Churches and the Missionary Task: Evangelism

In the world of missions people rightly ask, “What really does a missionary do?”  In turn, many rightly ask, “What, then, does a short-term mission team do?”  Back in February, I began a series discussing the missionary task which is explained helpfully by the International Mission Board (IMB) through their IMB Foundations Magazine.   

IMB mobilizer D. Ray Davis states, “I’ve noticed a tendency among Christians to think the work of professional missionaries is somehow different from that of churches and their short-term teams. But it’s important to understand that the missionary task is the same for everyone” (“Churches: Essential Partners in the Missionary Task”).  The task of missions is the same for the individual answering the call to the mission field or the local church sending the called to the field. 

IMB photo

In February, I explained the first component in the missionary task—entry.  To make disciples where disciples do not exist, missionaries must enter among peoples and places.  “Entry is important, but simply being there is not enough,” Davis explains (“Churches”).  This reality leads us to the second component in the missionary task—evangelism. 

Every believer is tasked with sharing his or her faith in Jesus.  Some are more particularly gifted than others, but all are to share.  Missionaries, regardless of their specific jobs, are expected to share Jesus with unbelievers.  There is no Great Commission if evangelism is not part of the task.  While the end goal of disciple-making is not evangelism, it does begin there. 

Davis reminds us that “following the missionary’s evangelism strategy, well-prepared church partners can help spread the gospel in ways that are both winsome and appropriate to the context” (“Churches”).  Sharing the full content of the gospel message appropriate to the language and culture of the unbeliever is essential. Churches partnering with missionaries to evangelize should follow the strategy of the missionary, as they have immersed themselves in the language and culture of their host country and people. 

In all, missionaries and churches must trust that only the Holy Spirit can change a person’s heart (Foundations).  The Spirit of God empowers the people of God to bring witness to those who need God.  Regardless of the strategy of evangelism, only God can open blind eyes and unstop deaf ears to embrace the gospel message.  Thus, missionaries and partnering churches can share Jesus with confidence, knowing that He alone has the ability to bring the dead to life.   

What has your mission year looked like?

In a year that has been anything but normal, what has your church done in the area of missions?  Dates had been set, plans had been made, funds had been set aside for that summer mission trip, then COVID hit.  Everything practically shut down and, more than likely, your mission trip was cancelled.  This left you somewhat disappointed but think about those you were going to serve. 

COVID-19 has also left many of the missionaries disappointed and, in some instances, even discouraged.  They were looking forward to the fellowship with volunteers and mission teams.  They had projects to be completed.  They were depending on resources and funds from those scheduled to come.  They could no longer do ministry as usual and had to adjust their methods of service.  They grew tired of constantly ministering and giving with no one to minister and pour into their own lives. 

I pray that you did not forget these missionaries with whom you had planned to serve, but that you continued to stay in touch and encourage as much as you could.  And it is not too late.  Consider these ways you can continue to be involved in missions during the remainder of 2020.

  1. Pray for the missionaries and ministries.  Ask them for specific prayer requests.
  2. Call or email the missionaries just to see how they are doing, encourage them and find out about specific needs.
  3. Send a card to let the missionaries know you are thinking of them.
  4. Send a care package or gift card to thank them for their service.
  5. Provide resources that you know the ministry may need.
  6. Donate to the ministry.  One of the Kentucky missionaries shared that, even though mission teams had to cancel, a couple of them sent funds that they had set aside to use for their trip.  The missionaries depend on these funds for ministry and these donations are a big help to continue ministering.
  7. Pack a Christmas backpack for the missionaries to share with needy children. Since many Vacation Bible Schools were cancelled this year one church has suggested redirecting funds budgeted for VBS to fill Christmas backpacks. 

Ask God to show you innovative ways to support the work of missionaries in Kentucky and abroad.  Last year in our state many needy children and families were fed and clothed, homeless and hurting were ministered to, ladies with unplanned or unwanted pregnancies were encouraged to choose life instead of abortion, widows, internationals and refugees were served, those in prison or recovery were ministered to and, most of all, the Gospel of Christ was shared.  Our Kentucky missionaries reported 2095 professions of faith in Christ last year as a result of their ministries and you were a part of this as your prayed, encouraged, gave and served with them.  Thank you for adapting and not “cancelling” your 2020 mission experience!! 

