By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
SHREVEPORT – More than 150 members of Grawood Baptist Church gathered after Sunday morning worship, May 19, to build 60 beds for needy children in the Shreveport-Bossier City area.
Some assembled the beds while others served food or watched the children of members constructing the beds in less than three hours for the Bossier Parish chapter of the non-profit organization Sleep In Heavenly Peace.
According to its website, Sleep in Heavenly Peace was founded in 2012 and its motto is “No kid sleeps on the floor in our town.” Volunteers built 4,144 beds last year for children across the U.S.
Grawood Pastor Chris Willcutt said was he thrilled to see his members display a spirit of oneness to reach the Kingdom.
“From a pastor’s heart that makes me excited,” Willcutt said. “The greatest commandment of all is to love God and love others. Over the years as leadership we tried to pour out to our congregation that we need to love others. What they do for each other tends to trickle out to the community for others. I am seeing that going out into the community.”
Members raised nearly $20,000 to build the beds. The largest fundraiser was through a gun raffle and clay shoot that was hosted by the church’s men’s ministry May 11.
Throughout the summer, participants of the men’s and women’s ministry will forgo their usual Wednesday evening meetings and instead, during that time, deliver the beds to families. Other groups within the church also plan to participate other nights of the week.
“A goal of our church is to build community with each other,” Willcutt said. “Many times the deliveries will present themselves with a chance to share the Gospel.
“It’s a really cool opportunity because you get to go in and see these kids who don’t have much of anything,” he said. “You get to go in and interact with the family. Not just as a pastor but as a believer in Christ, it is such an awesome experience to love on them and tell them we aren’t asking for church attendance but that God loves and is watching over you.”
The congregation provides Bibles and prays with the children and their families. The team also shares the Gospel as opportunities arise, Willcutt said. The ministry is in its early stages, but he is training members to share Christ and he emphasizes with them to be ready because meeting a need is a stepping stone to presenting the Gospel.
Clint McCullough, a member of Gradwood Baptist who first proposed the idea to Willcutt and other church leaders, said God has received much glory through the effort.
“From the beginning our church has gotten on board with this idea,” McCullough said. “We had an awesome show of unity as we raised the money and got closer to the day when we got together to build the beds. Many times it is easy to just stay inside our own walls, but having something like this that challenges us to do for others is hard to put into words. It’s the church being the church.”