One Day event turns to localized ministry for Arkansas Baptists

The Acts 1:8 One Day mission trip is an annual event every October that brings Arkansas Baptists together to serve and minister to a city in Arkansas. It’s a time to fellowship with fellow believers and to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a community. However, due to the ongoing pandemic, the original plan to serve the River Valley Association in Russellville had to be rescheduled for next year.

Pre-COVID, the team was already looking at other ways to expand One Day and make another, more localized event out of it for the spring. When the time came to cancel the fall event, One Day: Serve Local was born. The idea is that churches will stay in their local area to serve their communities instead of traveling to a centralized location. This protects the health and safety of Arkansas Baptists and the community they would’ve been in as well as presenting an opportunity to minister in one’s own backyard.

Sam Roberts, Assistant Missions Team Leader and Community Missional Strategist at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, and his team knew that canceling the event without having a back-up wasn’t an option. You don’t cancel the opportunity to present the Gospel to those who are lost.

“It was disappointing,” Roberts said. “You look at what’s at stake and you’ve got the health and safety of Arkansas Baptists who gather, you’ve got the health and safety of the local community. You’ve really got the witness of those local churches…if you have an outbreak, after the event, that could really damage the witness of those local churches…and the whole integrity of the Gospel.”

While the Russellville event has been postponed until 2021, One Day: Serve Local will allow churches to participate in the annual One Day event while following COVID-19 safety guidelines.

On September 1, One Day’s website will launch offering an array of resources to help those who participate prepare to serve their community. There will be videos and articles available on everything churches will need on topics such as assembling your team, identifying the needs of your community, planning and preparing to serve, and how to serve safely and effectively. Templates for registration forms and other forms will also be available for those who will need them for their outreach event.

Registration for One Day: Serve Local will launch the same day as the website, and there is no fee to register this year. It’s a simple way for them to find out who’s participating. The first 150 churches to register will be sent Evangecubes™, a tool that presents the Gospel through pictures. All churches that register will receive paper Gospel bracelets to use and distribute while serving. They will also make silicone Gospel bracelets available for churches and their team members to use and keep using well after One Day has finished. A link to all resources will be sent out once registration has been completed.

Since gathering all together is impossible this year, a kick-off video will be sent out for churches and their teams to view. Throughout the day on October 3 participants will be encouraged to share pictures and videos and send praise and prayer reports through social media using the hashtag #OneDayARK. At the end of the day, a close-out prayer video will be sent as well as a montage of photos and videos collected throughout the day and compiled into a shareable video.

“What we really want people to do is serve needs and share Jesus in their local community in a safe and effective way,” Roberts said.

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