Hillcrest Baptist reaches community through weeklong missions outreachcomment (0)
September 5, 2013
By Anna Keller
Hillcrest Baptist Church, Enterprise, has always been missions oriented, but when it came time to decide what missions outreach to invest in this past summer, they opted to keep things close to home.
“The intent behind this was to bring a missions trip to our city,” said Travis Dunham, the church’s missions pastor. “We wanted people here in our hometown to be able to experience the things we do on international missions trips.”
For Pastor Michael Mynatt, the idea for a hometown missions week was more than a decade in the making. He was living in a different city at the time but recalls a time about 12 years ago when a church group came to his city for a missions trip. And, Mynatt said, it hit him that “maybe that’s how it feels” to be on the receiving end of missions work.
Hillcrest already supports several local organizations on an ongoing basis, so for this weeklong “Love Enterprise” event, they started by amplifying those partnerships. For example, the church is right across the street from Hillcrest Elementary School, so they collected school supplies for each of the school’s teachers and aides, knowing that many supplies are funded out of pocket for those folks. They created packets for other school employees as well, so every staff member — from janitorial to administrative — was given a gift.
But that was just scratching the surface.
The church also distributed 200 backpacks to area schools. They hosted a clothes closet in their fellowship hall. They offered free health screenings for things like blood pressure and obesity. They had local stylists cut hair for those in need for six hours one day. They coordinated an effort to feed every active firefighter in the area over a three-day period.
“What it’s done is raised awareness of the needs around us more than anything else,” Dunham said. “It’s also opened up people’s minds to just how easy it is to do things right where we are.”
“Love Enterprise” was a rousing success among church and community members alike, and now Dunham and others are looking for ways to make it more of an ongoing outreach for the church.
“The stories are still coming in, the gratitude and appreciation,” Dunham said. “We got to help some people who aren’t part of our church, and we’re getting phone calls and letters sharing their appreciation. So many people stepped up to help with this.”
According to Hillcrest member Ross Williams, who was behind much of the coordination of “Love Enterprise,” the church staff’s true devotion to helping others was a critical factor in this project’s success.
“They (the church staff) don’t just love the idea of people — they actually love people,” Williams said.
“Hopefully that’s what we can be known for — ministering to the people. We’re going to wait to see what opportunities arise next.”
Mynatt is excited to see where this will lead for his Hillcrest family. He believes it’s a turning point in their collective awareness of needs within their community.
“We hope other churches will get excited about this, too, and make it a countywide thing,” he said. “It’s a big goal, and I think we can, but only through the unity of Christ.”