One Day. One mission. One hope.
We live in a broken world. Oftentimes, we can get in the pattern of just seeing our families, our co-workers, our peers, our church community, and we miss the opportunity to see lost people. Yet as believers, we are called to reach the lost for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our hearts should break for those who do not know Jesus personally.
Acts 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (English Standard Version). Many people teach that part of this verse’s application is to reach people in our city, our state, our country and our entire world. On Saturday, October 3, 2020, many Arkansans served across their cities for the sake of their community knowing Christ.
Each year, the Arkansas Baptist State Convention’s Missions Team plans an event called “One Day,” which equips people for a “one day” mission trip in Arkansas. One Day is a wonderful opportunity for people to get out of their usual routine to see and serve people they do not usually encounter on a day-to-day basis. Traditionally One Day has taken place in only one location each year. But this year, Arkansas Baptists were able to serve in multiple locations across the state.
In the Arkansas River Valley region, the Arkansas River Valley Baptist Association connected with multiple Southern Baptist churches across the area to make plans and equip their people to serve their region. Church members served by handing out coins at laundromats, fixing up homes, buildings and yards, and providing items for a free yard sale. There were also car washes, roping lessons and many moments of laughter and service.
In Clarksville, First Baptist Church of Clarksville sent church members to serve at their local laundromat and at the Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) on a local college campus. Volunteers showed love to people in a practical way at the laundromat by paying for their laundry. They took advantage of these moments to not only provide clean laundry, but to share the Gospel and minister to the people they encountered. Other church members repainted the BCM building. This repainting job helps maintain the place where college students gather to worship, grow and reach other lost young adults.
First Baptist Church of London sponsored a “no sale yard sale” where people donated items to give away. This enabled anyone to come to a yard sale in the church parking lot to get any of the items for free. There were clothing items, home goods, and many miscellaneous items. As people from the community approached the yard sale, they were welcomed at a sign-in table where volunteers were able to collect information from the shoppers. Having this information enables their church to follow-up after the event. FBC also provided the bracelets that were created by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention Missions Team, which were used to share the Gospel.
In Russellville – which was selected as the original location for thousands of Arkansas Baptists to serve this year for One Day, prior to COVID-19 – multiple local churches creatively served and reached their communities. Second Baptist Church of Russellville provided multiple outlets for serving, such as free car washes, free yard work services, free family portraits by a photographer and even a free movie on Arkansas Tech’s campus. Church in the Dirt – a local church plant of First Baptist Church of Russellville – held a free roping clinic at the ranch where they meet.
Above all of this, there were moments where the Gospel was shared. There were moments where prayer took place. There were moments where lost people physically watched God’s people serve and love their communities.
Overall, One Day:Serve Local was influential to the people of the River Valley area. Many churches and Christians came together to serve, love and minister to their community. Through multiple free services, multiple Gospel-centered conversations and multiple moments of intentional hospitality, Arkansas Baptists were able to truly serve their communities as witnesses of the Gospel.