Standing Ready

Disasters come whether one is prepared or not, and tragically most churches fail to prepare for disaster events in their community.

As Stephen Cyros declared, “Remember, when disaster strikes, the time to prepare has passed.”

Be prepared as a church by:

  1. Encouraging the need for preparation. Church leaders can lead in providing disaster preparation information that includes safety, first-aid, needed supplies, and evacuation or shelter instructions to those in our churches. People who are prepared have increased survivability in times of disaster.
  2. Assessing the greatest and most likely disaster threats for your community.
  3. Examining the church property to determine if there are ways to minimize loss and to improve the church’s ability to withstand a disaster event.
  4. Ensuring that the membership understands evacuation or sheltering plans if a disaster occurs while the church is gathered.
  5. Devising a plan to check on church members in the aftermath of disasters. Focus a priority on the most vulnerable in your family of faith such as the elderly, those with disabilities, single mothers, and those with health issues. This could be a great ministry for deacons or other church ministry groups.
  6. Developing a ministry plan for the church in the aftermath of disasters. Often churches miss opportunities to meet real needs and to have life-changing impact with families in the aftermath of disasters because they have not planned for a disaster. Crisis events open doors for the Gospel as people are seeking help and answers. God has placed the church in communities to be His hands and voice, but we need to think about how we can best help survivors in the aftermath of a disaster.
  7. Connecting with other churches in your community and other organizations to discuss how to prepare and respond to disasters. Most County Emergency Managers would welcome churches who genuinely want to help, and who have a plan to meet vital needs. We can always do more together than any of us can do alone.
  8. Being prepared to pivot the focus of the church in the aftermath of a disaster. The day after a disaster strikes your community is probably not the time to begin a new ministry, but the church demonstrates a lack of compassion and awareness if it does not pivot from the routine and put priority focus on responding to the loss that disasters bring. In the aftermath of disasters, the church needs to show the Gospel in action.

The Scripture gives a great word for the church as we seek to prepare for times of disaster in Proverbs 27:12,

“The prudent see danger and take refuge,
    but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.”

What is Missions in the New Normal?

In Matthew 13:44, Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from the joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” As pastors and church leaders empowering our congregations to reassemble for worship and live for Christ in a post Covid context, we must ask ourselves and our churches some challenging questions. Has our hope and joy always been in Christ and the kingdom of heaven? As church buildings have been empty, attendance numbers not counted, budgets potentially altered, are we striving to simply return to normal, so we can persevere and endure as the church at Ephesus? Who or what is our first love? Is Christ calling us to “go” back to Church or to “be” the Church?

As a Great Commission people, we are called to preach the gospel and make disciples of all nations, by either planting churches among those who have never heard of Christ, or by revitalizing churches among those who have forgotten about Christ. But during this pandemic, it feels like everything has been on hold. Church members are asking how to be the church in our current situation, and what does missions in the new normal look like?  

The book of Jeremiah reminds us that because of Israel’s unwillingness to turn from their idols, God allowed the Babylonians to destroy Israel and the temple. Most of the vessels of the sanctuary and many of the Jews were carried away to Babylon as slaves for 70 years. Israel had their nation and their identity taken from them, and they longed to get back to the way things were. The false prophet Hananiah told them what they wanted to hear, which was that they would return home in two years. But God told His people that while they were captives in Babylon, they were to build houses, plant gardens, and instead of decreasing, they were to marry and continue to increase. In addition, they were to seek the welfare of the city in which they lived and to pray to the Lord for it because their own welfare would come from the welfare of that city.

Their situation should resonate with us during this time. We must recognize that God does not always want us to get back to the way things were. He is doing something during this time to awaken His people. We may be in these circumstances for a while, or at least in some form. God uses times like these to challenge His people both personally and corporately. He desires idols to fall and the church to return to its biblical core.

