|A missions team after completing an outreach project. Source: Baptist Press|
During the Pike Association of Southern Baptists’s annual “LoveLoud” evangelism event several members of local Eastern Kentucky communities make professions of faith. The annual event is a collaborative evangelism initiative that brings together Baptist congregations from across the region to promote evangelism through service.
The project, organized by Jason Lowe – the association’s mission strategist – brought together more than 100 volunteers to complete community service projects across several counties designed to tangibly show the love of Jesus to the community.
“Our theme verse is 1 John 3:18, which says: ‘Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth,’” Lowe said. “We not only want to tell people that Jesus loves them, we want to show them that love. Our goal is to meet physical needs so that we can open the door to help them understand the spiritual need that we all have.”
One of the projects the groups engaged in was distributing free donuts to restaurant employees as they began their shifts. When asked by the employees why they were there, a member of the mission team explained that free food was a tangible way to demonstrate salvation offered through Jesus Christ is free. In response to that team’s work, three of the restaurant’s employees accepted Christ and another young woman gave her life to Christ at an event the missionaries held later in the week.
“LoveLoud” began in 2015 to help cultivate a positive view of Southern Baptist Churches in the area who were suffering negative media coverage following a series of national events that portrayed Christian congregations across America in a negative light.
Lowe said, “The community knows us, and when they see our red shirts in the community they know what we’re about.
“When we first did this, we had to go looking for opportunities to serve, and that’s not the case anymore. Now the community comes to us and says, ‘Can you help us with this?’ Our churches are seen as someone who wants to really be a positive contributor in the community and really wants to see the community thrive.”
Events during the “LoveLoud” week are designed to meet needs across three core areas – construction (such as roofing a house), community service (such as offering free car washes) or outreach (such as giving away free items or hosting block parties).
Estimating that approximately 92% of the people in the communities they served were unchurched, Lowe and fellow organizers were met this year with unprecedented requests from families that have been amplified by the pandemic. Deploying a team across a wide geographical area, the Pike Association reminded communities that for them service is more than a one time ‘feel-good’ event but a lifestyle that comes from a relationship with Christ that all are invited to engage.
Source: Baptist Press