CrossRoads Fellowship Responds to Community Needs

Dec 16, 2002 12:48 PM EST

Mc MINNVILLE, Tenn. – Cross Roads Fellowship responds to the needs of its community. The newborn mission-church, which began on July 21 surveyed one of its target communities, and responded to the request for repairs and renovation in a local park.

One of the survey questions asked, “How can our church be valuable to you and your community?"

A majority of those surveyed indicated a local playground that had been started by the developer but never completed.

"Surveys are pointless if you don't respond," pastor Mike Gay said.

"I advocate doing more servant evangelism. It means more to the people because they see you really care and are not doing it just to get attention."

The congregations gathered to discuss what efforts were needed, and chose church member Darrin Hillis to coordinate the work.

CrossRoads contacted the local developer who agreed to provide some materials if the congregation would provide the labor, and began the full-scale repair effort one weekend in late October.

Members of CrossRoads repaired some of the playground equipment, including swings and the jungle gym, rebuilt a footbridge that crossed a gully in the middle of a grassy area in the park, and installed a basketball goal.

According to Gay, the congregation began the effort by cutting the grass that had grown high to “the point you couldn't see there were picnic tables under a pavilion" in the park.

A dedication service was held at the renovated park a week after the work was done and the community was invited to a church- hosted block party that included games, entertainment and food.

Hillis noted that the community members were beginning to notice and enjoy the change. He gave the example of a grandmother with two grandchildren who has “been enjoying coming down here since it got cleaned up.”

The service efforts paid off, according to Gay. The community members expressed great surprise when the church responded to their needs and concerns, and four families showed up for worship at CrossRoads as a direct result of the renovations. Since then, one of those families has joined, he reported.

"It really got their attention," the pastor said.

Gay also expects CrossRoads Fellowship Church, which is a mission of First Baptist Church in Smartt, to plan similar efforts, localized for specific communities or subdivisions.

"When you do something localized, it's more intimate for the people," Gay said. "They respond well because they know you're doing it just for them."

By Paulina C.