So, what are we to do as we come out of this pandemic? How has God refined us during this situation, and what has changed moving forward? Remember, during this time of sheltering in place, many have been plowing new ground for the kingdom. The kingdom advances every time you teach Scripture in a Zoom Bible study and someone turns to the Lord or they surrender a part of their heart they have been holding on to. The kingdom advances every time someone who never would have come to church watches an online service. The kingdom advances every time the church is pushed to get away from traditionalism and to define their worship services by the core elements seen in Scripture. The kingdom advances every time another pastor stays the course instead of yielding to discouragement.

Pastors and church leaders, as the ones whom the Lord has called to feed His sheep, may we lead our churches to Repent of our Idols, Return to being the Church, and Reimagine Missions in the New Normal:

  1. Repent of our Idols
    • Idol of Event
    • Idol of Success
    • Idol of Gifted Leader
    • Idol of Busyness
  2. Return to being the Church
    • Return to the New Testament Vision of the Church
    • Return or revisit God’s call to Worship, Discipleship, Ministry, Fellowship, Evangelism, Prayer
    • Return or Revisit the characteristics of a healthy church
      • Evangelism, Discipleship, Membership, Leadership
      • Preaching and Teaching, Ordinances, Worship, Fellowship
      • Prayer, Accountability and Discipline, Giving, Missions
    • Return or Revisit leadership roles
      • Pastors equipping the saints
      • Servant Deacons caring for the vulnerable
      • Every Believer ministering the gospel
  3. Reimagine Missions in the New Normal
    • Maintain missions as our catalyzing principle
    • Ground our mission strategy in God’s Word. Missiology is not methodology; it is applied Theology.
    • Work together and serve one another. Individualism is killing the American church.

Shepherds, as we seek to be the church and share the gospel in the new normal, let our first love be Christ and His word!  Let us equip the saints to not only find their joy and identity in Christ alone, but also to share their joy and the hope of the gospel in a fallen world. Let us love and serve our families well, and may we be willing to sacrifice everything for the glory of God. Remember, missions in the New Normal is simply missions in the New Testament.

The Missions Mobilization Team is here to serve you and your church as you seek to fulfill the Great Commission. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please contact me, John Barnett, at [email protected] May the Lord continue to give us wisdom, as we continue to seek His face. (Ref: IMB, BSCNC).

A Lesson Learned Long Ago About Encouragement

Our team packed into a couple of small vehicles and made our way down the pothole filled streets where we would then turn off the paved roads and down the bumpy one-way dirt roads. We traveled these dusty roads until we came to a clearing, where mud huts and grass roofs were scattered around the villages in this West African country.  As the people came out to see who was arriving in their village, they quickly began gathering members from the local Baptist church.  Word had reached them that we were coming. 

Once gathered, we would share Scripture with the church members, offer a word of greeting from the church in the US, and pray for the believers.  We did this same routine repeatedly, spending only a short amount of time at each village.  After many stops, I pulled Stevens aside.  Stevens was a local pastor who worked with our team.  Missionaries came to his village the day he was born, and his witchdoctor father named him after the missionaries that day.    

“Stevens,” I wondered, “are we doing any good by traveling from village to village and staying only a short amount of time?”  His slender 6’6” frame leaned down to me as he insisted with his English accent, “Oh, never underestimate what your encouragement does for our people! It’s huge!”

Light bulb moment!  That’s exactly what Paul is getting at in Acts 14 and 15.  Toward the end of his first missionary journey and the beginning of his second, Paul made it a practice to travel back to the churches previously planted and “strengthen the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith” (Acts 14:22; 15:41).  Why?  Because we all need encouragement. Perhaps like never in recent years has the church needed encouragement in the faith. 

Paul tells these early churches, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).  Today is no different.  Life is hard. The fight against sin is hard.  Living for Jesus is hard.  Now throw in the mix challenges like viruses, political turmoil, escalated racial tensions, financial strains, mandated and self-regulated quarantines, and the tragedy of death.  No wonder even the church is weary.    

During it all, the church is still called to the Great Commission. The gospel moves forward even when the world is in a pandemic.  Preachers still preach. Evangelists still share. Missionaries still cross cultures.  The church continues to make disciples.  But in times like this, it’s easy to become discouraged and weary.

