Published August 8, 2013
JACKSON (BP) — For many public school children across the United States, summer means empty stomachs. With no government-provided breakfast or lunch to depend on, the 31 million children in the United States who access the program during the school year face an uncertain summer.
Last year, Macedonia Baptist Church in Jackson decided to do something to help the hundreds of kids in their own community who may not get regular meals during the summer. Now the church takes a lead role in providing lunches for more than 280 local kids whose families have said they’d like to have the help.
“I hope [our community] sees the love of Christ coming through us,” said Lane Sanders, Macedonia Baptist’s pastor. “We don’t look at ourselves as separated unto ourselves, but we have a mission and an investment in the community.”
Jerry Daniel, the North American Mission Board’s LoveLoud team leader, said Macedonia Baptist is one of a growing movement of Southern Baptist churches that are demonstrating God’s love by meeting significant human needs while sharing Christ.
On this year’s LoveLoud Sunday, July 21, NAMB hoped more churches looked for ways to meet significant human needs in their communities in a long-term manner.
“There’s a movement happening among Southern Baptists,” Daniel said. “God has created a groundswell of churches that are loving their communities like Jesus would. We want to highlight this and encourage other churches to get involved.”
Sanders said several of the children they’ve fed this summer attended the church’s Vacation Bible School. At least one committed her life to Christ.
The church looks for opportunities to tell families about Christ and invite them to church through the project. For example, they’ve distributed tracts and information about the church with the lunches. But Sanders said adding more people to the church is not why they’re engaging in the ministry. They want to show their community how much God loves them.
“Acts 1:8 isn’t an either/or proposition,” Sanders said. “It’s a both/and proposition. We have to reach nearby and far off. We don’t have the option to choose. We have been told to do both. Our church isn’t there yet, but we’re trying.”
Churches like Macedonia Baptist, Daniel said, demonstrate what it looks like when churches engage the significant human needs in their communities. NAMB’s LoveLoud team has been focused on trying to bring attention to churches throughout the convention that are doing this kind of work.
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