Indian Grave’s vision expands from $1.80 offering to large-scale construction tripscomment (0)
October 23, 2008
By Sondra Washington
It’s been said that the first missions offering at Indian Grave Baptist Church, Billingsley, was a mere $1.80. But the Autauga Baptist Association congregation has come a long way in missions support since it was founded in 1913.
Over the past 30 years, members of the small central Alabama church — which averages about 75 in attendance “on a good Sunday” — have taken weeklong missions trips far and wide to help build churches for struggling congregations.
This summer, about 15 Indian Grave Baptist members traveled to Montrose, Ill., to help frame a sanctuary and several Sunday School rooms.
“It was the largest building we’ve ever done as far as framing,” said George Cook, who has gone on all 30 missions trips since traveling to Colombia in 1978. “It pushed us to the limit, but we got it all situated.”
Cook said his passion for missions was sparked when Mike Johnson, former brotherhood director, visited Indian Grave attempting to recruit a carpenter for the South American missions trip.
“I thought, ‘I can’t preach or teach but I can do that,’” Cook said. “I’ve always kept our church up — all the carpenter work and repairs. So when this came up, I thought, ‘This is something even I can do.’”
Over the years, the number of participants taking the trips increased now including members from all age groups. And people helped by Indian Grave commonly meet the team at work sites in other states.
“We just meet up at the same place, work hard and have a good time,” Cook said. “I try to keep in touch with most all our people that we meet through the years. They get to be just like family.”
Traveling to help needy churches, Cook said they have run into some unique situations.
“All the members of one church in Illinois maxed out their credit cards to build their church,” he said. “One church had no men in the church. Some of the women had small businesses and they mortgaged their business to get the money to build their church.”
“Once we went to St. Louis’ inner city. It was an old, run-down church. They had 10 days before they were going to condemn it, and we got there just in the nick of time.”
Pastor Joshua Posey believes missions work is something churches of any size can do.
“We want to express our thanks to our team for their ministry,” he said. “We want to let this be an encouragement to other churches that they can be actively involved in missions and in helping building other churches in other parts of the country regardless of their size.”
Indian Grave members have no plans to slow their pace anytime soon.
“I’m not getting any younger, but I’m still able to work,” Cook said. “As long as I can continue to go, I’m going. But, it’s not about me. … It’s about what small churches can do if they want to do something.”
The annual construction trips have sparked some members interest in international missions work. In February, two members will travel to Haiti to re-roof school buildings.
“It’s like throwing a rock in the water,” Cook said. “As soon as it hits, the ripples keep going out.”
For more information on Indian Grave’s missions efforts or to learn how to organize similar trips, call Cook at 205-755-3325 or Jan Jones at 205-755-6769.