Despite the COVID-19 pandemic disturbing congregational life, Northview Baptist Church in Lewisville, Texas was prepared to minister to its community.
Thanks to the foresight of Northview Baptist Executive Pastor Rob Veal, the congregation launched Heart of the City—a people-centered ministry he believes other churches could replicate.
Veal along with Senior Pastor Kenneth Wells are long-time residents of the area and know its people well. Wells has been pastor at Northview Baptist Church since 1981, and Veal has four decades experience in ministry.
Veal said, “Although we understood the needs of the people, it wasn’t until 2009 that God made me aware of addressing the social concerns of our community while we still share the gospel.”
The church created the nonprofit Heart of the City which operates a food pantry and provides other social services for families. At the height of the pandemic when business started closing and grocery shelves were empty, Heart of the City played a vital role in providing services to families.
According to Veal, the two factors that make Heart of the First unique are its focus on people and its commitment to service.
“Food and clothing are only tools that we use to begin relationships with those we serve…One reason this program is so successful is that Northview teaches, trains, equips and provides oversight for any and all interested churches. We feel it is a laboratory to practice what Baptist churches have been teaching their members for decades,” Veal said.
Partnering with the North Texas Food Bank, Heart of the City’s Farmers’ Market Food Pantry offers a wide variety of nutritious food options to community residents in Denton County where the church resides.
Since 2019, they have given away more than 670,000 lbs. of food.
Neighbors are encouraged to tell others that have a need for free food, Veal explained. They help each other by passing the word.
Additionally, volunteers use their interactions with families to introduce them to Jesus and connect them with the congregation.
One such program offered is the “Thrive” program. Thrive provides life skills coaching in the areas of finance, parenting, marriage, and spiritual matters. Designed to help individuals create healthy family systems, the program provides group and one-on-one mentoring.
Currently, Veal is encouraging other congregations to launch new ministries, because a congregation never knows when your ministry idea will help meet the need of a future crisis.
Heart of the City was not designed to be a pandemic ministry, but Veal noted because of their congregation’s trust in God, the ministry has helped meet diverse needs.
Source: Baptist Standard