First Shelbyville building bridges with BBQ

Originally published in Western Recorder –

Shelbyville—Continuing its efforts to build relational bridges with the first responder community in Shelbyville, First Baptist Church hosted a community fair on Sept. 10-11.

The objective was so county residents could meet first responders, see their equipment, and get to know some of them personally. In addition, the congregation roasted a 255 lb. hog and 300 lbs. of pork butts for 14 hours. First responders and their families were invited to be guests of honor at a banquet at the church on Sunday, when the church would host first responders for a special service.

“In an era when relationships with first responders and the community at large are sometimes strained, these tireless community servants sometimes feel disenfranchised and under-appreciated,” Maurice Hollingsworth, pastor of Shelbyville First, said.

Through the outreach, partnership was built—just in time for a tragedy. On Sept. 16, Hollingsworth received a call from Paul Whitman, director of Emergency Management Services. There had been a traffic accident.While a father/son team was trying to repair their car, another car rear ended them. The son jumped out of the way, but the father was hit and killed.

Whitman asked Hollingsworth if he could come and minister to the family while EMS took care of other needs. The family has eight children, one of whom was turning four years old the following day.

“When I walked into the EMS office, every single person there knew who I was from the pig roast the previous weekend,” Hollingsworth said. “All those hours taking care of a hog the previous week led to the potential for ministry in partnership.”

Quoting 1 Corinthians 9:22, Hollingsworth expressed his thanks that his congregation had “used BBQ to build bridges into their community for the sake of the Kingdom.” (WR)