|Source: Baptist Press|
In a major move to be more inclusive, Heritage Baptist Church, a predominantly white congregation in Montgomery, Alabama, called Frederick L. Harris Sr. to be their minister of One Mile missions.
“We want to become a church that looks more like our neighborhood, and we want to become a church that looks more like heaven,” Pastor Teman Knight said. “To do that, there are people around us who need to be reached with the Gospel. We have an opportunity today to make a statement about how serious we are about doing that.”
The One Mile Mission is an initiative of Heritage Baptist designed to target communities, businesses, schools, and families living within a one mile radius of an identified mission field.
According to Pastor Knight, the church wants people in the one-mile area to know they are loved. Also, they hope that by engaging in intentional outreach, the congregation will begin to reflect the community that it is composed of, which is mostly African Americans.
When Neal Hughes, the Director of Missions for Montgomery Baptist Association and a Heritage member, was asked who would be a good fit to lead such a project, he recommended Harris.
“Frederick is a wonderful godly brother God brought into the Southern Baptist life some years ago,” Hughes said. “He had the desire to start a Southern Baptist church and be a part of a family that believed in missions to serve across the street and around the world.”
The former Pastor of Abraham Missionary Baptist Church for 18 years, Harris has a reputation for cross-cultural ministry and community outreach. Harris founded Bread of Life Temple, which seeks to provide food, clothing and COVID-19 vaccines to families in need. Through these acts of kindness, opportunities for witnessing and ministry were provided.
Initially hesitant about accepting the position, after a discernment period, Harris thought it might be a good fit. In his new role Harris hopes that people will be able to look beyond race and see the work that God is doing in the lives of all people to create unity and build stronger relationships.
Source: Baptist Press