windows. Each driver received $25 in gas.
Church members say that morning at the gas station brought miraculous encounters and ended up being more meaningful to them, they say, than to those who got the free gas.
One driver's window wouldn't open so he could talk to her, Henry said, so he reached for the door handle. When he looked up, the woman was crying.
"She grabbed me and said, 'You'll never know what this means,'" Henry said. "She said, 'I have four kids, I have no money left, and my fuel light just came on.'" Henry said he could see four children in the back of her van.
"You could tell this was something like her last straw."
Another woman, also with a broken window, told Henry she had just gotten a job in Winston-Salem, but she was out of gas and didn't have the money to fill her tank to get there.
Friends had called her as word quickly spread about the Sunday morning gas giveaway.
"She just looked at me and said, 'God is faithful, isn't he?'" Henry said.
Church member Elizabeth Lindsey said her group pumped gas for a newlywed couple.
"They had just gotten married the day before," Lindsey said, "and they felt blessed that God had given them another gift."
Lindsey said church members pumped gas for an hour and 15 minutes. Her group filled about 20 tanks.
She said she knew going into the morning that the gas giveaway would be a blessing for the community.
"It was just being a part of something so much bigger than me," she said. "I felt (that) the spirit at work in our church, and (how) we came together as a church, was very moving."
Goins said many drivers asked, "Now, what's the catch?"
The church is collecting donations for the Crisis Pregnancy Center of Cabarrus and gave drivers information about the center. On Saturday, they held a collection drive at the West Cabarrus YMCA's fall festival and are still collecting diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream and Enfamil Lipil baby formula at that YMCA.
"More than spotlight our church, we wanted to spotlight the needs in our community," Goins said. "We hoped those we pampered with free gas will help pamper a needy child this holiday season."
Henry said Goins often calls church "the huddle" and reminds congregants that football announcers don't say, "That was a great huddle." The game, Henry said, is during the week.
"People serving is the key: doing kind acts, doing things for people," Henry said. "We could have easily stayed home and said, 'I don't want to do that outreach stuff.'
"But Jesus is all about us going out in the world and doing kind acts of compassion."