The churches of Greene County Baptist Association (GCBA) partnered together on Saturday, May 20, for Jerusalem Day 2023. The purpose of this annual event is to involve as many churches as possible in local missions and ministry efforts in their own communities. Each church identified specific needs and then strategically planned projects to meet those needs while also providing opportunities to share the Gospel.
Jerusalem Day is modeled after One Day, the state-wide missions event hosted by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC). He says that in 2009 GCBA participated in a block party as part of One Day in Pine Bluff. Dave White, associational missionary for GCBA, asked why they couldn’t do something like that in their association. From there plans were made, and Jerusalem Day was launched in the spring of 2010.
This year, 278 people volunteered as missionaries, serving their communities through block parties, medical/dental clinics, yard work, home repair, no-sale yard sales, and car washes. Others spent the day prayer walking, sharing the Gospel, and distributing flyers for an upcoming Vacation Bible School. In all, more than 2,300 people were served through the various ministries during the day with 42 making professions of faith.
New Haven Baptist Church of Paragould, led by pastor Howard Huddle, held a food distribution event at the church. Volunteers helped direct people through registration lines.
Another group of volunteers immediately took the registration cards and wrote a card to each person who had come through the line thanking them for coming, offering to assist with any other needs, and inviting them to become a part of the church. The cards were mailed that same day.
After registering, each person would visit one of six evangelism tables, where they had a chance to hear and respond to the Gospel before they received their food and headed for the exit. Several members from the community participated and at the end of the day, 10 people had made professions of faith.
Tracy Archibald, pastor of Cross Points Church in Paragould, serves as community missions consultant for the GCBA. He previously served with the Missions Team of the ABSC as the block party coordinator. Since joining the GCBA, Archibald has made it a priority to pitch missions to the churches and to help them develop a strategy to reach their Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth He says the experience he gained from his time with the convention has really helped as he has visited the 37 churches of the association to talk about missions and encourage involvement in Jerusalem Day.
Archibald said it’s important to involve as many of the association churches as possible. Although Jerusalem Day was scheduled for May 20, he said that churches were given the option of planning their projects on a day that worked best for them. “This is key to getting churches involved,” Archibald said. “Many churches can’t serve on one particular day, so we encourage them to plan their projects at their convenience.”
In all, a total of 13 churches will have participated in Jerusalem Day this year. One group planned their event on May 8, while others are planning to serve over the next couple of weekends.
Archibald would like to see all associations and churches join together for a community missions experience like Jerusalem Day. His advice to anyone wanting to start something like this in their association is to not be overwhelmed, and to find others who are passionate about local missions. Archibald says this may or may not be the associational missionary. “It’s worked well with our associational missionary and myself working together, because I just had the passion when I came back from convention to do it,” he said. “So, if you could get someone who is mission minded and let them take the lead, that’s really your key to making it happen.”
For information on community missions, contact Clint Ritchie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ritchie is the Community Missions Strategist for the ABSC. Tracy Archibald is also available to visit with anyone who would like to know more about Jerusalem Day and developing a community mission strategy. You can contact him at email@example.com