Experience 1:8 teams challenges to ‘leverage lives for the gospel’

Originally published at Western Recorder – www.westernrecorder.org

Columbus, Ohio—As part of Experience 1:8, a summer missions program for the Kentucky BCM, Kentucky students spent 10 days “immersed in an experience of life and ministry” in Columbus, Ohio, according to the ForColumbus website. The students were challenged to “leverage their lives for the gospel.”

Coinciding with the 2015 Southern Baptist Convention in Columbus, Experience 1:8 teams partnered with the North American Mission Board’s Crossover Columbus to do ministry with churches, church plants and community outreach centers across the city.

“I definitely think a really great thing about ForColumbus was just this opening of our eyes, that we need to be aware that NAMB has a host of ‘Send Cities’ that they want people to go to and build their lives in, because our world’s just becoming a global place,” Jessie Nickell, Western Kentucky University campus missionary associate and Experience 1:8 team coordinator, said.

“Not only are you investing your life in these cities, but you should be leveraging your life for the gospel—leveraging everything from your home to where you live to what you spend your money on, using your whole life to count for something, because our life is but a vapor,” she said.

The students helped with various projects throughout the week, being the “hands and feet” of churches helping within their own communities. This included doing a neighborhood kids’ club, reconstructing a community garden, helping with campus ministries at Ohio State University, among other projects.

“We just really wanted to serve the community while also sharing the gospel with people,” Lucas Taylor, senior at Morehead State University and member of Oneida Baptist Church in Pikeville, said.

“ForColumbus, in my experience, was great at getting us involved in the community, but also equipping us with the tools necessary to share the gospel with the people of Columbus,” he said.

Taylor was part of a team that worked with Veritas Community Church and one of their church plants to hold the neighborhood kids’ club. “That was a great experience getting to teach the kids, teach them stories on their level and getting to know the community that way,” he commented.

He also helped build the community garden.

“A lot of the students had never been exposed to outdoor hard labor. It was really good for our students to sort of get back to the basics of helping people take care of the world around them,” Nickell said.

“They got to take a pretty much broken lot that was in the middle of this rundown neighborhood, and in a day’s work, they took that nasty lot and they turned it into a garden that had 12 different garden beds that the community could use to get vegetables,” she added.

“Columbus was a nice transition. I served for 10 day in New York City after I was in Columbus, and it helped me get used to a bigger city,” Taylor said.

“For the rest of my life it just showed me that it’s okay to get out of my Kentucky comfort bubble and go to other places and get involved,” he said. (WR)