I don’t know if I can honestly say I’ve ever been more proud to be a member of the family of First Baptist Church, Jefferson City, then I was this past Sunday. That is saying a lot because I’ve had many moments where I’ve been humbled and proud of FBCJC. Like any of the multitude of mission trips we take to go support our partners and to visit our “extended family” in the Dominican Republic, Kenya, Belarus and South Dakota. I’m been touched when I’ve walked into a hospital waiting room only to find an entire Sunday School class already present and ministering to their friends. I’ve been overwhelmed with the generous offering we receive each month for benevolence that allows us to help individuals and families stay in their homes or keep the electricity on. I’ve beamed when I see our church members advocate for the rights of the economical disadvantaged in our community. I’m humbled every time I see a mentor from our church pouring 45 minutes of his or her week into a child who is flourishing under the love and attention.
But this past Sunday was one of the most beautiful images of church that I’ve seen in my thirteen years on staff at FBC.
On Sunday, our church held its first “Mission JC: In the City. For the City.” For over a year, we have talked about how the church is a sent people. The people of God sent into the neighborhood and the world to seek justice and mercy and to walk humbly with our God. The church is not a building. The church is not the facilities at the corner of Capitol and Monroe. The church is not a 45-minute program with singing, offering, prayers and a message. The church is a SENT people – just as Jesus was SENT. And on Sunday, we sent nearly 300 volunteers into our beloved city to serve and to share God’s love.
There were over 20 projects ranging from painting, landscaping, food giveaways, free breakfast, block party, care packages for police, fire and sheriff stations, thank you notes to nonprofits in our community who we have the honor to serve alongside, care packages to the staff of our partner elementary school, meals prepared and delivered to homebound individuals, community garden work, walking animals at the shelter, and so much more.