Hines Memorial ministers to community through archerycomment (0)
July 18, 2013
By Anna Keller
Twenty-eight-year-old Eric West grew up participating in archery with his father, and he’s also been attending Hines Memorial Baptist Church, Bear Creek — a missions-focused church — since he was 3. Perhaps it’s no surprise then that West merged these two interests to create a new missions outreach.
“Two years ago, we were having a workday at church and got to talking and realized we have 14 acres of wooded area around the church,” he said. “That got the wheels spinning, and we thought, ‘We can set up an archery course, host a tournament and give the proceeds to missions.’”
And West and others at the church did just that.
Now tournaments kick off each year in March and consist of one shoot a month through August — six tournaments total each year. As the tournament’s Facebook page states, “We hope to use this as a tool of fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ and to reach out to the lost with a new and unique ministry.”
Pastor Ricky Mann said he’s not a bit surprised by the amount of support the archery endeavor has received from fellow church members. A bivocational pastor in his 29th year at Hines (this time around — he was there four years previously), Mann said he’s always been struck by the church’s commitment to missions.
“We’ve been doing different missions-related things for years,” Mann said. “We’re geared to missions, and when the archery idea began I watched Eric talk to several members who were behind it and immediately wrote checks to pay for the course. I’m sitting there thinking, ‘Well, that’s Hines.’”
According to West’s father, Kenny, the community has responded quite well to the archery tournament. There are only a handful of archery clubs in North Alabama, so people appreciate the opportunity to participate in the sport.
“It’s been growing, and we’ve been getting advertisements out,” Kenny West said. “We’ve had new people at every event so far, and word of mouth is getting out.”
As the ministry grows, Eric West said he hopes area churches that also have land will set up courses on their property as well, helping the tournament and ministry expand.
The tournament’s first donation went to support a Baptist church plant in Kentucky after he met members of the church as they traveled through Alabama.
Mann said he is touched by Eric West’s devotion to outreach and ministry.
“Here’s a 28-year-old boy who’s concerned enough to give money to missions. That says a lot,” he said.