Calling the event “Love Out Loud,” First Baptist Church of Rincon, Georgia sent over 350 volunteers into the community on Feb. 20 to do 16 service projects to show the love of Christ in practical ways. Whenever possible, they gave away New Testaments, gospel tracts, and a personal witnesses. There were over 1,124 lives touched.
Pastor Bob Rogers had challenged the congregation to get out of their pews and into the streets and do ministry, all on the same Sunday afternoon.
“The world hears what we are against — we want them to hear what we are for. We want to ‘Love Out Loud,’” said Rogers. To those who wondered if they should work on Sunday, Rogers reminded them that Jesus said in Matthew 12:12, “It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Members of all ages responded, from children to senior adults. Projects were planned with team leaders for each project, all under the direction of coordinator Beth Pye, and for several weeks in advance, members signed up to participate.
Then on the Sunday after Valentine’s Day, Feb. 20, members came to church in blue jeans and “Love Out Loud” T-shirts, ready to get to work after morning worship. A lunch was provided, and then teams of volunteers went all over Effingham County during the afternoon to minister.
Volunteers washed and detailed 41 cars and one Rincon fire engine for free on the church grounds, refusing to accept donations. Vehicle safety checks were done for 11 cars and trucks. When people asked if they could give money, volunteers explained that it was like God’s grace: “It’s free. We receive God’s grace as a gift.”
Goody bags were made and delivered to 120 staff at Lakeview Retirement home and Effingham Nursing Home in Springfield.
Members visited 31 people who are homebound and nursing home residents. Another group visited with 17 people at the retirement home. Groups did repairs and painting for a widow, a single mother, and for the Pregnancy Care Center. A group repaired and painted rooms at the Treutlen House home for boys in the Ebenezer Community, and another group did repair and yard care at seven homes and three vacant lots.
A party was given for seven special needs children at the church’s new children’s building.
A large group of volunteers prepared 390 handmade cards to send to the military and homebound. Another group wrote letters, poems and children drew pictures for 135 deployed military and for prisoners.
Volunteers gave away 110 free box lunches to people all over Rincon, offering free food at gas stations, parking lots, and wherever they met people. One grateful man immediately stopped what he was doing to sit down and eat.
Another group drove around the community, asking people if they could pray for their needs. This group prayed with over 100 people in spontaneous encounters, and gave away many Bibles.
Volunteers went to laundromats in Rincon and Springfield, and offered to put money in the machines, paying for laundry and offering Bibles in English and Spanish. Maribel Cortes, who participated in the laundromat project, commented that the experience was “awesome” and the youth who were with her were “excellent.” Maribel met a fellow Hispanic who said that in 17 years he had lived in America, nobody had offered him a Bible until that day.
Volunteers gave away 176 free Bibles in English and Spanish. A team of volunteers giving away free Bibles on the sidewalk met a man who asked for a Bible in Spanish, and when he received it, he immediately began to read it as he walked away.
Many members echoed the sentiments of Marilyn Sulak, who said, “I’m so blessed that God allowed me to be a part of this.”
“Only time will tell how many seeds that were planted during ‘Love Out Loud’ will take root and grow. But it was a joy to scatter the seed and leave the results up to God,” said Pastor Rogers.
This was the second year for the church’s “Love Out Loud” day of ministry. To see a music video of the day’s activities, go to the church Web site at www.fbcrincon.com and click on the slide that says, “Check Out the Love Out Loud Video.”
For more information, contact First Baptist Church of Rincon at 826-5536, or its Hispanic pastor, Francisco Rodriguez, at 313-7333, or on the web at www.fbcrincon.com.