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FBC Oneonta takes gift of Christ to community ‘with love’comment (0)

December 3, 2009

When First Baptist Church, Oneonta, decided to reach out to its community this fall, it wanted to make sure no one was left out.

“We felt that the very best way would be to knock on every door in our city,” said Doug Williams, Sunday School co-
director at the Friendship Baptist Association church.

Since the 2000 census numbers are outdated, Williams, along with fellow church members, began trying to figure out the number of homes in Oneonta. Beginning in August, groups from the church began driving around and counting homes and apartment buildings.

“We drove by each street and prayed for the homes on each street as we counted homes,” said Larry Gipson, pastor of First, Oneonta. “We had never done something this large-scale.”

The final tally was about 2,300 homes, with an estimated population of 7,000.

Once the numbers were in, church members began filling gift bags with Bibles, brochures, a letter from Gipson, a pen and a jar opener that read “To Oneonta With Love.”

After the worship service ended Oct. 11, more than 200 members of First, Oneonta, set out in teams of two or three to visit their neighbors.

They took time to speak with each person who came to the door and left bags on doorknobs if no one was home.

By 5 p.m., members began arriving back at the church, and they spent the evening sharing experiences they’d had that day.

Before they could even return to the church, people were calling to thank the members for their visits, and more than a month later, the church was still getting feedback from Oneonta residents.

“I think more so than anything, we were being obedient to Scripture, and secondly we were unified as a church,” Gipson said. “Our people thoroughly enjoyed it, and we felt led to do this.”

And First, Oneonta, doesn’t plan to stop making sure every single member of its community feels loved, as the outreach will continue into 2010.   (TAB)

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