Published July 26, 2012
In 1976 at his annual Associational Spring Meeting, associational missionary John Carr shared his vision for a ministry to reach the Golden Isles area of southeast Georgia. When that faith seed was sown, roots began to spread among key Georgia Baptist leaders such as Jim Griffith, Henry Neal, and Jack Lowndes.
When First Baptist Church of Brunswick became involved, the roots began to sprout and a resort ministry became the fruit of their efforts. Jekyll Chapel (now a full-time mission church) was begun as a partnership evolved between the Georgia Baptist Convention, Southeast Baptist Association, and local Georgia Baptist churches.
For the last 15 years, Golden Isles Ministries has specialized in using students and adults of all ages on mission for Christ to take advantage of multiple mission efforts such as beach ministry, prayer walking, personal evangelism, campground ministry, day camps, sports camps, church planting, soup kitchens, and the downtown Baptist Ministry Center – from the resort to the inner city. Carr remembers one year when 300 professions of faith were registered and rarely is there a year below the average of 30 people coming to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.
“In the beginning, we could not have done this without Cooperative Program (CP) dollars,” Carr said. The five summer missionaries who serve annually are also an indirect product of CP support.
These student leaders are recruited through Georgia Baptist Collegiate Ministries and the North American Mission Board (NAMB). GBC state missionary Ricky Thrasher helps to discover and train these student missionaries who serve over a 10-week span every summer.
Originally, Bold Mission Thrust funds, combined with CP dollars, were used to initiate the ministry. David Buckner was called as the first Missions Project coordinator and has since returned with student groups from Kentucky, where he now serves as a student pastor in a local church.
Southeast Baptist Association has expansive on-location housing, providing men and women facilities with bunk beds and a full kitchen area for meals, servicing up to 40 spots for overnight care. This building becomes a home-away-from-home where lifelong friendships are made and life-changing ministry begins.
Current Resort and Community missionary Peter Copeland brought his experience as a NAMB US-C/2 missionary to the lead position and Golden Isles Ministries has flourished since his arrival in October of 2009. Copeland’s call to this resort ministry was a culmination of his two-year ministry experience in a similar setting of Myrtle Beach, strengthened by his education at Charleston Southern University, New Orleans Baptist Seminary, and Southeastern Baptist Seminary.
When asked about the purpose of his resort ministry, Copeland said, “We are doing the Great Commission through expressing the Great Commandment.
“Our end goal,” he adds, “is sharing Christ and loving people.”
His plea to potential mission groups is to “come help us in glorifying God by meeting needs through selfless service.” His desire is that students and family groups leave having discovered missions as a lifestyle, after following his initial instructions to bring sunscreen and a servant’s heart to experience missions from a unique approach.
If you want to experience missions in action in a unique and effective location, commit to serve with Copeland on the southeast coast of Georgia, near Brunswick. It is obvious that God is at work touching and changing lives, one-by-one.
► For more information and ministry options, visit www.goldenislesministries.com or contact Peter Copeland directly through firstname.lastname@example.org.
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