By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
SIMSBORO (LBM) – The sounds of hammers pounding and electric saws buzzing were music to the ears of Pastor Jason Cole as he surveyed members of the First Baptist Church in Simsboro tirelessly refurbishing a home in their community.
Some installed shingles on a roof while others painted the siding and the porch on a home they have been remodeling for nearly four months. The members are there to renovate the house, he offered, but also to build a Christ-centered relationship with the homeowners through project Mission Simsboro.
“We do this because we want people to see doing missions is not just foreign, national or state,” Cole said. “It’s local and all of the above.
“We want people to be involved in missions as much as possible and have a chance to tell the good news of Jesus with those around us and encourage believers that we run into,” he emphasized to the Baptist Message.
Since 2013, as many as 40 members from among the 90 persons who attend Sunday morning worship services have participated in various acts of kindness every fourth Sunday through Mission Simsboro, Cole said. They have hosted backyard Bible clubs, visited prospects and prayer walked neighborhoods, all of which have resulted in people repenting to turn their lives over to Christ.
“It’s a way for us to put feet to missions, and try to reach our community as we’re reaching our state, nation, and world,” Cole emphasized. “This is more of letting people hear the Gospel, see the Gospel and give us a chance to live out the Gospel.”
Mission Simsboro began out of a desire to minister closer to home, Cole explained. The members participated in mission trips throughout the state, nation and world, but felt they could do more to fulfill Christ’s command to share about Him “in their Jerusalem.”
Church member Ron Cathey said he was among those who sensed the Holy Spirit leading First Simsboro to focus more on local outreach.
“For years we did international missions, and one day we woke up and said let’s do a mission trip to Simsboro,” Cathey said. “We discover ways to minister by just taking the time to stop and notice those who really are in need.
“For me it’s doing what Jesus told us to do,” he continued. “It’s an opportunity for us to serve someone else to meet their needs which opens door to share Gospel. And it’s a practical way to do evangelism. When you come in and are able to sit down to get to know them, it provides a way to share Gospel.”
The outreach also has sparked interest in expanding campus facilities to accommodate those who they reach in the community, Cole shared. In September the church began construction on a 10,000-sq.-ft. multi-purpose building, and has committed to finish the project debt free.
“The church in Simsboro believes,” Cole offered, “that as God calls them to obediently follow Him, He will be glorified and the Gospel will be proclaimed.”