Originally published in Western Recorder – www.westernrecorder.org
PADUCAH—Around 230 students and their leaders from six West Union Baptist Association churches spent the week of June 26, assisting North American Mission Board church plants and doing ministry in Chicago.
The group consisted of students and leaders from Lone Oak First, Paducah First, Twelve Oaks, Olivet, Rosebower, and Temple, all churches in the Paducah area. It was organized and led by Patrick Greer, senior high pastor at Lone Oak First.
A commissioning service was held at Lone Oak First, where NAMB videos were shown detailing the spiritual need in Chicago, the teams worshipped together, and prayed for the church planters and students alike.
Many adults who had fears about sending the students to Chicago “got really excited about what the Lord was going to do not only in Chicago, but also about what He was going to do when 230 students and adults came home excited about sharing the gospel and equipped to do that,” Greer said.
The group split up into six teams, designated by church, to aid six Chicago church planters. Activities for the week ranged from painting church buildings to helping a ministry for fatherless children to a “beach reach” type event on the shores of Lake Michigan.
The week saw six or seven professions of faith from students within the group as well as those they encountered, and a love offering of $1,933 collected by the students for the church plants they aided.
However, “We planted lots of seeds of the gospel in the city. There are a lot of results that aren’t quantifiable in terms of numbers,” Greer added.
Haley Scruggs, a 17-year-old senior from Lone Oak First Baptist, was inspired by the trip to “build intentional relationships” at home. “I want to use the trip to help me be like that to people in Paducah, where we live,” Scruggs said.
She continued, “You don’t have to go to Chicago to help out. There’s so many different things to do here in our own city. Just going to the basketball court, talking to people, building intentional relationships with them and getting to know them.”
Scruggs shared that she wants to be intentional about “getting to know people then sharing your faith and asking about theirs. That was the main focus there, building intentional relationships with people around the community.
“That’s definitely something I could do at home,” she said.
Greer shared that Chicago was the Send City chosen for the mission trip because, “a desire to see our students exposed to a bigger picture of the world, a bigger picture of how God is working, how the church is expanding and the need for the gospel to reach our urban environments.”
He continued, “A large percentage of the world is moving to our cities and our culture is really dictated by our cities and flowing out of our cities. So, if we want to change the culture then we can start by seeing the gospel penetrate our cities.”
Since Chicago is in “West Kentucky’s backyard,” it was the natural choice for the trip, he added.
The ultimate goal of the trip is to see partnerships formed between the churches and church plants, partnerships that result in more mission trips, giving, and prayer.
Greear said he hopes that from this trip, more churches will collaborate with the group and go next year. Any church interested in joining the team is encouraged to contact Greear at firstname.lastname@example.org. (WR)