The arrival of fall brings with it a drop in temperatures, falling leaves, high school football, festivals, and homecoming. For several Arkansas Baptist churches, the arrival of fall also means the opportunity to come together for one weekend to share the Gospel and serve others in Jesus’ name through the CONNECT student missions weekend.
This year, CONNECT took place during the weekend of October 14-16. Mount Carmel Baptist Church of Cabot, led by Pastor David Mitchell, Doug Fulton, Mark Parsley, John Vaughn and Chris McCarty, served as the host for over 120 students and adult leaders from 13 different churches across the state.
Friday night of CONNECT was dedicated to preparation for the weekend as participants were given their ministry assignments and met together with their teams to plan and to pray. They were led in worship by Elliot Andrews, worship pastor at First Baptist Church in Batesville and Chris “Taco” Franco, student pastor at Friendship Baptist Church in Vilonia.
Saturday morning, participants were trained in sharing the Gospel using witness bracelets. They were challenged to share the Gospel with one person and to give their bracelets away. Students took the challenge to heart as they shared the Gospel over 100 times during the day. One group of four students from Sugarloaf Baptist Church in Heber Springs, went shopping for supplies for their project and shared the Gospel with 35 different people inside the stores.
The groups went out in their ministry teams that morning to serve in various projects in Carlisle, Lonoke, and Cabot. In Carlisle, students worked with Immanuel Baptist Church and Pastor Bill Ricks. They helped at the church’s ministry center to move food and stock shelves in the food pantry and to sort and hang clothes. Others helped clean up debris on a lot belonging to Revelation Church. Another group helped paint a new crosswalk at the school in Carlisle.
In Lonoke, students provided several ministry projects for The Call and worked with Lonoke Baptist Church to provide booths at a local arts and music festival. Students used music and crafts to create opportunities for Gospel conversations.
In Cabot, participants helped with a block party, served widows and others by doing yard work, prayer walked and hung door hangers at over 700 homes and worked alongside volunteers at the church to complete several projects around the church.
That night participants met together to debrief and for a time of worship as they celebrated all that God had done. In all, CONNECT participants completed over 20 different projects with over 100 Gospel presentations and three salvation decisions. Seven students indicated a call to full-time missions and/or ministry.
You are invited to bring your group and join us in April and October of 2023 for our next CONNECT student missions events. Details will be available soon for next year’s locations. Check back often at absc.org/connect. Cost is provided as a ministry through the Missions Team of the Arkansas State Baptist Convention and is made possible through your gifts to the Dixie Jackson Arkansas Missions offering and your continued giving through the Cooperative Program.