By Shannon Baker, BCM/D National Correspondent
In prior months, Baltimore Baptist Association (BBA) Director of Missions Bob Mackey challenged BBA churches to consider local missions as an option to spending thousands of dollars to go overseas. “Why not do missions in your own backyard?” he asked.
And that’s exactly what Long Green Baptist Church of Glen Arm, Md., did. They, along with students from area colleges and universities, coordinated with Hazelwood Baptist Church to reach the northeastern Baltimore County community.
“I was wholeheartedly for it,” shared Hazelwood’s pastor, Ed Reese, explaining his church’s budget wouldn’t have allowed the large missions effort. “We were thrilled to have Long Green come in to continue what we’ve done.”
Over 300 people attended the “Community Bridge” evangelistic event, which featured free food, pony rides, carnival-type games, prayer stations, face painting and giveaways from area businesses, shared organizer Arnaldo “Nando” Irizarry, a bilingual field representative for Nielson TV Ratings and a member at Long Green.
In addition, there were three performers from jazz to the classics to hip-hop. Hip-hop performer Samantha Peoples, a freshman from Towson University, used her performance as an interactive conversation to teach how to trust God more. When sharing with guests, the Waldorf, Md., native answered questions about her life.
All throughout the grounds, dozens of volunteers reached out to share the Gospel with adults and children of all ages, said Irizarry. “They were such a joyful team. I give glory to God,” he said.
Irizarry also said the college students were such an integral part of the ministry, “as they reached out to guests their own age. I think that was a very great plus to have them there.”
[boxify cols=”8″ cols_use=”4″ box_spacing=”20″ padding=”20″ radius=”10″ border_color=”red” border_width=”1″ border_style=”dashed” background_color=”blue” background_opacity=”10″ position=”right”] Your Collegiate Ministers:
Anne Arundel Community College:
Peggy Peek, 443-820-3212, email@example.com
Bowie State University:
NaKhia Grays, 301-957-5654, firstname.lastname@example.org
Frostburg State University:
Ron Yost, 301-689-2588, email@example.com
Vickie Stewart, 443-452-8960, firstname.lastname@example.org
Adam Muhtaseb, 443-235-8811, email@example.com
Mike McQuitty, 315-569-2630, firstname.lastname@example.org
University of Delaware:
Blake Hardcastle, 302-562-0151, email@example.com
University of MD, College Park:
Jessica Senasack, 301-405-8443, firstname.lastname@example.org
U.S. Naval Academy:
Justin Woods, 410-739-2500, email@example.com [/boxify]
Summer missionary, Madison Rose, an intern for Anne Arundel Community College, spent the day ministering to the “really sweet” children who came. The University of Alabama student loved how the churches “really reached out to reach the community.”
“It’s wonderful to see students from our Baptist collegiate ministries partner with local churches to reach out to communities,” said Mike McQuitty, missionary for collegiate church planting for the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware.
“BCM/D churches invest a lot in student ministry through the State Mission Offering and the Cooperative Program, and events like the ‘Community Bridge’ carnival allow our college students to give back!
“Outreach events like these also provide opportunities for students to minister alongside other believers. The collegians benefit greatly from the expertise of older Christians, while our churches appreciate the energy and enthusiasm of youth.”
Jessica Senasack, collegiate minister from the University of Maryland in College Park, underscored the importance of allowing students to participate in such ministries. “It’s a win for the church, who receives the help from the students, but it’s also a win for the students, who gain ministry experience,” and what Senasack ultimately hopes for, “a missions lifestyle.”
“It was a real blessing to see some college students from BCM around the area and two churches pool their efforts to touch a community in Jesus’ name,” said Mackey. “I heard one weary mom on her way out with a big smile on her face and three children in tow say, ‘I feel like I have been at the fair all day.’”
“To see the Gospel shared, persons register for a planned small group to begin in July, and having clean fun in a Christ-like environment is a product of what happens when pastors collaborate for Kingdom purposes,” Mackey said.
Reese agreed, “One of the most rewarding things, besides multiplying our effectiveness, is the sweetness of the fellowship between the churches. It was encouraging for me personally and for our members. We limit ourselves when we try to do our own things and don’t look for opportunities to help others. We would miss out on so much!”