Like Paul before us, what pastor might you encourage this week?  What missionary can you contact and pray for that he or she might be “strengthened and encouraged”?  What church can you lift in prayer and then make aware that you did just that?  You and I might be surprised at what a simple word of encouragement and prayer will do for other believers seeking to make disciples of Jesus.  As my friend Stevens says, “Oh, never underestimate what your encouragement does for our people!  It’s huge!”  Go and do likewise.    

Are you missing your blessing?

For this week’s blog post I would like to share an inspirational story written on June 26th by KY-MSC Missionary Laura Roberts, Executive Director of Starfish Orphan Ministry in Paducah.  So thankful for missionaries and ministries such as this that show and share the love of Christ daily to families across Kentucky.

Yesterday at Starfish Orphan Ministry a young woman came in with her mother. She explained her story about how she had found herself homeless and pregnant with 2 children. She had to give up her children temporarily while she got her life back together.

The good news is, she worked hard and got them back, and was moving into an apartment yesterday. The problem was, she had nothing. (Like no beds for her or her children to sleep in, no towels to dry with, no chairs to sit in, no pots and pans to cook in…). We explained to her that we had almost everything she needed, even pictures to hang on the walls, she and her mother both cried. They were humble and thankful. We explained that it was God blessing her and her children. God had led people to donate much of this, and allowed us to be a tiny part in the process of blessing her with it.

My friend and I prayed with her and her mom, as they both wept. This girl had all the required paperwork to back up what she had told us. When we were done with that part of it, we had explained that we did not have anyone to deliver to her right then. She said she had someone that could pick it up.

When the elderly man arrived in a small pickup truck to get the apartment full of furniture , he explained that he had just gotten out of the hospital, and could not lift anything heavy, and would not be able to make multiple trips. He had just felt sorry for her and offered to drive.

It was almost end of the day, there were no men there, some of the volunteers had already gone home, but there were myself and four other women left. We came from different backgrounds, but it didn’t matter. We had different skin colors, but it didn’t matter. We had different reasons for volunteering that day. One of us was ordered by a judge to be there, but it didn’t matter because she said “I’ll call my mom, she will help too. So, 6 women loaded the big box truck and headed out at the time that “volunteer time” was over. We worked together to deliver this gift to this mom and her children.

We all left feeling blessed to have gotten to see the difference made. A very pregnant mom and her children would have had to sleep on the floor, but instead their family was together for the first night in a long time, and they each had their own bed! Praise God!

When I climbed into my bed last night I thanked God for their beds and my bed. I thanked God for the people who donated the items, and for the people who folded and sorted the items, for all the people and groups who have raised money for us to buy the material to build the beds and those who have donated to them, for the friend who oversees the bed building, for the mattress company who donates crazy amounts of mattresses for children in need. I thanked God for the foundation that supports Starfish with operating expenses so that we can stay open and all other donations can go to help the families like this one and for little children who raise money with lemonade stands or recitals in Grandma’s yard. I thanked Him for the churches that support Starfish monthly and the individuals who stick a random check in the mail or donate online. I wished that all those people could have been there and seen that Mamma cry!

Then I thought about the blessing. …. who was blessed today? The woman and her children obviously, but I guarantee you that each woman that helped today would tell you that we were blessed as much as the woman was!

Starfish is getting more requests each day. Our overfilled warehouse is looking vastly different! We are very low on some types of furniture. We have missed out on lots of furniture lately because of no one to pick it up.

For those who deliver and pick up, we provide masks (if you want to wear them), we provide hand sanitizer, we have a spray that kills germs on surfaces, we have gloves available. We can have the items waiting outside.

We desperately need people on call to go pick up and deliver. We have a church group (who I am SO thankful for) who comes the second Saturday of each month to do pickups and deliveries, but we really need at least one more to do another Saturday. We need drivers and lifters. It could be that your family would want to make up a pickup/delivery team!

If people could understand the blessing, if they could have been with us yesterday, there would be people fighting to do it!

If you want the blessing of helping, please call 270-519-7340.

