Outside my office window, I see exhausted runners pushing to reach the top of Walnut Street, disgruntled lawyers or clients walking quickly to or from the City Council building, and reckless young adults on scooters going way too fast, disregarding all traffic laws. With few exceptions, each person that walks by First Baptist Church looks over at our building. I wonder, sometimes aloud, “What are they thinking?” Do they reminisce about early memories in church with family? Is it guilt that they cannot remember the last time they prayed?
Events like the Week of Service bring us together and unites us for a common purpose. During a season where we feel more isolated, distracted, and disconnected than ever, we need to be reminded of the deeper common purpose to which we are called. The event theme was “Love Thy Neighbor,” and in big and small ways, at home, church, and out in the community, First Baptist worked to bless our neighbors.
Here is what happened:
- We packed and delivered 22 care packages for homebound members
- Baked and delivered 700 cookies for our police and fire departments
- Packed over 200 hygiene bags for people in need
- Put down baseboard and quarter round and set up tables at the soon to opened Raising a Voice coffee shop, Likewise Coffee
- Helped beautify the South Knoxville Elementary School campus
- Inside and outside projects for Family Promise Knoxville
- Decorated holiday wreaths, packed candy bags for English Language Learner teachers, and other projects for Knoxville Internationals Network
- Gathered and delivered winter coats and other clothing items to South Knoxville Elementary School
- Collected prenatal vitamins and other items for Amani Sasa
- And more!
The Week of Service highlights the importance of putting feet to our faith. While we supported many important organizations and ministries throughout the week, this is not the full story of our Missions Ministry or the missional spirit of FBC. Several days before the event began, a group built a wheelchair ramp for a member in need. Another group helped someone move into a new home. Our Food Co-op served over 30 families, and another 200 meals will be given out at South Knoxville Elementary School in the week to come. If you would like to learn more about the organizations and ministries we supported this week and ways to get involved, please click here.
What do you think about when you look at First Baptist Church? Events like the Week of Service reinforce what I have always believed about our church: We are a collection of broken people, dedicated to loving and serving our downtown community in the name of Jesus. Thank you for making the love of God known to our neighbors in real and tangible ways this week. As people walk by our church this week, I hope they ask the question, “Why do they serve, and how can I get involved?”
In love and service,