Faith in Action Weekend: Where is the Church Not?
In 2008, we were assessing the need for a potential new church in West St. Tammany Parish. One of my favorite questions in assessing the need for a new church is, “Where is the church not?” Meaning, is there places in this community where the Gospel & the body of Christ are not represented to a population segment or people group? And then, can sustainable ministry be developed through an existing or new church?
As part of this assessment, we came across Oak Villa Mobile Home Park in Covington. 150 lots, 450 people living there, 75-100 under the age of 18, 25% of the households are elderly, many with no local family, many in transition – lost job, recently divorced, just got out of jail. This became the first place of engagement for a Bible Study group that was meeting to form Bridge Church. We started by building a relationship with the management & meeting the immediate needs that she recognized, which was six households that needed food assistance. That led to ministering to one of those households in another practical way. A bed ridden elderly man was overrun with cock roaches. So our Bible Study group made the very spiritual decision to purchase him a year’s worth of pest control.
Since those first projects we’ve built porches, steps, handicap ramps, conducted regular kids activities, block parties, How to seminars, pressure washed trailers, etc. We’ve also served as Shepard to a shepard-less group of people – conducting funerals, counseling, benevolence, etc.
Then in 2010, with the help of Fairview Baptist Church, Coushatta, LA & the Louisiana Baptist Convention we were able to get our own Mobile Home in the park where today we have a Food Pantry, weekly Bible Studies, & we can call ourselves neighbors to the largest multi-housing community in West St. Tammany.
This weekend will be Bridge Church’s Faith in Action Sunday, where instead of gathering we scatter & serve our community in a variety of ways. We’ll be focusing on the needs of Oak Villa MHP. Projects will include building a couple of wheelchair ramps for elderly residents, trimming trees in the park that could damage trailers if we have a high wind event, activities & Bible stories for kids, Outdoor Worship & we’ll close out with the Big Kahuna water slide. We’ll also be baptizing several residents of the park who are ready to follow Christ.
Faith in Action Sunday is about going where the church is not. Less than 2% of multi-housing residents attend church & in low income areas like Oak Villa, many of them cannot due to lack of transportation. This is an opportunity for us to take church to them & show them the body of Christ in our area cares. And ongoing ministry demonstrates we love them because we care enough to come back.
Ask, “where is the church not?” about your community. Is there ministry that you, your small group, your church could do? You can also join Bridge Church for Faith in Action Sunday, June 30th, 9:30am at Oak Villa Mobile Home Park, 15455 Ronald Reagan Hwy., Covington.