On a Mission From God

Moses was chosen, called, and commissioned by the Lord to deliver and lead the people of God.  Though reluctant to lead at first, Moses demonstrated himself to be a skilled and effective leader.  His uniquely close relationship with God was the foundation of his leadership and enabled him to lead amid a diverse and often difficult group of people.  God himself spoke this validating word of Moses in Numbers 12:7, “He is faithful in all My house.” 

Throughout his journey of faith Moses demonstrated that leaders must have vision, perseverance, and the ability to endure the pain of leadership without compromising their character.  Our character as leaders is always on display to those around us and to those who follow us.  If we crumble and fall into the pit of unhealthy leadership and practices, it will have crippling and devastating consequences for the people entrusted to our care as leaders. If we are not healthy as church leaders then the family of faith will be vulnerable to the plague of disorder and dysfunction.

Humble leaders attract followers and create an environment of trust, and trust is vital to healthy relationships and healthy organizations. Arrogant, autocratic leaders may dominate for a time, but they do not build trust among those who follow them. And eventually, most see their kingdoms crumble around them in the tremors of seismic rebellion.  There is a difference in leading people and driving people. 

 Spiritual leaders have been entrusted by God to lead those whom God has placed in their care. Humble servant leadership is not weak leadership. For leaders, it is not between being strong or weak, the choice is between building God’s kingdom and helping people discover God’s purpose for their lives or building our own little earthly kingdoms and exploiting those entrusted to us.

Leaders who are strong and humble value the people entrusted to them, and when you find this kind of leader, you will find healthy and growing churches and organizations. This is the kind of leader that people will follow.  This kind of leader produces confidence in the heat of the battle.  This kind of leader inspires trust when storms arise.  This kind of leader motivates people to reach heights they never dreamed possible. Ultimately, this kind of leader enables people to reach the place promised to them by God.

It is a paradox that the one whom God entrusts in leadership can be both humble and visionary; he can be a person of grace and yet bold; he can be consumed and yet at peace; he can be filled with compassion and yet speak the truth without compromise. Moses learned the lessons of leadership as a shepherd in the desert and by answering God’s calling with trembling yet unwavering faith.  And in the end, it was said of him in Deuteronomy 34:10, “But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.”

When leaders recognize the privilege of being chosen and called by God and give of themselves to humbly serve those entrusted to them, they are secure and can endure because they know, as Elwood Blues put it, that they “are on a mission from God.”

Listen, Lament, Pray, Repent

Read 2 Corinthians 5:16-21. The Gospel is about reconciliation with God through Christ that results in peace between all relationships, where God and man, man and woman, humanity and creation can flourish and work as He intended. As believers, we are ambassadors for Christ, and we are to proclaim the gospel to people from every nation, tribe, and tongue. Questions: How do we partner with Him? How do we become faithful, obedient witnesses?

As the Body of Christ, it is not just in the wake of scandal, civil unrest, abuse or unjust actions, that we should speak forth the gospel, but in all places to all peoples where brokenness reigns and Jesus’ kingdom is not being reflected or preached. As believers in a fallen and broken world, we should continually lament, confess, repent, and seek reconciliation through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Here are some steps to help us in these challenging days:

