From writing letters of encouragement and completing construction and cleaning projects to volunteering at local ministries, raising money, and throwing parties, members at North Monroe Baptist here have been fulfilling God’s purposes for them together.
MONROE – From writing letters of encouragement and completing construction and cleaning projects to volunteering at local ministries, raising money, and throwing parties, members at North Monroe Baptist here have been fulfilling God’s purposes for them together.
As part of their 40 Days of Community Campaign April 22 through June 3 — a program from Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. — about 600 members at North Monroe participated in a slew of mission and ministry projects in their community, resulting in both practical and spiritual rewards, said Pastor Bill Dye.
“When you go out and serve people in the spirit and nature of the Lord, your focus may not be evangelism, but it’s a by-product,” he added. “Not only were people’s lives changed physically, but people came to the Lord.
“Adults that normally you would never consider to be servants were out there doing real servant- oriented things,” Dye continued.
North Monroe Baptist, like many other churches across the state, had already gone through a 40 Days of Purpose Campaign, and decided to follow-up with the 40 Days of Community, the pastor said.
Groups met in homes for six weeks and were challenged to use their collective resources to develop a ministry event that would serve the community, Dye said. Though the emphasis was not on evangelism, several people have begun to attend North Monroe as a result.
One such person was a single mom with four children, barely making ends meet with her position at a local elementary school, Dye said. Her house had fallen into disrepair, but then a couple of groups from North Monroe decided to make her their ministry event.
The group bought and installed a hot water heater for her—she’d not had hot water in two years. Her children were so delighted, they ran around the house turning on the hot water, Dye said.
The groups also bought and installed a new toilet and repaired the eaves and fascia boards on her house.
“She was very grateful,” Dye said, “But the group got far more out of it than she did.”
The junior high class was another group greatly affected by the campaign, Dye said. Their ministry event was cleaning a tornado-stricken yard for an elderly couple. The students collected a pile of debris 40 feet wide and 15 feet high.
Though the seventh graders began the campaign with reserved attitudes, before the first Sunday came around, they’d begun to bond, said the pastor, who, along with his wife, hosted the group at his house.
“By the end of the six weeks in our home, this group of about 20 kids who had come to Sunday school together every week growing up were really bonded as a group,” he added.
Camp for the students followed quickly on the heels on the 40 Days Campaign, and the spirit of the Lord continued through that week for the students, Dye said. Three students surrendered to the ministry, three came to Christ, and four said they wanted to join the church.
I think [their relationship with the Lord] was made more real to them through 40 days,” Dye added. “It was a real meaningful time for them. The fact that they got together and served other people made them more open to the Holy Spirit when at camp. I think all these things work in harmony.”
Misty Trichell, a member of the young, single professional group at North Monroe helped work with the Dixie Diehards, a baseball team within a league for developmentally disabled children and adults, she said.
“We helped them at bat, run the bases, catch the balls, and throw the ball if they needed to,” she continued. “It’s amazing to see how these kids do it. Some were blind and had a ball that beeped so they could hit it. It’s amazing what they can do.
“Just being with them made me feel so good,” said Trichell.
The young, singles group has more ministry up its sleeve, too, she continued. Plans are in the works to help a fellow church member and single mother — her daughter has a brain tumor — with gas expenses and chores, like mowing.
“[The 40 Days Campaign] was a real energizing thing for our church,” Dye said. “Groups became empowered to do it.”
For more information on the 40 days of Community Campaign, visit www.purposedriven.com, click on Campaigns, and then on 40 Days of Community.