  1. Acknowledge that these are not isolated incidents. Abuse, racism, mass shooting, brutality, corruption, and war are not isolated incidents. Violence, oppression, land theft, racialization, classism, and genocide against people of color and other vulnerable people exist not only in other countries around the world, but also in the US as well. Poverty, inequality, and abortion are not one-off happenings and the scourge of greed, self-absorption, and fractured families are part of every community and daily life in a fallen world. Current events are moments that push suffering to the forefront of man’s consciousness, but this suffering is constant. As believers in the States, we need to speak out against racial oppression and atrocities that are committed against our neighbors, who are black and brown, not only today and tomorrow, but also every day until the Lord returns. Romans 12:15-16 says, not only to rejoice with those who rejoice but to mourn with those who mourn. As the church, we must place our hope in Christ alone, and work together as His ambassadors!
  2. Please stop talking and listen. Take time to listen to those people in pain and who are immobilized by grief and wrestling with anger and rage because of the constant and consistent suffering and violence in the world highlighted by events in the headlines or a particularly tough season in their lives. Read James 1:19-20.  
  3. Lament and Confess.
    1. Cry. There is no shame, condemnation, or weakness in weeping.  Share with a friend, pastor, or leader out loud why you are angry, sad, or afraid and allow your emotions to come. Read Psalm 13 or 88 and write out these truths in your own words if you have difficulty getting thoughts together.
    1. Confess: It is sin and violation of God’s purposes in this world when we crush the image of God in other people either implicitly or explicitly by actively oppressing the poor and marginalized or passively allowing them to continue. Read Psalm 103 and write these truths in your own words if you have difficulty.
  4. Forgiveness and Blessing.
    1. In Isaiah 6, Isaiah enters God’s Holy presence, and he is convicted of sin and immediately confesses. Instead of being condemned, he was cleansed and sent out as a witness. Similarly, when we confess our sinfulness before God, He is just and mighty to forgive us, not condemn us.
    1. Ask the Lord to expose any tensions or challenges of prejudice, racism or unexposed anger or bitterness in your heart. If needed, ask your neighbor, brother, or sister for forgiveness for your words, deeds, actions, or inaction.
  5. What does it look like to Repent & Reconcile practically? Repentance means that we turn away from our sin by confessing our sins to Christ, asking for forgiveness, and following God’s word in deed and action through the power of the Holy Spirit. Reconciliation is the work of God, through the gospel of Jesus Christ, to bring about peace with God and man. Here are some first steps:
    1. Pray: Alone or with a group, grab your bible, a journal and pray. If you do not know how to pray, the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-12 is a great place to start. You can email [email protected] and we can share some resources with you as well.
    1. Proclaim: Read Psalm 24. In it we see that the “earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof”. That means our schedules, finances, the ground we stand on, the air we breathe, and the bodies we have belong to Him. Write down the time, talent, and treasure that you have and ask the Lord to show you can use those gifts to share gospel and be an ambassador for Christ! Praise the Lord for what he has given to you and offer it ALL back to God because He gave it to you!
    1. Partner: With the time, talent and treasure you brought to God, look at ways you can partner with your church and leverage them to share Christ and serve the poor, marginalized, oppressed, and displaced people in your community, state, nation, or around the world. Then, follow through with what the Lord shows you. Keep in mind, success is not in the progress but the obedience to the God who loves us.

The Missions Mobilization Team is here to serve you and your church as you seek to fulfill the Great Commission. If you have any questions, concerns, or need help getting connected, email me at [email protected] or call 502-489-3404.

Within the Family

One of the largest and strongest horses in the world is the Belgian draft horse.  These horses are so strong that one Belgian draft horse can pull 8,000 pounds.  What an incredible feat.  Apparently, if two stranger Belgian draft horses are harnessed, they can pull 22,000 pounds.  Notice that their combined strength more than doubles their ability.  However, when they train and pull together, these two Belgian draft horses can pull up to 32,000 pounds—four times the amount that they can pull alone.

I recently shared about a mission survey that the Missions Mobilization Team (MMT) of the Kentucky Baptist Convention sent out to our churches.  Our desire was to learn how our KBC churches are engaged in missions and how we can better help them reach KY and the world for Christ.  In my first article detailing the survey results (“We Are Stronger Together”), we focused on two areas: praying and giving.  This last article, I want to share about the results as they pertain to mission engagement locally, nationally, and internationally.

Two-hundred and forty-six churches participated in the survey.  When asked how many churches are engaged in missions locally, 75% said that they are.  Indeed, it is encouraging that KBC churches are beginning in their own Jerusalem as Jesus instructed (Luke 24:48).  As a follow up question, participants were then asked how many partnered or worked locally with a KBC or SBC connection.  Of responses, only 20% of the churches engage locally with KBC or SBC partners. 

Moving our attention to national mission engagement, 46% of participating churches said that they are engaging somewhere missionally nationally.  When asked how many of the churches are partnering with the North American Mission Board (NAMB) for their national mission engagement, only 22% said that they are.    

As we think on a global scale, participants were asked about their mission involvement internationally.  Of responding churches, 57% affirmed that their church is engaging internationally.  However, only 30% of those churches are partnering with the International Mission Board (IMB) or Baptist Global Response (BGR), the Disaster Relief arm of the IMB. 

So, what did we find out from this survey?  For one, our churches are much more engaged locally (75%) than nationally (46%) or even internationally (57%).  However, in their local engagement, they often partner outside of the KBC and SBC family.  Another lesson learned is that our national and international engagement, while closely averaging a combined 50% of churches, is relatively low when it comes to partnering with NAMB or IMB/BGR (only 22% and 30%, respectively).

As I noted in my first article, these churches support the Cooperative Program overwhelmingly at 96%.  Perhaps at that rate we can pull 8,000 pounds for gospel advancement.  However, what if in our partnering we meant not only giving, but our going too?  Maybe instead of pulling 8,000 pounds, we can pull 22,000 or even 32,000 pounds.  When we stay within the family and “pull together” in our praying, giving and going, we can accomplish much more, even in some instances four times as much.  As the Missions Mobilization Team of the KBC, we would love to help your church engage your Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the world as we “pull together”.     

Freeda Harris Mission Mall

In July 2019 Richard & Amy Greene, along with their son Alex were introduced as the new directors of the Freeda Harris Baptist Center in Pike County, a gospel-focused ministry partnership of the Kentucky Baptist Convention & the Pike Association of Southern Baptists.  This ministry provides individuals and teams the opportunity to experience missions through service ministries such as construction projects, evangelistic events, VBS, community development and mobile ministry outreach to the local and surrounding areas. 

“We hit the ground running,” Richard says.  In the next six months the Freeda Harris Baptist Center hosted 9 mission teams, had a Labor Day cookout for the community, a Back-to-School giveaway, a Fall Festival, and a Holiday Dinner for the community in December.  Christmas gifts, including the Christmas backpacks, were given to over 1000 children and the Gospel was presented.  They also had clothing and food giveaways and Richard even went on an international mission trip to Belfast, North Ireland. 

As things slowed down a bit in January and February, the Greene’s did work on the Center, adding fresh paint, bunk rooms and preparing more space for mission teams that would come to serve.  “Then March happened,” Richard says.  “We found ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic and everything in the ministry seemed to come to a screeching halt.  We had to rethink some things.”

The Greenes came to the Freeda Harris Baptist Center from Magoffin County, where Richard pastored a KBC church and directed a center similar to Freeda Harris.  At the Magoffin County Center they had operated a thrift store that had been very successful, not just in the ability to bring in income for the ministry, but also in outreach to families in the community.  “It gave us the opportunity to meet and reach more people,” Richard says. 

The Greenes began to pray about the possibility of opening a thrift store at the Freeda Harris Baptist Center.  They began to see donations come in that would be good items for a thrift store and contacted their donors to see if they would be agreeable to their donated items being sold to benefit the ministry.  With permission granted, Richard & Amy began plans to open the store.  But, when COVID-19 hit with all its restrictions, that was not possible at the time.  This led the Greenes to think about launching an “online” thrift store.  Thus, the Freeda Harris Mission Mall was begun on Memorial Day, May 25.  Plans are to sell household goods, home décor, tools, and other such items at a reasonable price so that they can generate an income stream to help support the ministry.  The Center is also blessed to be supported by several individuals, local churches, the Pike County Baptist Association, and the Kentucky Baptist Convention but this will give them extra funds to serve more people.

Please take time to shop the Freeda Harris Mission Mall.  Go to their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/FHBCMissionMall/) and browse,  Each item has a short description, an item number and the price.  To purchase, you will need to private message Richard & Amy with the number of the item you are interested in.  They will get back with you to schedule a time for pickup and payment. 

Those interested in donating items for the mission mall can contact the Greenes as well.  Please note that they are not accepting clothing at this time.  However, if you have clothing to donate, they can direct you to a clothing ministry in the area.

The Mission Mall is just one way you can assist the ministry of Freeda Harris.  They welcome mission teams of all skills to come serve with them and the area churches.  To schedule, please contact them for details and a date. 

And please pray for Richard, Amy & Alex as they serve through the Freeda Harris Baptist Center to reach the community with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.    

Thanks for your support.  You can email Richard at [email protected]